We’ve officially entered the spooky season, which happens to be the perfect time to cover the scariest customer care mistakes.
These days, customers don’t have the patience for phone calls and email is another hassle of its own. That means they’re turning to social media, and they expect to have all their needs met.
Not all brands are equipped to meet these demands, and sometimes fumbling through customer care on social is more harmful than anything else. That’s why we’re outlining the top 5 scariest customer care mistakes in today’s blog.
Mistake #1: You Don’t Have a Process
Fumbling through customer care on social can be more harmful than not responding at all. It doesn’t matter if you have one, five, or ten people responsible for replying to the messages you receive. If you don’t have a process, you won’t be able to meet customer needs and you’ll be guilty of one of the scariest customer care mistakes.
In our experience, the right process is unique to each brand. For some of our partners, customer care steps include the following:
Apologize for the issue the customer is experiencing.
Collect their contact information.
Send correspondence and information to an internal customer support team to resolve from there.
Other clients will require our community managers to do a little more digging before reaching out to customer support. This approach comes with its own processes and is usually used with brands whose products have several features or require troubleshooting. In those cases, processes may look something like this:
Ask the customer for the specific model number of their product.
Go to the product page on the website and look at frequently asked questions, error codes in the instruction manual, etc.
Send the customer the troubleshooting steps.
If the customer is unable to resolve their problem, collect information to provide customer support.
We also have running documents for each of our partners, where we collect frequently ask questions and outline answers. Checking those documents is part of our process. The above steps have been simplified for the purposes of brevity, but you get the idea. You should be providing a consistent experience for anyone who comes to your brand on social, no matter who is answering them. Processes are key to providing that consistent experience and are also necessary for providing the support your customers need.
Mistake #2: You Lack Empathy
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all going through something. Whether it’s a collective experience (i.e. a global pandemic) or something more personal such as a job layoff, illness, etc., the effect can manifest in different ways. That’s why it’s imperative that you approach social customer care with empathy.
Our team has noticed heightened emotions come through the social inboxes of many of our partners throughout the last seven months. Oftentimes, when approached with empathy and understanding, customer replies come back much softer than their initial reach out.
Responding with empathy also validates a customer’s feelings. It doesn’t matter if you think they are overreacting or being overly cruel for something you deem minimal. Their issue matters to them, and you need to make them feel validated. Doing so gives you a better chance of turning their experience around.
Use phrases like, “We are very sorry to hear about the issues you are having with X.” Or “We certainly understand your frustration NAME, can you please provide us with X so we can help?”
Extending even the smallest bit of understanding, goes a long way in diffusing what may be a ticking troll bomb. Replying robotically or without emotion is a huge customer care mistake. Need more advice on how to be human in customer care? Lucky for you, we’ve already covered that!
Mistake #3: You’re Content With Just Being “Good”
In order to get the brand shoutouts that you so crave, your brand’s customer care communications can’t just be good, they have to be great. Being content with where you’re at and not looking for ways to improve your customer experience is one of the biggest customer care mistakes.
Being empathetic and providing a consistent experience is just the start. Are you reading the room when chatting with customers? Are you looking for ways that you can go above and beyond in providing them with solutions? The thing about customer care is that it’s all about making things easier for the customer. If you feel that you’re simply meeting their basic needs, not exceeding them, then you leave space for your competitors to swoop in and outperform you.
Going above and beyond doesn’t mean you have to be giving out free stuff all the time. Even taking time to check in with a customer a few days after they reached out can do wonders in making them feel special and cared for.
Another way of taking your customer care to the next level is to identify when people may be open to further conversation. As you may know, at B Squared Media, we are all about thinking conversation. Brand loyalty is created in moments when brands go above and beyond, establishing real connections with their audience. An easy way to do this is to always have your conversation radar up. If a consumer you’ve been dealing with seems like they may be opening to a longer conversation, pursue and encourage that.
You can learn more about taking your customer care communications from good to great in our recent critical support skills blog.
Mistake #4: You Don’t Operate With A Sense of Urgency
When customers turn to social for their customer care needs, they expect speed. They are coming to you on social because they don’t want to wait on hold for three hours – or perhaps they already have and their patience is thin. These consumers expect your technology and processes to be up to date with the times. Long story short, they want answers and fast.
This means you need to make response times a priority. The response times we provide our partners vary depending on the brand, but we like to catch things as soon as possible. For some brands, we have agreed to respond within 30 minutes of a message being sent, for others, an hour turnaround time is more reasonable.
You can determine an appropriate response time for your brand by asking yourself and your team a few questions. What do your community managers have on their plates? Do they often have to reach out to other parties to find the solutions your customers are asking for over social? Or are they often able to provide those solutions rather quickly on their own?
The important thing is, you address the consumer as soon as you can, and don’t lose track of them after. For example, if you need to reach out to customer support for a solution, make sure you are following up with the internal CS team if you don’t hear back from them. You don’t want your customer to feel like they have been forgotten and have to reach out again. Once they’ve reached out, it’s on you to provide a solution using the customer care communications processes that you have established.
Mistake #5: You Don’t Take Mental Breaks
The customer care mistakes listed above may be ones you’ve heard of before. But perhaps the scariest of all customer care mistakes is not allowing yourself or your team the mental breaks needed for those who work in social media.
As we mentioned when discussing the importance of empathy, it’s safe to say that if you’ve been working in social media this year you’ve seen an increase in emotions and tension across all platforms. Managing communities online day in and day out has become more draining than it was before the pandemic or the social justice movements that have swept the country this year. And if you have a small team, chances are they are feeling it.
First things first, keep an eye on both your schedule and how you’re scheduling your team. What does everyone’s workload look like? Is someone being scheduled for long shifts multiple days in a row? Working in social media we are used to always “being on,” but the fact is, that’s not normal. And in stressful times such as these, those 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. shifts you or your team used to pull in January, are a lot more draining now. Make sure that you’re checking in with everyone and how they are feeling.
Second, share resources with each other. It can be easy to make jokes about burnout, but chances are there is more truth behind those jokes these days. We love this list from Later, which outlines 7 Tips For Restoring Wellbeing. Don’t let your team feel like they have to suffer alone, sharing resources, and offering opportunities for open conversations can go a long way.
If your team is getting the breaks they need, they’ll be better set-up to provide the level of customer care communications you expect.
Customer Care Doesn’t Have To Be Scary
The customer care mistakes listed above are scary, but it’s not too late to overcome them. Start with creating some go-to processes and focusing on offering empathy. From there, you can begin to take your customer care communications from good to great. And finally, don’t forget to check-in with yourself and your team. Working hard to serve others and always being on can be detrimental to your mental health, and if you’re not doing well, your brand won’t be either!
Which of these customer care mistakes have you fallen victim to? Tell us in the comments!
Leah K. Williams
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