The term ‘call centre’ usually conjures up images of vast open office spaces, occupied by dozens of telesales representatives parked in front of computer screens with their omnipresent headsets.
Gone are the days where the primary source of communication is by telephone. In the digital age, many consumers decide to take to their desktop when they want to make a purchase or, more importantly, air a grievance.
In an ideal world, a customer that has a concern will reach out to your call centre via telephone. Customer care specialists can pull up details quickly, and can use the pauses to engage with the person on the other end of the phone. With this said, the concept of Live Chat allows the opportunity to address a complaint while the customer is online and available to participate in the process as well.
The internet is rife with opportunities to either sing the praises or throw some acid on a business. Social media pages, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Feefo, Google and Trustpilot are just some of the channels that allow the consumer to rate and leave feedback on virtually any business on the planet. Therefore, today’s customer support professionals need to be adept at handling complaints through various outlets.
There is a growing number of people who take to social media to vent about their experience with a brand. And everyone loves to read a good rant, right? What can end up happening is people start piggy-backing on the original comment, and before you know it there is a viral complaint about your company flying all over the internet. Left unattended, these can fester and do ongoing damage to your business.
So what’s a brand to do? Here are a few simple tips:
1) Monitor your social media pages: Make sure you check for direct messages. The sooner you acknowledge someone’s issue, the easier it will be to make them a fan of your business again.
2) Search for your brand: People may not bother searching for your official Facebook page or Twitter handle, and the only way you’ll find those harsh comments is searching for your brand name. Include searches for common misspellings. Then try to engage with those individuals, but get them off public pages and on to email or telephone.
3) Check your ratings: Usually, a one-star rating on sites like Trustpilot can be remedied by apologising for the experience the customer had, and asking them to get in touch to try to find a satisfactory resolution to the issue. That is the result what people want.
4) Keep your cool: The internet explodes with a story gone viral every few months. A customer who complained on social media received a defensive (and usually offensive) reply from the business. As much it might pain you, the customer is always right; bite your tongue and try to address the issue in a timely fashion.
How you manage your social media customer support can be a dream come true, or your worst nightmare. It’s up to you how to handle it, so choose wisely.
Words by Bernadette Kelly, of director business development at ActiveWin Media
Bernadette is a native New Yorker, starting her career as a telesales representative. She has managed large call centre teams in California before relocating to Manchester in 2010. Recently, Bernadette was selected as a judge for VOOM2016 to help Richard Branson decide which start-up would win £1 million in prizes.