More specifically, according to a new report from the CMO Council (PDF) when respondents were asked about customer service online. One-third of respondents (33%) said they will post on a brand’s Facebook page when they need to communicate with the brand (while only 12% will tweet). When connecting with a brand online for customer service issues, 47% (nearly half) of respondents expect a response within 24 hours; 22% expect a response immediately, and 19% expect a response within an hour.
So what do you do when you have a customer service question on Facebook that you can’t answer?
Follow the 3Ts of online customer service:
1. Provide a timely response
2. Tell the truth
3. State a turnaround time
It’s ok to say “I don’t know but let me investigate and respond by the end of the day.” If you are diligent and still don’t have an answer then post again about your progress and ask to take it offline. Provide an email address and ask the customer to contact you there so you can more easily stay in touch.
Any response to a customer service question is better than no response.
The CMO Council study found that when asked what customers think it means to “like” a brand on Facebook 49% said they “like” a brand because they are already loyal customers.
Loyal customers expect brands to be listening. I believe that most people don’t expect brands to be listening 24/7 but that they do, as the study suggests, expect a timely response. A Facebook response time of 24 hours is good but ideally you’d provide a response within an hour, especially if it’s during business hours.
A timely, truthful response is better than a fake response.
Don’t say you’re going to investigate and then never report back. Don’t make up an answer when you really don’t know the answer. And certainly don’t tell a lie. Getting caught out in a lie or half truth is worse for brand management than offering a brief, true statement.
A timely, truthful response that offers a turnaround time is the best customer service response.
When you need to take your time to provide a quality response, buy some time by providing a brief initial response with a turnaround time for a full reply. Then stick to your turnaround time.
Speed of response should not be confused with quality or depth. Customer expectations are high when engaging with brands online so manage expectations by providing an initial response that is timely, truthful and offers a turnaround time for a response. Then do what you say you’re going to do, and follow up within that timeframe.
Being responsive to online customer service questions, complaints and feedback is essential to good social media marketing and keeping customers engaged with your brand. Do you have any stories or examples to share?