Social media for customer service is a must for retailers

          Laura Heller

It's the rare person today that isn't touched in some way by social media, and it's the even rarer business that isn't trying to figure out how to best use these burgeoning channels in a variety of ways.

But while a great many stories and studies have been devoted to using social media for brand building and marketing, there's one area in which social media channels are underutilized: customer service.

Savvy retailers are getting wise to using social media to connect with customers in some very practical ways. Businesses are adding positions to monitor their own social media accounts to answer questions, deal with issues and mediate problems. 

Technology and services now exist to identify online chatter, both good and bad, and direct resources to reconciling issues, often faster than a phone call or service order. Customers turn to Twitter and Facebook to voice displeasure and retailers need to be where these shoppers are.

Whereas shoppers once called a retail store or customer service line to voice displeasure or complain to family and friends, they now shout that displeasure to their family, friends and any stranger who follows a topic or conversation. A well-placed hashtag can turn a grumble into a roar, doing more damage to a retailer's reputation than any published account.

But just as social media gives disgruntled customers a bullhorn so, too, does it give retailers an effective tool to not just mitigate problems, but turn an angry customer into an even more loyal one.

In this FierceRetail eBook "Social Media Monitoring: The New Frontier of Customer Service," we explore the many social media platforms, how they differ in scope and effectiveness, and the many do's and don'ts of reaching shoppers through these channels. For those who doubt the need for a social media strategy in customer service—and roughly half of all retailers are currently without now—there is compelling data to convince them otherwise, including success stories.

And finally, find out when it makes sense to keep social media monitoring in-house and when to outsource, because social media strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all have unique properties, and provide new ways to reach shoppers.

Download our eBook today to learn more about how social media isn't just for brand building anymore, but is an integral part of any retailer's customer service program. -Laura