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Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

Social Media 19th Nov 2014

Hi. A recent study found that travel passengers are 56% more likely to complain than the users of any other service. With that in mind, let’s take a look at social media as a customer service tool for the travel industry.

First off is discover. Social media is a great two-way street to discover what people are saying about your brand. It helps you to get involved in conversations with anyone in the world. A lot of the time, though, people might not want to hear from your brand. A great way to start conversations with people and to find out those people who do want to hear from you is to look for mentions or groups talking about your brand across social media. You can join communities on Google+ or groups on Facebook and really get to know what people think and what people are saying about your brand and topics to do with your industry.

Secondly, inform. Social media is a great tool to inform your users of what’s happening with your brand. If your site is experiencing downtime or if you’re having any issues that will affect your users, let people know on social media, respond to queries and tell people what’s going on, keep them updated as regularly as possible, and don’t leave people hanging. If someone’s asked a question that you don’t understand how to answer, do your research and let them know that you’ll come back to them with an answer as soon as possible.

Thirdly, language. How you respond to someone on social media can make or break your brand. Whilst you might think that humour is a great idea and you might want to type out a witty response, customer service is not something that should be taken lightly, and if someone takes something the wrong way, it could wreck their opinion of your brand forever. On the other end of the scale, you don’t want to just reply with a generic, robotic response of we’ve heard your query, and we’ll get back to you whenever. Personalise each response to each user and tailor it to what the user actually wants to hear.

Last but not least, fail upwards. If something has gone wrong or if you’ve done something, or if users are complaining about something, use that information to make your brand better. Record what people are complaining about and track how you’ve dealt with it to improve your service and your brand as a whole. People are always going to hear about the negatives, but they hardly ever hear about the good customer service. That’s the kind of customer service you want to display.

One great example of this is how negatives can be turned into a positive opportunity. A fantastic example obviously is the Low Cost Holidays/Thomas Cook situation, which happened back in 2012. A man wrote to Thomas Cook via social media complaining that, because his name was also Thomas Cook, he received years of abuse and emotional trauma from people who kept taking the mickey out of him. With this in mind he had asked for reimbursement from Thomas Cook in the form of a holiday of some sort. They didn’t respond in an appropriate way, but Low Cost Holidays, another travel agency, did. They noticed the man’s plight and got back to him, offering him a free trip to Paris. This was hardly any expense on their part and gave them a wealth of earned media and free coverage, a fantastic opportunity from a negative win.

So to summarise, keep an eye out for people who are talking about your brand. Join communities. Be active and responsive and use the correct and personalised language.

I’ve been Harry Gardner. Thanks ever so much for watching, and if you’d like to find out more about any kind of social media management, feel free to check out our site and the links at the end of this video.

Harry Gardiner
About the author

Harry Gardiner

    At a statuesque 98ft tall (or 6ft 7”, whatever) Harry’s head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to social media. He’s also got mad DJ skills and is a lover of Pugs, bacon and if you tell him you haven’t seen a certain movie, he will make you watch it. You’ve been warned.

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