The Scalability of Being Responsive

The idea of using social media channels to address customer service issues is a no-brainer. It certainly benefits the brand, and consumers expect it. When they see a brand with a Facebook Page, Twitter account or other social presence, they expect to have their questions, comments and concerns directed to the brand responded to.

This is a best practice. Neglecting to respond to consumers is no different than ignoring a customer who walks up to the counter and directly asks a question. Creating a social presence establishes an unspoken contract that you are there to support customers.

It’s fairly straightforward to live by this principle when a community is just getting started and a following is being created. However, what happens when the community really starts to grow? The Facebook Page Likers grow exponentially, Twitter followers shoots up and so on.

When a Best Practice Become Overwhelming

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by customer inquiries directed within a brand community. Perhaps, a recall takes place or your product or service naturally generates customer service-related questions.

Brands can get inundated with requests from consumers, and addressing every request can become impossible very quickly.

Preparing for Success

Success comes at a cost. The bigger your brand presence, the more attention the community will likely require, but this isn’t an excuse to ignore consumers. No matter the size, brands still owe consumers solutions to their problems, which means setting the brand up for success.

Customer Service Buy-in Early: Customer service should be brought in at the very beginning of social media strategy development. Establish a process with them and cross-train. They can teach the principles of customer service, while those executing social media can teach the principles of social media marketing. Ultimately, this builds a strong social customer service team from the very beginning, making scalability more efficient.

Response protocol: Align on the context of when to respond and not to respond. How long will you wait? What questions can be answered online? What needs to be handled offline? Understand when, what and how you will respond before issues arise.

Don’t do it alone: A brand’s community is likely where its most passionate advocates aggregate, which means it isn’t always necessary for the brand to respond. Advocates may field each other’s questions on their own. Invite the community to answer questions and contribute thoughts and ideas early on to set the precedent.

Aggregate responses when possible: If certain questions are asked over and over again, address them on an FAQ, create a YouTube video or write about it on the company blog. In other words, kill two (or more) birds with one stone. Answer the question once and direct the community to the answer.

Any other thoughts on how to avoid being overwhelmed?