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By: Fiona King

Keeping your customers happy should be your top priority as a business, and customer service is the one process that you have to excel at to achieve customer satisfaction. The difference between mediocre customer service and excellent customer service is in having a proactive mindset instead of merely being reactive.

Customer service isn’t just tackling complaints when they arrive (although that is a necessity). It’s providing a great experience to your customers to avoid such problems, and communicating the solutions through the right channels in a clear and positive manner.

The Internet has made it easier for business owners to accomplish both goals through content marketing and social media. 

The Power of Content Marketing

The reason the saying “content is king” still resonates in the online world is because of the truth its words hold. People are constantly searching the Internet for quality content, and it’s the same for when they’re looking for products to buy.

Content marketing focuses on fulfilling that need by providing valuable information; whether it’s giving objective reviews of similar products, explaining how they are used in a concise manner, or presenting them in an entertaining way that moves people emotionally.

How does this contribute to customer service?

Education.

By giving your customers access to a wealth of useful and engaging information regarding your business and the industry you’re in, you empower them with knowledge. They are able to solve most of the simple problems they might encounter using your products, leading to an overall happier experience.

Educating your customers also serves to lessen the load of your customer service department. Time and resources used answering the simplest of inquiries can be diverted to handling more complex consumer issues.

By continuing to supply them with such content, they will also learn to trust your business as a credible source of quality content looking out for their satisfaction above all else.

Content Ideas

  • FAQ—Arguably the most important piece of content you can make for customer service is an FAQ page. You have to be able to anticipate the common questions your customers will be looking to ask you if you’re just starting your business. You should also remember to update this page to take into account changes in your business such as introducing new products or systems, as well as when you receive new frequent inquiries.
  • How-to Videos—Rich visual media makes for great explanatory content because of how we humans process information more easily through our eyes. Videos complete with audio showing how your products should be used is one way of providing content that is highly useful to your customers.

The Power of Social Media

With content marketing fulfilling the role of provider, social media takes on the just as important role of facilitating the communication aspect of your overall customer service strategy.

The use of such popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter to handle customer concerns isn’t anything new, as consumers have been voicing their opinions to social media accounts of big businesses for the past couple of years. However, the practice is still in its growing stages with many businesses both big and small failing to capitalize on the customer connections they can make through social media.

Facebook alone has over a billion users, and other popular platforms are steadily growing as well. With that large base that’s already willing to engage through social shares, comments, and other positive actions, it’s easier than ever to identify problems and receive feedback regarding issues your customers might have with your products.

Such convenience also works on the opposite end, as you can immediately acknowledge and act upon the complaints brought up by your customers. All it takes is a short reply (in the case of Twitter, 140 characters or less), and you can relieve the stress of a frustrated customer and start working on a solution.

The virtual space social media inhabits also acts as a stage where the whole world can see how you treat your customers. One conversation that shows you placating an irate customer eases the minds of other customers checking your social media accounts, and possibly gives them an answer to their problems too.

Social Care Tips

  • Assign a Dedicated Social Media Manager—Because of how fast everything transpires online, consumers expect quick responses to their complaints on social media. There also won’t be any set hours or days for people to ask questions. Identifying and addressing these issues within a reasonable response time is a 24/7 job. Your SMM will have to know how to engage with customers in a friendly and more casual manner while still maintaining a professional attitude. He/she needs the composure to deal with angry customers and the critical thinking to ask the right questions so that the problems are solved ASAP.
  • Respond With Care—Social media is a much more relaxed space where conversations take on a much more casual tone. Don’t give canned responses to your customers. Show them your business’ human side, and address them by name and point out their problems so they know you’re listening. However, you must remember to still keep things professional as your brand’s reputation is in full view. Avoid arguments, and direct customers who go over-the-line to a more direct customer service channel like email or through a dedicated hotline.

Providing excellent customer service requires taking the initiative. Give customers content that contributes positively to their lives, and meet them halfway through social media so that you can work together. They will have a better experience with your product, and you cultivate brand loyalty and enjoy increased sales over time.

Fiona King is a business blogger eager to share her experience and expertise in customer relations management.

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