connect chain

Social media has been so quickly integrated into our society, most of us cannot imagine a world without it – or knowing how to use it. For businesses, having instant contact with your customers makes a steep learning curve. Customer expectations mean you must be present on all platforms and available constantly, especially to deal with any customer service issues that arise. You should also be able to balance customer wants with business needs, creating good PR as you go.

So how do you make sure your presence online is an asset, and navigate webcare well? I have 6 ways to help keep your online presence helpful, and customer satisfaction high:

1. React promptly and appropriately

The most important step in all webcare is to respond as quickly as possible to all comments. Customers want to know you are there for them, and getting a response from your avatar days after they post is not optimal. Especially if their comment instigates a quick action – for example, notifying you of a spelling error in your blog – thank them with an immediate message after taking care of the issue.

Make sure your response is appropriate to the situation. Do not just answer negative reactions; take the time to acknowledge and thank positive messages about your brand, company, or products. This shows you truly care about your customers and not just your reputation.

2. Be helpful

This might seem like an obvious one, but it is important to remember the basis of webcare: helping your customers. This is easily forgotten in modern customer service, where metrics such as wait time and turnover time are most important. Remember that each interaction matters, in quality more than quantity. Customers have hundreds or thousands of other options available; use this interaction to remind them why they should stay with you.

Simply being available to chat or talk does not make you helpful!

3. Honesty and transparency!

The mark of a great webcare program is transparency. Every customer service representative should be honest and open with the customers. If a mistake was made, they should readily admit the error. If they are not sure what the answer is, it is okay to say “I do not know” as long as the representative clearly communicates their action plan to find the solution.

This does not mean enabling unrealistic customer expectations. Over-promising will result in frustration, disappointment, and anger down the road.

4. Over-deliver

Do everything you can to go that extra step for your customers, especially if you were in the wrong. This can include biting the cost of a rushed shipment, sending an extra gift, crediting their account, gifting a future discount, etc. This can go a long way in smoothing hurt feelings with a disgruntled customer. Make sure to check in with them after a solution is found, to emphasize your dedication to customers.

Remember that not just upset customers want perks – your fresh and loyal customers do, too! Surprise long-term or new customers with these treats and they will return the favor by spreading the news around their off- and online social circles.

5. Make it simple and easy

Websites are designed to be as simple as possible for the user, allowing intuitive shopping and an easy experience. Finding critical information, such as shipping, pricing, and return policies, should be just as simple. Make sure this information is displayed prominently and is easy to find for the customer. Above all, include ways to get a hold of a customer service representative, as well as all active company social media platforms.

In addition, make returns easy! Companies committed to easy returns saw reciprocal loyalty from customers. Customer-friendly return policies enhance brand image without necessarily leading to an increased number of returns. Combining this option with online pre-sales support, such as live chats and enhanced product pages, can be instrumental in reducing the need for returns overall.

6: Radio silence

Occasionally, it is best to not respond at all. For example, if someone makes a personal attack on you without any relevance, or gets upset over a new campaign, it is best to just let it lie. You cannot respond to everyone, so make sure to choose your battles carefully.

Webcare is the art of knowing how to respond and when to respond. If you make the right decisions, it can enhance your brand and customer loyalty; take a wrong step, and it could have the opposite consequences. While customer service is frequently viewed as a cost of doing business, try and see it as the secret weapon to strengthening customer appreciation and growing repeat sales. Every satisfied customer is another positive experience, radiating through the social web!