“The customer’s perception is your reality.” (Kate Zabriskie)
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” (Bill Gates)
“Kindness and courtesy are at the root of a positive customer service experience.” (Shep Hyken)
These three quotes simply scratch the surface of what customer service means to the success of any business. Customers drive everything, from reviews to social proof to sales to success. And while it would be utterly fantastic to have only 5-star reviews, and only happy customers, that is not always the reality. This is why any business owner works hard to make sure every customer is happy, every time.
Think about the avenues in which you allow your customers to communicate with you when they have an issue. Do they speak to the budtender and hope that there is a manager available? Do they call or email your dispensary incessantly until they get in touch with you? Do they write reviews on Google and Yelp that slam your business to the world? Some of these avenues don’t give you the chance to address your customer’s problem in a manner that reflects your customer service style, which is where social media can come into play.
Using social media as an additional outlet for any unhappy client may seem counter-intuitive…Why would you want to provide yet another avenue for unhappy customers to voice their opinions? There are several reasons that we will quickly cover: First, in our digital age, people have come to expect immediacy. Social media is quickly becoming the ideal platform to voice concerns, post reviews, and have interactions with businesses both near and far. Second, Millennials, (the largest demographic of consumers), don’t want to call and talk to you, sad as that may seem. Millennials want to send you a note or an email and be answered quickly. Third, by answering a client’s concerns for all to see on social media, you have the golden opportunity to showcase your customer service skills while turning unhappy customers into loyal advocates for your cannabis brand.
People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Providing customer service on social media creates the impression that you are on standby; ready and willing to take on your customer’s concerns and make the situation better. You can show that you are willing to go above and beyond, that you are human and sometimes make mistakes, and that you are there for your customers even after the sale has completed. Even if your disgruntled client doesn’t notice, everyone else who visits your site will see the interaction. It’s a prime opportunity to gain new clients by showing that you are someone worth doing business with!
Here are 5 tips so that you can effectively manage customer service via social media:
- Create a Twitter account specifically for customer service. If a customer reaches out for assistance on your main Twitter profile, respond and let them know your customer service department (@YourCustomerServiceTwitterHandle) will contact them. Then, your customer service Twitter department can message the customer directly to help resolve any issue or answer questions. This helps your timeline stay on focus (the focus being how great your cannabis brand is), and shows others that you are willing and ready to help.
- Reply to all reviews, both good and bad. Responding to good reviews is easy, so don’t ignore your 5-star brand ambassadors! You want your happy customers to see that you appreciate their time and business, especially when they have taken the time to point out how great your product is. On the other hand, negative reviews give you the opportunity to chat directly with a customer, apologize, and show them (and everyone else) that you are willing to help. Bad reviews are my favorite, because they give you an inside peek into how your cannabis business may be able to improve. A poor experience may be something you had simply overlooked, or an area where you can further train your staff. Negative reviews also give you a chance to highlight the things that you are doing right. Apologizing for the situation while adding in what you do well doesn’t negate the complaint, but helps other potential clients to see something more positive about your brand.
- Be as responsive as possible. Imagine starting a conversation with someone and they don’t answer until 24 hours later. Annoying, right? Make answering customer service concerns your top priority (or delegate the task to someone who will). This shows again that you care and that you will go the extra mile. Both huge bonuses in the eyes of your customers!
- Be friendly and courteous. The worst thing you can do while working with an unhappy customer is to get defensive. Staying calm when you’ve poured your heart, soul, and energy into your cannabis brand is truly difficult when someone bashes it. It may feel like a personal attack, but rest assured, it’s not. The best thing to do is to take a breath, remain calm, respond politely, and remember that although your business is your livelihood, bad reviews sometimes happen. Your job is to make as many customers as possible happy; while trying to fix any issues that may arise.
- Include a greeting with the person’s name when possible. This helps to create that Human-2-Human interaction that your customers are looking for. The name is also useful if there is ever a dispute in the future as to who you were conversing with. #CYA
We hope these tips help you to thrive in the customer-service world of social media. You can create a truly unique experience for your cannabis clients, while forming bonds with your fans that won’t be broken.