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Social Media as a Customer Service Tool: Six Reasons You Should Provide Customer Service via Facebook.

Facebook was traditionally designed as a social networking site for friends and family to connect online.

While you could ‘become a fan’ of businesses and brands from 2009, business pages didn’t really take off until 2012 when the popular networking site moved to the ‘Timeline’ model and, almost overnight it felt like the world was instantly accessible at our fingertips.

While it was originally online businesses which were predominantly active on the social media platform, today, you’ll find most businesses have a Facebook page and encourage you to tag them in your posts, leave a review, or share their content.

But social networking differs from customer service and this is a significant element of the social media model that many businesses are missing.

If helping your customers via Facebook isn’t part of your service delivery, here are six reasons you should reconsider.

It Solves Problems Immediately

People are impatient. When they have an issue, they don’t want to wait on hold in a phone queue for 15 minutes. They don’t want to read your auto ‘we’ll respond within seven days’ email reply, and they don’t want to sit and wait for you to call them back. And nor should they have to.

Your customers want solutions now, and Facebook is just the place they can get them.

Thanks to recent developments in technology, Facebook’s chat function lets your customers know when you’ve received their message, what time it was read, and whether you’re online right now and choosing to ignore them.

There’s no getting away from the little green ‘active’ dot and the ‘read receipt’ functionality so it’s up to you which path you take.

You can ignore customer’s messages (which riles them even further) and add to a backlog of queries for your own team to have to wade through (which riles them too!), or you can embrace the developments in technology and offer a quick solution to provide a customer experience, which will keep them coming back for more.

I know which one I would (and do) choose!

Jumping on board with Facebook as a customer service tool means that you can (potentially) solve a customer’s problem instantly, or at least calm them down and let them know you’re available before they become further infuriated at having to wait for a response.

It’s Convenient

Everyone’s on Facebook and by everyone, I really mean everyone!

Most of your market will search Facebook to find your details before going anywhere else simply because it’s easier for them to do so. Offering customer service through this medium gives your market instant access to you and bridges the gap between ‘them and us’ that can often harm consumer/provider relations.

Make life easier for your customers and have someone manning the Facebook chat to make sure enquiries are dealt with immediately. Your customers will appreciate knowing that you’re there for them when they need you.

With so much competition around, most people make their decisions on which company to choose based on an assurance that they’ll deal with someone who’s open, honest, and accessible. Let that company be yours.

It Acts as Damage Control

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt in our digital revolution it’s that Facebook is powerful.

Rants and negative comments can spread very quickly and thanks to Facebook’s ground-breaking ‘tagging’ feature, the name of your business can turn to mud very quickly if you don’t step in to resolve your customer’s problems.

Using Facebook as a customer service tool gives you a medium to openly interact with people’s public complaints (which they do make!) so the rest of your followers can witness the integrity you display in your responses. This sincerity has the power to further build relationships with your customers rather than letting your unhappy customers do all the talking.

It Builds Your Brand

Interacting with your customers in a public setting gives you more of an opportunity to put your personality into your business. Facebook is a more casual way of communicating with your customers, so the use of humour and light-hearted emojis is acceptable. This also helps you move away from more traditional, corporate styles of communication. This encourages people to connect with you and will lead to stronger customer loyalty.

Your Competitors are Doing It

While this might not be the most strategic reason to introduce Facebook as a customer service tool, it’s true that everyone else is doing it, so you should too.

If your competitors are on social media solving problems at the drop of a hat while your customers are staring longingly at an empty inbox waiting for your reply, it won’t be long before they give up and head over to get your product or service from your competitor who’s actively trying to help them.

It’s a Platform for Receiving Positive Feedback

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. When you use Facebook for customer service it gives your satisfied customers an opportunity to sing your praises publicly, and who doesn’t want to hear more of that?

Using Facebook for customer service is evolving and it’s important that you keep up. You must implement a strategy that helps you incorporate Facebook for customer service in a structured method and one which can be integrated within your existing customer support model.

We now live in a 24-7 world and you must have someone monitoring content at all times to make sure those burning embers of customer disapproval don’t turn into raging fires that have the potential to harm your business.