When it comes to social media, attracting new customers and capitalizing on this effort is what hospitality industry marketers have in mind. We have reached a point in this ever-evolving communication medium where it is no longer a question of whether or not to use social media for customer service but how to use it effectively.
Today’s social media networks have become the perfect funnel through which customers try to get in touch with customer service representatives. To provide the best possible customer care you need to be active social media. Which medium is best for your hotel will depend on your objectives as well as the size of your property and available resources.
There are plenty of advantageous measures that you can use to get started on your way to providing the best social media customer service:
- Communication: Say bye-bye to canned responses! Whether people have issues that need to be resolved or are just seeking out information, they want to be heard and to have the gratification of immediate responses. We have all experienced the challenges to finding that phone number/email/form to reach out to a customer service representative. Then once you have the contact, you find yourself greeted with a human robot spewing out pre-packaged (complete with bow) responses! By it’s very nature, social media allows you to communicate in a more casual, conversational tone. You can retain your brand voice all the while putting the “human”, personal relationship back into customer service.
- Reputation: You want to encourage more brand mentions and influence your online reputation since controlling it is no longer an option in today’s world. Making sure your representatives provide immediate responses with no lapses, ensures you are on your way to have it come back to your own brand. No matter if it is a concern, issue or comment, the more activity on social media networks, the more it helps your SEO rankings.
- Listening: People will always prefer a personal exchange with an individual representing a brand rather than hearing a “company” voice. So it’s important to bond with your guests and hone the art of listening. When you create dialogue and give people a more personal experience, you build their loyalty and they will call out your brand in social media. At the same time you show prospective customers you can quickly resolve issues.
- Commitment: Of course having a presence in social media is the first step but the real clincher to making yourself a customer service guru is your commitment. That’s right! Being available 24/7/365. A hotel runs 24/7/365 and so should your customer service. After all, there could be nothing worse than a customer who reaches out to your hotel or comments about your property and then they hear nothing but crickets. The immediacy that is inherent in social media affords you the wonderful moments of providing your guest with the quick answer they expect and the personal attention they need.
- Follow through: There are some circumstances that might take a little longer to resolve so follow up is vital. You put so much effort into building the relationship so now you have to maintain it or risk having it backfire. Following up will give you the chance to know whether or not your guest is satisfied with the resolution or response. If yes then you have the opportunity to ask whether or not the exchange was helpful. If not, then you will have created the chance for taking further action showing your guest you would not abandon them or throw them back into another round in the customer service pool.
So, welcome to the “new” customer service where the focus is truly on the customer – their social network, their time, their needs. It’s an era of building relationships, earning loyalty and influencing your online presence. It is no longer enough just to be present on social media sharing your latest promotion. Participate in a proactive, reactive and solution focused manner for those areas that need a resolution. Keep these basic points in mind and you’ll be a success with your customer service on social media – and make your customers happy.