Last year, as I was on my way to Michigan for the Great Lakes Floral & Event Expo with two of my coworkers, our flight got delayed. A quick look at the weather and we realized that our connecting flight might not even be able to make it due to snow. So, what did we do? We decided to reroute through the south and then go up north. However, that plan didn't work out either. Our Minnesota flight made it okay, but our Alabama flight was experiencing many delays, and we ended up getting separated on our ticket reservation. You could say we were a bit annoyed. So, what does any annoyed customer do during this time? Yup, I went to Twitter about it in Alabama.
Promptly, the airline replied through direct message. By giving them a bit of information, they were able to book me a ticket for the next morning. Not ideal, but at least I was going to reach my destination. But what about my coworkers? It wasn't until we got to the customer service station in Atlanta that my ticket was confirmed and that they were able to solve my coworkers' ticket problems. The customer service desk was surprised that I already had a ticket, and asked, "How did you get your ticket?" That's when I told them that the airline had helped me via Twitter.
Ever since that experience, I've learned the value in training social media managers on customer service. There will be many times where you face a customer that is upset with either a product or service you have provided them or how a situation got handled. Customers aren't going to call you, anymore, to let you know that they are upset. Instead, they will tweet, write a Google review, let their friends know on Facebook or Instagram, and so many other ways.
It's vital that your social media managers have the skills to handle these situations. So what are some of these skills?
I've always believed that reading something via text is so much harder than when you are sitting face-to-face or one the phone. That is why it is vital that social media managers possess the skills to write in a conversational tone, one that is reassuring and helpful to the customer.
Some days are going to be extremely busy and dealing with a disgruntled customer online seems like the last thing on your to-do list. Plus, the customer may not be cooperating in a helpful manner, making it even more difficult for you to help them. This is where patience comes in handy. This skill will allow the social media manager the ability to stay calm and diffuse the situation while working through the problem and finding a solution as quickly as possible.
This goes without being said, but it is essential. It can be easy to write a very snarky response to an upset customer; however, that is not going to help you or your business. In this world of screenshots and receipts, it's important to show that your business is understanding and willing to work to solve the customers' problems.
This leads us into being understanding. There are many times the customer isn't even upset at you, specifically. They have had a bad day and need someone to hear them. This is where your customer service trained social media manager can help them. When they use an understanding tone, it can help diffuse the matter. People sometimes forget that there is another person on the other side of the computer or mobile screen.
It is crucial that your social media manager is a problem solver. They need to be able to find different solutions for each task they get approached with. Customers are going to come to social media with all kinds of complaints, even far fetched ones, so make sure your social media manager is trained with the skill to de-escalate any situations, big or small.
You may be thinking to yourself, "Why is this important?" It's important because sometimes you reach a point where you no longer want to be positive, cheerful, and nice. So, it's essential for your social media manager to be able to separate themselves from what they are feeling and keep acting positively.
This is a new age where one bad review online can change customers' perspectives of you and your business exponentially, but if you have the right people on your team, you don't have to worry about it! A disgruntled customer may become one of your best customers and leave you with rad reviews!