Monday, December 6, 2010

Social Media & Customer Service

By Courtney Carey

As the number of people using social media tools continues to grow every day, it is important to recognize all of the ways that social media sites can be utilized. In a recent article from the San Diego Union Tribune, Teresa Siles – Manager of Social Media for a San Diego Public Relations firm, discussed how social media can be a powerful aid to customer service.

Since so many companies and brands have a strong presence on social media sites, it is only natural that customers are beginning to take service-related issues to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media platforms. The article states that “consumers create 256 billion impressions on one another each year by talking about products and services within social networks.” With this number being so high, it would be a huge oversight for companies to ignore the need for customer-service issues to be handled online.

In this article, Siles provided tips to help companies effectively tackle this growing trend:
  • Train your staff on tools and philosophy - Showing someone how to send a tweet is easy, but making sure they understand the nature of social media and the customer-centric philosophy behind it is far more important.
  • Have a policy in place - Develop a social media policy that reflects your company’s code of ethics and brand promise and acts as a guide for employee engagement in social media, ensuring tools are used ethically and responsibly.
  • Toss out the scripts - Authenticity is key. While employees should have a guide of common questions and answers, the guide should be just that — a guide, not a document from which to cut and paste. Each interaction should be tailored and unique, and the conversation should be organic.
  • Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry - Being humble within social media and owning up to mistakes will go a long way toward earning consumer trust.
  • Thank your most loyal fans - While it can be easy to focus on the negative, don’t forget to thank your fans. A happy customer is your greatest endorsement.
  • Empower your reps to make a difference - Actions speak louder than words. It’s critical that your reps can provide real resolutions to customer issues.
Social media is all about building relationships on an intimate level. By following these few tips, companies can begin to build stronger relationships online while increasing their credibility and earning the trust of their followers.

Courtney Carey is Manager of Social Media at Maroon PR. Contact her at

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you there, "Social media is all about building relationships on an intimate level." while Customer service is vital to the success of any business. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing. I learn a lot.