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It’s Handled: How to “Olivia Pope” Your Customer Service Inquiries on Social Media

On Scandal, there isn’t a situation that fixer Olivia Pope can’t handle. From international relations crisis to handling her love life, she does it all with cool confidence. So when it came to trying to break down the nuances of handling customer service, she immediately came to mind.

Following her no-nonsense attitude and skill for execution working with a variety of stakeholders are all core competencies that can be employed with customer service inquiries on social media. It is often the quickest and most efficient route to a resolution while building long-term followers. Now more than ever it is imperative for brands to have an integrated strategy to manage customer service via their social media channels.

According to the Customers 2020 report, the customer experience will be more important than any other factor to consumers by the year 2020. Having a good customer experience is already critical to a company’s success, and will only become more so. To further that point, Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse Survey showed that 66% of consumers around the world stopped doing business with a company in 2013 due to poorly handled customer service. To succeed in managing your customer service inquiries on social, follow these simple tips:

Always Have a Plan:

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It is important to think of your social media platforms as an integrated extension of your customer support team, and always keep your social media team informed with a plan that aligns with your internal customer support team’s best practices. Both teams should have a set of FAQ’s and best practices in place to handle all incoming issues. Having these in place will streamline processes and keep key brand messaging congruent.

Take it Offline:

shut this down

Remember to always address all public questions, complaints, and concerns and then take them offline by directing a consumer to a private message or to the support team’s channels for further assistance.

Complaining vs. Trolling:

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Assessing the type of complaint is just as important as handling it. Researching where a complaint is coming from and evaluating its validity can save time and resources. If the complaint or inquiry is a legitimate concern from a consumer then answer their inquiry and continue to follow-up until the matter is resolved. Most fans who are legitimately complaining just want to feel heard. If you assess the complaint and find that it may be a person trolling your page, address the issue head-on. If they continue to spam your account you may have to take extreme measures such as blocking said user. It is important to provide a place for your fans to engage with your brand rather than a breeding ground for complaints.

The Customer is Always Right…Even When They Are Wrong:

We're in this together

The old adage of the “customer is always right” is still a good reference to stick to within limits. Many times, it’s not the actual problem, but how it’s handled that leaves a lasting impression and can convert an angry customer into a lifelong brand evangelist. When you make it clear to a concerned customer that you are doing everything in your power to assist them, you will find that they are more appreciative after their issue is solved. It can often lead to them taking their gratitude back on social media to sing your brand’s praises.

Earn Their Trust:

If you want me earn me

Being able to quickly turn around an issue is another reason why consumers are turning to social media rather than the traditional customer support channels. Allowing the consumer to feel heard and offering a quick solution has become commonplace on social media. An industry standard is acknowledging the issues within 24 hours, though many brands do so sooner. This does not mean that the problem will be solved in this time frame but they will at least know that a resolution is in the process.

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