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The rise of social media has given way to some unlikely uses for businesses: attracting new customers, posting the latest and greatest from your company, and…interacting and building relationships with current consumers?

Yes, that is true – more and more businesses are seeing social media as a way to strengthen and deepen bonds with customers. They use social media to publicly help and solve any problems users encounter, leading to increases in customer trust. Customer service is constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing scope of communication, and using social media for instant customer access is the latest chapter in this ongoing struggle.

Customers prefer this method as well, saving them from dealing with the traditional challenges of getting in touch with a representative, such as:

  • Finding the number for customer service, and dealing with automated messages, a long wait time.
  • Submitting a contact form without knowing when anyone will be in touch, if the message went through, or to whom it is sent.
  • Sending an email with the same impersonal experience.

In comparison, some advantages of using social media for customer service:

1. Immediate communication

The internet age has given rise to a sense of immediacy as a right, not a privilege. This means when someone has a problem, they expect to talk to someone right now, not a response tomorrow or waiting on hold for 30 minutes.

Using social media means you can communicate with your customers the minute they have an issue. As soon as someone mentions your brand, or makes a post on your Facebook, the admin will receive a notice. The team/member should be ready with responses as quickly as possible, as lagging behind could produce additional issues – but if they can get back to the customer within a few minutes, the immediacy goes a long way in creating brand loyalty and lasting customer relations.

2. Transparency

This goes two ways. A customer that is upset wants vindication, and allowing their complaints to be posted and seen over social media lets them feel they are being heard. This public airing of grievances gives them the feeling of control.

For your company, this transparency applies to how you handle the problem, and how quickly. You are able to actively demonstrate your customer service abilities and loyalty to customers – leading other followers to feel more at ease with your company.

3. A branded experience

In general, people prefer dealing with other people, not corporations or chatbots. With a live human at your social media helm, this gives customers a chance to get responses from an individual, while actively interacting with your brand. It is the best of both worlds!

Additionally, social media lets you present your responses after consideration, and in a conversational tone. It humanizes your brand, making you more appealing and relatable to customers.

4. Up your mentions

Increased interactions with customers leads to increased amounts of communication pointing back to your brand. The extra attention online means more potential customers will see your brand mentioned on social media. The visibility from solving problems on social media will highlight your accessibility and effective problem-solving methods. When in doubt, post links back to your page for more information.

No matter how you handle questions and issues, the increased brand mentions will help garner more activity, brand visibility, and help your SEO rankings.

5. Simpler follow-up

This depends slightly on how long the problem takes to fix, but generally you will be able to check in with the customer afterwards for a quick follow-up. You should ask whether your previous interaction was helpful or not, and if not, you have an opportunity to take further action. If this was a helpful interaction, you will then have a visible positive from the customer on social media. If necessary, you can send a private message later to make sure they are satisfied.

6. Social users talk

People who are active on social media, and who would use it for customer service issues, are more likely to socialize. This means more frequent posts and more friends to see them – including posts and interactions with your company. If you respond to these people in a timely and helpful manner, you spread a positive view of your company with their entire network of potential customers.