Megan Edwards ,
Expert Content Marketer + Copywriter at mWords Communications
Social media has the *potential* to be a great customer service tool, but how well it works for your business is heavily dependent on your degree of responsiveness, i.e. how quickly you can respond to and resolve queries that arise.
This can be managed to a degree by setting - and clearly communicating - your response commitment, then being able to keep that promise. As the saying goes, better to under-promise and over-deliver!
It will also depend on how critical a less-than-perfect response time might be: will the customer be merely annoyed or inconvenienced? Will they have gone elsewhere for a solution?
Customer expectations are pretty high in many areas of service nowadays - so if nothing else, do your research - talk to customers, analyse service levels amongst your competitors and set clear parameters based on the level of service you can be certain of delivering.
Yes, I use social media for customer service, namely Facebook.
Often my clients prefer personal messages either to my Facebook page or my Facebook profile.
I often deal with the enquiry, booking and followup all on Facebook messenger. Often send my welcome letter too. Sometimes I never speak with my client. The first time they talk to anyone is when a technician arrives at their house.
My target audience is busy mums with kids at home running a small business 30+. I have found that many people in this target audience prefer personal messages in Facebook than any other form of communication.
It comes down to who your target audience is as to what communication would suit them best.
Jef Lippiatt ,
Owner at Startup Chucktown
I would also add that several platforms lend themselves toward customer service better than others. I believe the primary social networks that are leveraged for customer service in order of usage (for customer service) are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
I haven't heard of people using Pinterest, but I don't see why it couldn't be leveraged for that. I suppose it depends on how frequently people are commenting on your pins.
I think the main idea is that you need to be where you customers are (complimenting or complaining). Another way to know how your customers feel are to set alerts (on both Google and Social Networks through programs like IFTTT or Buffer and Hootsuite).
What for "mentions" of your brand and hashtag usage.