How to Turn Customer Service into Content

Your customer isn’t happy.

What’s worse, they’ve turned to the Internet to voice their frustrations.

Your PR people are panicking, but fear not, your customer service team is on it! They know how to fix this customer’s problems and turn the social media coal into a diamond.

Turn to the Blog

If one or two customers are raising questions or complaints, then it’s likely that others are having similar problems. If the customer service team works closely with the blog editor then there are multiple possibilities for awesome content.

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If customers regularly call asking for help with a particular process, create an in-depth tutorial that walks readers through it. There’ a chance that they already searched for the answer online before reaching out to you, and their frustration could have been avoided had they found your blog.

Keep an eye on the queries and keywords that bring people to your site. Phrases that begin with “how to…” are opportunities for blog posts.

FAQs

If customers come to you with the same questions and problems, set up a FAQ page on your site or create blog posts around it.

A frequently asked questions blog article can be a great follow-up to a product launch. Make note of the initial problems that customers have and provide solutions through the article.

System and Product Updates

Of course, instead of telling customers how to solve problems with your product, you could always fix those problems – and then announce updates.

Not only does this show your customers that you’re listening, it also showcases your company’s flexibility. Changes and updates to systems also make for easy blog content that could win back any customers who had left because of the old ways.

Make Facebook Solutions Badges of Honor

A study by PageLever found that most fan engagement is in the News Feed as opposed to brand pages. Only 7.49 out of 100 fans interact with your content in your News Feed while 3.19 out of 100 actually view your page. Your fans are engaging with your statuses and posts without actually going to your page.

This means that when they do go to your page, they’re looking for something specific. They might want to enter a contest or look for contact information or complain on your wall.

Here is a perfect example: Shirley asked a question about donating to the Red Cross and gave Dunkin’ Donuts a platform to share its message.

runsonsukinThere isn’t a character limit to work around in Facebook, so customers can voice exactly what’s wrong in as much space as they need. Some choose Facebook because it’s easiest for them, others because their outrage is more public than in an email. Either way, you can turn this into an opportunity. Apologize for any inconvenience if they’re complaining and try to provide a public solution. Even if your only solution is to ask them to send an email or message, saying that you plan to take care of it goes a long way.

chilis123At the very least, this is a chance to build your brand voice – especially when fans are using your wall to ask about products or topics of general interest. Make the most of these interactions and soon customers will remember your page for its helpful service.

Keep Your Ear to the Ground on Twitter

There are three main types of customer service tweets to look out for on Twitter. Success on this social network depends on your ability to listen, and doing so can pay huge dividends.

Level One: Tweets Asking for Help

These tweets are relatively simple. A customer tweeted directly to you with a problem or question, and your main challenge will be responding to them within an hour. If it’s a common problem or FAQ, retweet their tweet and then tweet an answer. This will help other followers with similar queries and showcase your quick response time. If it’s something specific and personal, address it in a more private manner. Today’s complaining customer can be tomorrow’s brand advocate.

Level Two: Mentions within the Tweet

These tweets can be the most volatile, and most Twitter users have sent them out in a moment of rage.

These fans are ranting about your product or company and tagged you just to send the message home. Responding to these tweets require a little more care, but can impress a customer who might not have been expecting an immediate response.

Remember: the people behind these tweets aren’t directly asking for help, but they wouldn’t have tagged you if they didn’t expect a response.

Level Three: Tweets with No Handle or Hashtag

This person had a terrible experience at you company and wants their fans to know about it, but they didn’t use your @handle in the tweet or include a hashtag with your company name. Now is your time to shine.

If you really want to listen on Twitter you should go deeper than checking your Interactions tab every few hours. There are countless apps and sites to monitor hashtags, keywords, and even specific people. Follow your company name, potential nicknames, and even your products. For example, if I worked at Lowe’s I would monitor the hashtag #Lowe along with #Lowes, just in case someone new to Twitter was talking about my brand but put an apostrophe in the hashtag (#Lowe’s).

Three Traits to Achieve Awesomeness

The past three sections have focused on customer service with specific platforms, but there are others out there where your customers are voicing their opinions – and complaints. No matter how you’re communicating remember these three Bes.

Be Fast

KISSmetrics created an infographic highlighting expected response time by platform. The majority of customers expect a response within a day. 50% of consumers said they would stop doing business with a company if they didn’t respond within a week.

Responding to your customers in a timely manner can determine whether or not they stay loyal to you. Don’t lose them because you’re slow or not listening.

Be Accurate

This is PR, not ER. While you might want to respond to a complaint or question immediately, you’re no help if you don’t have a valuable answer. Gather information and resources you need to help the customer before responding, even if it takes more time to do so. The worst thing you can do is give inaccurate information in a rush to say anything.

Be Proactive

Arguing with your customer will only leave you with an unhappy client who is more likely to keep complaining on even more platforms. Actively provide solutions to their problems and offer multiple choices when possible. Getting defensive about a customer complaint only increases the tension in a situation and doesn’t help either of you.

A Word of Warning Before You Begin

Most of these examples of turning customer problems into content are on a case-by-case basis, but there are some instances where a brand is responding to several people at once. These scenarios have the potential to do more harm than good when the brand voice gets backed into a corner.

Twitter Q&As

Recently, British Gas and J.P. Morgan have had to backpedal out of Twitter chats when fans started trolling their hashtags. They quickly went viral for all of the wrong reasons.

If your company is recovering from bad publicity or in the middle of a crisis, tread carefully with Twitter Q&As, they can easily turn into witch hunts.

Reddit AMAs

Like Twitter Q&As, using a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) to connect with customers should be handled carefully. Redditors are notorious for their wit and hatred of marketers. If you want to use this platform to talk with hundreds of people, be ready for bizarre and sarcastic comments.

If you’re interesting or able to be witty then you’ll leave a victor but if you’re trying to answer with corporate speak then the community will turn on you.

Listen, Respond, Create

Your customers are looking to be heard, they want their problems solved quickly and effectively. By turning their questions, comments, and problems into content you’re creating resources for other customers to have their problems solved in the future. One happy customer will lead to multiple happy customers, and your business will thrive because of it.