Right now, you need a solid customer care strategy during the current supply and demand dilemma. Many of the issues revolving around supply, demand, and shipping have not resolved themselves. In fact, it’s only threatening to persist well into 2022.
As a result, it’s a bleak situation for many businesses. From electronic chips needed for new cars to home appliances on backorder, to the very paper needed to print books for the publishing industry. Everywhere you look, there is a shortage.
Read on for ideas on how you can improve customer care when you have no control of supply and demand.
Fed Up, Exhausted, & Frustrated
Let’s start by stating the obvious – many are fed up, exhausted, and frustrated in some capacity. From business owners to employees to customers. The desire to move forward is there, but the supply cannot catch up to the demand.
Unfortunately, this all adds up to customers expressing themselves in very negative ways on social media. And as we know, voices on social media can be loud. Customer care during the supply and demand frustration needs to be your focus right now.
What You Can Do
- Thoroughly read what their issue is. Be sure you’re not misinterpreting the comment or question. If you rush to judgment, the situation will 100% escalate on social media. Text can be easily misread and tone of voice can be hard to judge.
- Be friendly and ask questions. It’s very important to ask questions to better understand how you can be of assistance. And do this all while establishing a friendly rapport through consistent communication. Remember, they came to such a public platform because they are frustrated and want to be heard.
- Do your research before answering any questions. Typically, community managers are in contact with a brand’s customer service team. And you’ve probably already set up shared docs with the team regarding FAQs on products. If you are unable to answer this as a community manager, then it’s time to forward the question to the CS team.
- Take a deep breath. If the customer is less than thrilled with the response and becomes irate, remember, you are not face-to-face, so grant yourself a moment to think and clear your head.
- Take it offline. If the conversation seems to be going in circles, it’s time to politely request they send you a DM with their name and contact information so a customer service representative can reach out to them directly via phone or email.
The B Squared Media team of Community Managers has documents devoted specifically to scripting and FAQs. You can read some of our examples in a recent blog that offers 25 scripts to help empathize with your customers.
Transparency Inspires Confidence
Hot tip: when customer care teams are transparent with customers, they earn their trust. And that trust translates into confidence towards the brand. At the end of the day, customers want assurance from businesses. So, why tiptoe around the obvious?
To further drive home that point, look no further than the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report from 2021. In their report:
- 68% say it’s more important for them to trust the brands they purchase from today (than in the past).
- 86% expect brands to take one or more actions beyond their business (ex: donate to causes, tell the truth, and address societal changes, amongst more).
What You Can Do
Customer care during the supply and demand dilemma is testing the strength of your business’s relationship with its customers. Here’s how you can use transparency to inspire confidence:
- First and foremost, assess the current supply and demand issues. Do you have a date when this will be available? Do you have another product that is available that can be suggested in its place? Can you be proactive and pull ads relating to this product in the meantime?
- Script responses. Have your community management team brainstorm and write scripts to be loosely followed when communicating with customers on social media. (We say ‘loosely follow’ because you do not want to sound like a robot with canned replies. Make each one more personable and not a copy/paste situation). As mentioned in the previous section, you want to align with empathy.
- Be transparent. Be upfront and honest with your customers in the form of over-communicating. The last thing you want is for customers to think you don’t care and are not interested in correcting this for them. They want acknowledgment and updates. So, do just that. Let them know as much information as you can offer up and then continue to touch base with any updates. Transparency = trust = confidence in your business.
The situation is not ideal, but you will find that being honest with your customers is greatly appreciated! The supply and demand dilemma is not a secretive thing. It has touched nearly every industry.
Increase Your Customer Care Team
Finally, if you are able to, increasing your customer care team will be extremely helpful. If your business is having a hard time keeping up with the volume of questions and comments, then it’s time to call in reinforcements.
In an article from Supply Chain Brain, it’s noted that there is a shortage of customer service representatives. While it’s important to have customer service representatives handle calls and emails, we believe it’s equally necessary to have a social media customer care team.
Customer care during the supply and demand dilemma is unnerving. Many businesses are on edge as a result. And clearly, so are the customers.
It’s only insulting their intelligence if your business is not transparent in replies. There are few industries untouched by the supply and demand dilemma. So, with this knowledge, your best bet is to follow our tips above.
What tips do you have when handling customer care issues on social media? Let us know in the comments below!