Wed 09 Sep 2015 | By:

Social Media Customer Service in Your Startup: Doing it Right

Social Media Customer Service in Your StartupWhen it comes to customer service on social media there are so many ways to go about doing it. The first thing you need to remember is that as a business your customers come first. When you’re designing your business plan, your customers are probably a part of your plan, right? So, why wouldn’t they be included in your social media; especially in a way that shows them you care, like through your customer service.

Here at Startup Savant we take our community’s satisfaction very seriously and one of the ways we do this is to ensure questions, comments or concerns that they share with us on the site and through our social networks get acknowledged and replied.

Now let’s take a look at how you can actually go about doing this with your startup.


Negative social media comments

First things first, you will get negative comments sometimes. The way you handle these will define much more about your startup business and how much value your customers have for you than you think.

Sometimes those negative social media comments can be ‘trolls’; it’s up to you to know the difference. But either way, if there’s a response you can give that provides a solution to the problem that’s being voiced online, you will succeed in making your customers see that you care.

A perfect example is if we have someone comment about an article that was published on Startup Savant. Let’s say the comment is about an article on legal advice for your startup and that in the article they couldn’t find a specific answer to costs. We’d address it by redirecting them to another article or a set of resources that held the answer to their question.

A worst case scenario would be a negative comment about the site as a whole; maybe someone finding Startup Savant ineffective in helping them to get their startup off the ground. We’d thank them for their feedback and ask them what improvements they’d like to see.

No matter what type of negative comment you get on social media, there’s always a way you could productively answer it to show that you want to resolve the issue the commenter is having with your business service or product.


The problem with timing and responding to social media comments

In a fast paced world, most people expect immediate responses to their queries, feedback and concerns. This doesn’t mean you have to stop having a life and be stuck to your computer 24/7, but you do need to understand the importance of timing and the impact it can have on your startup.

When someone leaves a question, comment or concern on one of your social media networks, be it Facebook or Twitter, the sooner you can get back to the person the better. Most people expect a response within 24 hours, some even an hour. If you’re a one man show running your startup, you know this is impossible.

Don’t feel compelled to follow that pace, but do realize that it could cost you some business.

On the other hand, people should also be aware that social media isn’t managed as a customer service platform by solopreneurs or small business owners. They can expect less than an hour or 24 hours responses by big brands, but startups that are still growing won’t be able to do the same.

As long as you do get back to them though, that will count in your favor. Maybe you can even explain why the delay in your response time (making yourself more human). After all, people love buying from people; even more so, from people they can relate to.


Social media customer service setup

Knowing how to handle social media criticism and response time expectations, allows us to move on to another very important component of your social media customer service, which is: strategy. Like your business plan strategy, social media customer service can also use one. So, here we go!

Decide how often you will check your social media streams for comments, questions, and concerns.

If you are running your startup solo, most of your time is spent working on your business. You’re getting all your legal advice organized; you’re pitching clients or promoting your products; you’re budgeting and making sure your revenue is flowing; you’re maintaining your social media presence with a marketing strategy; and so on.

So, how much time do you think you will have left for customer service after all of that?

Once you know, then you also know how often you will be checking your social streams. For happier customers, it would be ideal to pop in at least once a day, if you can do two, even better. Another option is being clear on your customer service policies. Set up a page where you explain that on your site or include it in your social media channels’ description somewhere.

Decide how to handle customers during live events.

If you’re planning on participating in live events, you should be leveraging those across your social media channels to increase your visibility and reach. In this case, the best thing you can do is higher someone to manage your social media communications during the event. There’s no way you can network and be fully present at the event while also managing Tweets or Facebook comments.

How to handle crises.

A crisis is not the same as a negative comment posted on one of your social networks. A crisis could involve you posting something that was taken as offensive or maybe your online streams got hacked.

If you posted something that was taken the wrong way, an apology is your best option. Unless, you don’t care of who took offense or maybe the statement you made is something you fully standby. In the case you get hacked, a public statement posted on your site is ideal.

Social media is a great way for you to get your startup in front of your customers, but with that you also have to assume the responsibility of catering to your audience’s needs. This includes a response to their comments and concerns. Have a plan for how you intend to show them you care through your social media customer service efforts and you’ll make them happy, which will make your business successful!

How do you handle your social media customer service? Let me know on Twitter!

About Maria Florio

Maria Florio is a passionate entrepreneur with various specialties and interests: writer, copywriter, inbound marketer, Italy travel specialist and event planner. Her biggest passions are life and humanity. Get to know her professionally on LinkedIn and Twitter.