Social media is a powerful tool for marketers in all kinds of businesses. They have correctly noticed that you can pull an enormous amounts of data out of their companies' social profiles. The kind of data they would never be able to reach, or would but by paying huge sums for research and analysis. You can also interact almost instantly with people without the need to acquire their contact information. This has improved the work considerably but also created a new customer demand, the SOCIAL CUSTOMER CARE!
Don't ignore the attention you get!
You plan out a campaign, as every online retailer you think of something juicy to give to your customer: a special promotion for Facebook fans or a coupon code. Ok, that's a great idea, you put your idea into life and this happens:
You got the customer engagement all right, but the times when the rule "no publicity is bad publicity" are long over. With such a strategy you can't complain that there's no ROI on social media. There is, in the end it's an additional channel for communication. Hence, it needs proper strategy for customer care. It won't work if you just collect your shoppers, engage them and later ignore. This is a two-way communication tool and once neglected you will get a cold shoulder on every of your pro-shopper initiatives.
People can get angry and troll your campaigns if they don't get what the want. This is something you've learned already throughout your career in retail. Social media gives them even more power to sabotage your business. It used to be that one unsatisfied client would generate 50 skeptics, nowadays one person is capable of a loss of thousands of potential buyers.
The way to handle it? Let your customers win, always! They are not your enemies, they're just needy but in a positive sense. It's not a competition for you, an argument, even if the customers is not right, will always generate a loss on your side.
I don't mean here that you should give away free gifts or give the money back to everyone all the time. However, respond to all questions quickly and stay cool. The customer got angry, but you have to stay calm, listen carefully and talk him out of this anger by offering a valid solution.
Simplify the process
The fact is that your customers will use social media for customer care.
They've chose it and the only thing for you to do is to prepare a strategy. As far as this is possible take all queries from social media and analyze them, don't redirect your complaining shoppers to other customer care channel, such as email or phone. The longer the way from submission to solution, the more annoyed the customer gets. Allow customers to submit their doubts and questions on the profile and transfer them to your customer care tools on your own.
Once you customer strategy is up and running you have unlimited access to data connected with your shop's operations. You can easily monitor your webshop's well-being and potential shoppers attitude. You can not only check what is not working but also have a general opinion of even not-yet buyers right on your own profile.
Collect and analyze it well, the growth from social media comes from the data it offers and from the relationships it let's you build.
What's your experience with social media for e-commerce sites? How do you handle customer care? Share your thoughts!