The Complete Guide to Using Social Media for Customer Service

smileyReady to do something really groundbreaking and revolutionary in social media marketing?

I’ve got just the thing: customer service.

We talk a lot at Buffer about customer happiness, and it’s because we truly believe in it. Here’s how our Leo Widrich puts it:

“Customer support is the very rare opportunity to connect to your customers on an emotional level. You can’t do that in any other way.”

And while there are a growing number of other awesome companies who feel the same way we do, there’s still a pretty big gap between what customers want from social media customer service and what many brands are delivering. That’s where the whole “groundbreaking and revolutionary” thing comes in.

“I genuinely believe that any business can create a competitive advantage through giving outstanding customer care.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Exceeding expectations may be easier than you think. Treat customers like real people and genuinely care about their issues (and fixing them) and you can majorly wow them. And if Buffer’s story is any indication, all that love will really pay off for you.

In this ultimate guide to using social media for customer service, we’ll discuss everything from why social media customer service is so important to using the right tone and the right tools to measuring your results.

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Why Positive Encouragement Works Better Than Criticism, According to Science

smileI’ve written about positivity before, in terms of cultivating a positive outlook for yourself. What I want to write about today is cultivating positivity in your workplace, particularly if you’re a leader. By focusing on positive interactions with your employees and encouraging an upbeat emotional state as often as possible, you’ll be more likely to have a happy, productive and efficient team.

How positivity affects our brains

To start with, let’s look at how positive and negative emotions work in our brains, and what we can learn from that.

Positive emotions generally work in an opposite way to negative emotions. So, while emotions like fear, anxiety, stress and anger narrow our focus, inhibit our concentration and decrease our cognitive abilities, positive emotions can do the opposite. When we’re feeling upbeat and happy, we’re more likely to have an inclusive focus than a self-centered outlook, and to perform better on cognitively demanding tasks.

That is why exercising often makes us happier, especially if we choose to go for a demanding work-out.

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Turning your marketing upside down: Why you should put more focus on existing customers

pyramidIf you’ve been venturing a bit in the online marketing world like me, I’m sure you’ve heard the term “marketing funnel” before. To be frank, it was never something that appealed to me. It always seemed like just a way to optimise how many people are giving you money, which doesn’t seem very caring.

So when I came across this post by MailChimp co-founder Ben Chestnut about why he hates funnels, I was excited to see that the traditional funnel isn’t the only way successful companies do marketing.

In fact, Ben’s company has taken the funnel and turned it on its head before applying it, and the results seem to be working out well.

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10 Tales of Remarkable Customer Support That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

Why are we as consumers so captivated by stories of great customer service?

Perhaps it is because they serve as a much needed reminder that there are still companies out there who care about their customers.

Every company says that their customers are their #1 priority, but stories show us that many businesses are ready, willing, and able to go the extra mile for each and every one of their customers.

As Benjamin Franklin would put it:

Well done is better than well said.

I agree, and throughout the rest of this article, we will take a close look at some memorable stories in an effort to highlight those businesses who “walk the walk” when it comes to delivering the kind of service that wins a customer over for life.

Along the way, you’ll find insights for your own business to consider and some exceptional inspiration to pass on to your support team.

Enjoy!

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3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Company’s Email Support

“When it comes to creating customer happiness, better service is the answer…”

Hands up: how many times have you heard that and thought, “Yawn…”

We’ve all heard the same trite advice before.

Although WOWing your customers time and time again (like Buffer continues to do) is important in creating a business people love, the “customer evangelists” out there are always talking fluff, and very rarely address the far less sparkling side of implementation.

That’s because it’s easy to talk the talk… but what about putting it in to practice?

The post you are about to read isn’t your typical take on customer service, because it actually digs into how you can improve your email support system with some very easy steps to take advantage of the most popular communication platform on the web.

(That’s right, email still > social media)

Let’s dig in…

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How happy were Buffer users in January 2013: The Happiness Report

“Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Anon

Welcome to the first Happiness Report of 2013!

Each month we share how we are managing support here at Buffer, as well as take a look at how happy people are when using our product.

We walk through what worked well, what perhaps didn’t work so well, as well as mention new things we’re trying as we push to improve how we deliver support and happiness.

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Measuring Customer Happiness at Buffer: December 2012

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” ~ Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

Well hello there! January has zipped by super fast but there’s just enough time left to share with you our third Happiness Report and dive into how we managed support during December and also how happy people are when using Buffer. We’ll walk through what worked well for the team here at Buffer, what perhaps didn’t work so well, as well as new things we’re trying on for size this new year.

A look at our numbers in December

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The 3 Psychological Triggers that Matter to Happy Customers

The customer of today is an “infovore.”

Before doing business with you, a huge majority of customers will now use the information available on the web to find out a plethora of things about your company and your service quality.

Transparency is the way the business world works these days, and it’s forced companies to re-examine their sales process for the benefit of the customer.

This highly informed customer isn’t going away anytime soon, in fact, the web has made it better than ever for honest, upstanding businesses who take care of their customers to succeed in a world where most companies fall short.

Consider these startling customer engagement statistics…

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Measuring Customer Happiness at Buffer: November 2012

“Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” ~ Anonymous

smileIt’s hard to believe another month has skipped by and it’s already time for our second Happiness Report, where we examine how happy people are when using Buffer. The first one was already super insightful and we made a lot of changes with the learnings from it. Especially with your great comments and suggestions!

Before the holidays kick into high gear, we want to take a look back over Buffer support through November – what worked well, what perhaps didn’t work so well, as well as new things we’re trying as we zoom towards the end of the year.

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10 Simple Ways to Get More Customers Using Psychology

So here is a simple question, what do you need to do, to get more customers? The intuitive response that most would give to this topic (me included), are a good product, good marketing, good customer support and so forth. But what if we could actually look into our customers heads to truly understand how we they are thinking?

That’s exactly what our great friends, Gregory Ciotti over at HelpScout have done, to produce this fascinating infographic. It talks about 10 simple things that you can apply today to convert more of your customers by understanding how they think.

Each of these points is fascinating and comes from a well researched study. The most valuable lesson in here, that we’ve also seen as one of the most important ones here at Buffer is to highlight shortcomings to show your strength:

Customers were more trustworthy of companies that admitted “strategic failings”, over those that blamed external sources on the problem (even if they were true.) ~ Fiona Lee

Here are the 10 golden lessons for you to master in order to get more customers converted to your side:

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