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The Marketing Edge – The importance of social media customer service

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Providing customer service was once about speaking to someone in person at your place of business or providing a phone number for customers to call if they needed assistance. A quick flip through the phonebook or a glance at the sticker on the back of a product could provide someone with a direct line to your business or a physical address to visit so they could get their questions answered.

With the advent of the internet, new forms of communication were created, thereby forming new methods of customer service, including options like emails and contact forms or even chat boxes on your website.

Social media has once again changed the ways in which customer service can be provided. The messaging tool on Facebook, the direct message option on Twitter and customers’ ability to comment on photos on Instagram with questions all provide social media customer service options for customers to contact you - and for you to connect with them.

But if you neglect your social media and allow questions to go unanswered, you could be doing your business a major disservice. Many people prefer to communicate almost exclusively via email, according to a study done by marketingsherpa. This is especially true for younger consumers as the majority of millennials prefer using electronic forms of communication that can be easily used through their mobile devices.

Social media is lower on the list, but still outpaces other traditional methods such as phone calls.

How many times does your business phone ring before you answer the call? How long does it take you to respond to your customers’ email messages? Whatever your answer was, cut it in half and that’s the expectation of social media customer service. As social media channels become an alternative customer service line for most people, you can’t afford to leave it unattended.

An example of how important social media customer service has become can be seen on Facebook. In 2015, Facebook released their Page Responsiveness app, which allows visitors to see how long it takes for you to respond to a message. When this button is green, it validates your company and your brand.

The takeaway is simple: make sure you have time every day to check your social media platforms for comments or messages. You must treat your social media presence as you treat your storefront — be there.

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