If you really want to make a good impression on your customers you should take their customer service experience to a whole new level. We live in a world of instant gratification.

People don’t want to wait on the phone for the next available representative and forget about those robot IVRs that have you pressing this number or that number to get to the right department.

Don’t even get me started on the automated systems that ask you to verbally request which department you want and then the darn thing can’t recognize what you’re saying anyways.

The days of calling a call center representative is starting to become a thing of the past.

Everyone is relying on social media to reach out to their customers both for marketing purposes and to provide customer service.

And it’s even better for customers because they can contact the companies they need right when they need to.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, right?

You wouldn’t think so but this can have a positive and a negative affect and today I’d like to take a look at both instances.

The Positive Side of Customer Service in Social Media

If a customer has a situation going on and you can help them instantly, not only do you earn their trust and their business but they will always recommend you to their friends and family or anyone else in their circles.

And guess what? The story of how you helped them will be told every time your name is mentioned.

How do I know? Been there, done that.

When I was in the middle of switching to a self-hosted WordPress blog I couldn’t decide on a hosting provider. A friend of mine told me about one and tagged the company during one of our twitter exchanges.

Low and behold a representative from that hosting company replied and reassured me that they would be there to help me through it all.

I replied with a thank you and added a tag of my own to spread the word and show the world how helpful they were.

I signed up with that hosting company, and have been with them ever since.

The Negative Side of Customer Service in Social Media

Just as fast as the praises can come in, so can the rants, slams, and negative comments.

As quickly as a customer will thank you for an awesome product or excellent customer service, others can also say nasty things about your company.

And on social media nasty things tend to spread quicker than compliments.

Customers will use social media to ask questions about your products or services.

As well they will use it when they have specific issues that require your support.

And how a company handles these situations can make or break a company’s reputation. But even a bad situation can turn into a good one with a positive outcome.

How to Provide The Best Customer Service On Social Media

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to providing the best customer service on social media.

Call center Customer Service Reps have been doing this for years.

Just follow the same steps as a Representative would do if he or she worked in a call center.

Here’s what they would do:

Immediately acknowledge the customer to let them know you’ve read their message.

Apologize for the inconvenience.

Reassure the customer they will receive the help they are looking for.

Ask questions to get an idea of exactly what the customer needs.

Offer a solution to their problem.

Follow up to make sure their issue is completely resolved.

And whatever you do, do not get into a heated exchange with customers.

If they are ranting and carrying on, take control of the conversation by reassuring them that you are there to help, and then continue to ask questions so that you can resolve their issue.

Always use a pleasant and professional tone, and if insulted, do not take it personally.

Remember you are working at earning every customer’s trust, and your online conversation can and will be read by more than just the customer you are helping at that given moment.