how to improve customer service

Online reviews and social media are tools business should use to engage with their customers. They are also serve as fundamental sources of information on how your business can take customer service to the next level.

With reviews and social media, customer service managers and customer support teams have the opportunity to use customer feedback to understand overall and individual sentiment, with an end goal of learning how to improve customer service.

Here are some insights into social customer service and engagement:

This is why it’s important for businesses to stay engaged and be responsive on social media and online review sites.

Why Respond to Negative Feedback?

By responding to negative feedback on social media and online review sites, your business can demonstrate an effort to resolve a complaint or a bad customer experience. This, in turn, can build trust not only with the customer to whom you are responding, but also with other potential customers.

The insights you gain from negative feedback on social media and online reviews can be extremely valuable to the continued improvement of your business. For example: you’re a family physician with extensive experience and qualifications. But you’re not exactly garnering heaps of praise on your Facebook, Doctors.com or Vitals profile.

A closer look at your negative reviews shows that multiple patients complain about the long waiting times in your clinic. To improve the patient experience, you hire a second receptionist and implement an online booking system that helps you, your staff and your patients stay on schedule. You also respond to the negative feedback by reassuring patients that you have addressed the problem.

It’s a classic example of how engagement on social media and online review sites can strengthen your reputation and improve the overall customer experience.

Why Respond to Positive Feedback?

Smart business owners and marketers always find a way to reinforce positive feedback and five-star experiences, especially if customers share these online. Here’s an example of a thoughtful response on Twitter from Dollop Coffee Co. Chicago. The tweet came from a customer who enjoyed his experience but also provided a suggestion:

dollop coffee upset customer post
dollop coffee twitter response

When a customer takes time to leave feedback, acknowledge it and say thank you. By doing so, you are able to create a more meaningful connection with customers, and you can foster a greater level of trust, even if their experiences are, for the most part, already positive. It’s not a coincidence that brands that excel in customer service are those that effectively connect with and inspire trust in people.

Do Customers Expect Social Media & Review Site Responses?

Successful service teams respond quickly on social media and online review sites. Not doing so can hurt your reputation in the eyes of customers, who have their own expectations whenever they leave feedback.

According to a study by ReviewTrackers, 51.7% of consumers expect a response within seven days or less. Approximately 1 in 4 expect a review response within three days, and 21% expect to hear back from the business within 24 hours.

review trackers response time graphic

A similar study by Convince & Convert found the timeline on social media to be even stricter with 42% of consumers who communicate with a business through social media expect a response from the company within one hour or less, including on weekends.

“Answer every customer, in every channel, every time,” advised Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert. “This is much different than how most businesses interact with customers (especially online), which is to answer some complaints, in some channels, some of the time.”

How to Improve Customer Service by Responding to Feedback

Know where they’re talking. To be able to respond to customer feedback, you must first know where your customers are talking. If you truly want to know how improve customer service, ask yourself where the social comments are happening. Are they on Facebook? Yelp? Twitter? TripAdvisor? Make sure you have your bases covered by claiming your business listing on all relevant social media channels and review sites.

Have a system in place. Once you understand where customers share their feedback, make a plan for how you’re going to respond. Start by setting a reasonable response time and assigning one person on your team who will take the leadership role in managing customer feedback.

Resolve issues. Ensure your responses are resolution-driven. For example, if a customer wrote a negative review about a rude waitress at your restaurant, have your management team talk directly with the wait staff. After all, good customer service is more than just having social media savvy or online reputation management skills. It’s about making things right.

Reinforce the positive. If your business receives great feedback, show the customer your appreciation. Find a way to reinforce what they loved most about the customer experience and don’t hesitate to invite them back to your business location. Here’s a good example set by the manager of Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana in Colorado.

delish online response example

Ask what you can do better. For every business, there is always room for improvement. If a customer wrote a positive review, but rated you with only four stars out of five, you might want ask the customer what can your business do better? What can you do to make the experience even better next time? Doing so publicly—that is to ask on social media and online review channels—demonstrates your commitment to delivering the best possible service.

Engage with your customers online by using these tips so you know how to improve customer service at your business. Feedback provided in online reviews and social media are essential tools that should be utilized to the fullest extent.

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