If we get bad customer service online, we vote with our feet. We stop doing business with the company in question, or take action against it. We call it out on Facebook, Twitter and (in the famous case of United Airlines) we notoriously write songs about it.  

Although most brands use social media to market themselves, relatively few provide really excellent customer service.

Here are my top five tips for getting customer service right on Facebook…

There’s a great infographic here about the steps we take when we’ve had
bad customer service, and how brands can counter those steps. (And you
can’t beat a good infographic.)

And yet, while just about every brand now uses social media to market
themselves, relatively few provide really excellent customer service on
social channels.

In the US, AT&T is being held up by Facebook as a case study on how
to use the social network for customer service. An important part of
this is the dialogue that Facebook facilitates. AT&T has created a
customer care app on Facebook, and has invested in monitoring what
people are saying.

ASOS has a dedicated customer service channel on Facebook (ASOS Here to
Help
) which is used to respond to issues quickly and take customer
service discussions off the main Facebook page.

BT and Dell, of course, have support community on Facebook that allows
customers to self-serve and ask the community for support, as well as
contact the brand direct. Presumably this relieves pressure on contact
centres.

Five tips for getting customer service right on Facebook:

  1. Listen to what people are saying about you on Facebook and other
    social channels. It’ll help you spot issues and resolve them; and it’ll
    tell you what your customers love and hate (which can inform product
    development).
  2. Create a dedicated Facebook app or tab to deal with customer
    service issues. It’ll stop your main page getting clogged up with
    complaints and issues.
  3. If you’re going to do customer service on Facebook, do customer
    service on Facebook.
    Don’t create a ‘Talk to us! We’d love to hear your
    experiences!’ page and then leave comments there to rot.

    Resource it
    properly, with people who are authorised to take action. I’m amazed by
    the number of brands who still staff their Facebook pages with interns.

  4. Don’t be afraid to let customers talk to each other. Sometimes
    they’ll be able (and willing) to help each other out.

    But check they’re
    telling each other the right things and recognise and acknowledge the
    efforts of useful contributors 

  5. Respond quickly and appropriately. There’s nothing like posting
    identical corporate responses to everyone who comments on your wall to
    get the community into a spin.

    Apologise if you’ve got something wrong,
    and put it right.

I’d be really interested to hear good (and bad) experiences that Econsultancy readers have had with brands on Facebook…