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How To Decide Whether Your Small Business Should Deliver Customer Service Through Social Media

As technology develops, so do consumers’ expectations of businesses and their individual requirements that they consider to be conducive to a great experience with an organisation.

Customer service itself has always played a huge role in business and today, organisations are faced with the potential scenario of delivering customer service through social platforms – but it’s not simply a matter of jumping straight on board and there are numerous questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

1.  Do you understand social media?

Everybody has heard of Twitter and Facebook, but do you know how they work?  Do you know how you could use them for social media?  Are you aware of their potential and their drawbacks?

It might seem like a great idea delivering customer service through social media, but if the platforms don’t fit your business model, it could prove to be extremely difficult.

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2.  Are you delivering good customer service at the moment?

Customer service and social media could without doubt work well together for your business and you may already fully understand social media, but if your existing customer service delivery method isn’t up to scratch, you’re going to struggle when adding social media to the mix.

Look at your existing processes and techniques, ensure they’re working effectively and then look at developing to social media – don’t just jump on board thinking social media will revolutionise the way you deliver customer service in its entirety, as it really won’t.

3.  Do you have the ability to expand your customer service delivery model?

Wanting to deliver customer service through social media is one thing, but actually being able to do it is another.

Do you have the internal resources available or the funds to hire an agency?  Are you able to create a strategy, implement it and maintain it at all times?  If not, this doesn’t mean social customer service isn’t for you, but it does mean you have to reevaluate whether you implement it now, next week or further down the line.

4.  Do you understand the potential repercussions?

Customer service delivered through social media could have some particularly positive benefits, but it could also have some major repercussions.  Do you understand what these are?  How would you deal with them?  Are you confident your business could succeed if faced with these negative aspects?

5.  Are you certain it’s a move in the right direction?

No matter how well you understand social media, how good you are at delivering customer service and how confident you are in your ability to develop a social customer service model, you still have to be certain it’s the right thing to do – and your customers will tell you if you take the time to ask them.

Many organisations are jumping in at the deep end when it comes to social customer service, thinking their customers want it, but in many instances, the truth is they simply want good customer service, wherever it comes from.

Social media and customer service is very much a hot topic at the moment and although it can be tempting to dive straight in, it’s absolutely imperative that you look at every angle to ensure that if you do decide to move towards a more social customer service model, you are able to deliver it in the most effective way possible for both you as an organisation and your customers.

This post was originally featured on May 29, 2012.

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