Facebook for Customer Service
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We’ve taken a look at how brands are using YouTube for Customer Service, and this week we’ll analyze how the best are helping their consumers on the Facebook Wall. More so than the other social channels, Facebook is most susceptible to damaging comments from non-fans, fans, and former fans. On Twitter, inflammatory or disparaging comments made by users aren’t visible to everyone that follows the brand, only to that user’s followers; thus minimizing the damage. On YouTube, users can comment on existing brand videos, isolating negative comments, or post their own videos, which are only as powerful as their channel’s subscriber-base. On the Facebook Wall, however, any and all comments appear in a collective, and therefore amplified environment, and users can Like and comment on one another’s posts – positive or negative.
While we won’t only be looking at negative comments and complaints, they are certainly the most dangerous for brands on Facebook. How can they be mitigated? By being responsive, practicing certain customer service basics, and incorporating some of the below tactics into your social customer service strategy, you will have your Facebook fans singing your praises on the Wall for everyone else to see. Positivity breeds positivity.
When it comes to responsiveness, expediency is vital; however, don’t reply without a well thought-out response. Once you reply to a user’s post, they will receive an alert – either via email, or the next time they login to Facebook, depending on the user’s settings – so don’t feel like you need to reply before the user has even left your Facebook Page. That said, your community manager should have email alerts set up so that they receive a notification every time a user posts on the Wall. Some SaaS solutions offer Facebook Wall moderation with keyword targeting that will highlight a custom set of keywords like “help,” “frustrated,” or “question” so that a team of community managers can be monitoring and responding to questions, concerns, and issues posted by fans in real-time.
Needless to say, traditional customer service fundamentals are just as applicable in the social space. Use your standard customer service response set and integrate it into your Facebook community management processes. One great acronym is AAAA – Apologize, Acknowledge, Atone, Affirm – which seems to hit all the bases, keeping the consumer on your side. On the Facebook Wall, squeezing in all four “A”s isn’t as hard as it may seem. A boilerplate response to a consumer complaint may be something like, “Hi John, I see that you’re having a problem with Product A; we’re so sorry that it’s not working properly for you! We want to make it right for you, so email us at Facebook@Brand.com with your receipt number, and you’ll hear back from us within the hour!” We’ve acknowledged the issue, apologized, indicated that we’re going to take the steps to fix the issue, and affirmed with the user after this exchange via email (we hope).
Additionally, try to take the conversation off Facebook after the response, so as not to clutter the Wall with messy back-and-forth, which opens the floor up for other users to chime in. In your response, including a simple, “emails us with Information X at email@example.com” will almost always suffice. After you respond, an affirmation from the user on the Wall is a huge win. Something like “Didn’t think you were listening. Thanks for responding!” serves as social proof for other fans that the brand is listening and cares about them, not just their wallets.
Other elements of Facebook customer service include responding to basic user questions, handling positive sentiment, and using Facebook for crowdsourcing and R&D. Communication for these three scenarios is less boilerplate and requires a more branded approach, so be sure to sculpt and test your messages thoroughly. Now let’s look at some brands who do Facebook customer service right.
Facebook Customer Service Scenarios:
Depending on your brand, you may deal with Wall complaints all the time, or almost never. While the frequency of this category is totally dependent on the brand, responses should be fairly standard. Apologize, Acknowledge, Atone, Affirm. Here’s a nice example from Pizza Hut:
Users will always have questions, whether they want to know when the new fashion line is coming out, when you’ll be posting the next coupon, or when your interest rates will drop. Organize common Wall questions into a FAQ community management doc for future reference, and be ready to respond. Norwegian Cruise Line always provides comprehensive answers to questions on their Facebook Wall.
Let’s not forget about all the positive things that users have to say on your Wall; we want them to know that we appreciate their appreciation! Don’t let users who post positive sentiment slip by unnoticed while complaining users take up all of your response time. For this scenario, many times a simple “Thanks [name]!” works best, as we can see from the Vera Wang Facebook Wall.
Aside from simply asking users what they think about something in the comments of a post, the recently release of Facebook Questions has given brands a new, lightweight crowdsourcing tool. Using Questions, brands can get a better idea of where their fans stand on issues, can ask fans for new ideas, and even improve existing products. Here, Urban Outfitters learns more about their fans’ mobile usage.
Have you seen other brands doing a great job helping their customers on Facebook? Post examples and links in the comments!
Jed Singer is a contributor for the Social Media Week Global Editorial Team based in New York City, and is an Engagement Associate at Stuzo | Dachis Group. Follow him on twitter @jedsinger
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