7 Tips to Manage Customer Service on Facebook

Using Facebook as a customer service tool? These tips and tools will help you provide the best customer service.

Facebook can be a valuable customer service tool, and today customers are more likely to write on your Facebook Wall than pick up the phone or send you an email.

When starting out on Facebook, small business ecommerce site owners can usually handle up to several thousand fans on their own with “manual” moderation and commenting.  As your Facebook customer base grows, however, you might need to upgrade to a customer service app to help you stay on top of things.

The following Facebook customer service tips and tools can help you to provide top-notch customer service through this communication channel.

Tip #1: Respond to All Messages Quickly

Customers expect the response time on social networking sites to be much shorter compared to using email, Web forms or phone to contact a business.  To meet customer’s expectation you have to put the time in and monitor your Facebook Page for new comments and be prepared to respond quickly to all discussions and comments.

Tip #2: Respond to All Messages Individually

An auto-responder to let customers know you have received their email is fine, but on Facebook and other social sites you’ll have to move beyond automating the communication process and respond to customers on an individual basis with an individual message. A standard cut-and-paste response on Facebook will not be of value to a customer looking to connect with you.

Tip #3: Solve the Problem Without Redirecting

Customers know how to find your website so don’t redirect them to your site to find an answer to a question they ask on Facebook; always respond to the customer service message in the same channel the customer used to connect with you.  In a case where the customer has a specific order question, respond on Facebook to the question by explaining the action you’ll take, but invite the customer to join you in live chat, phone or email so they can provide the personal information (e.g. order number) that will be required for resolution.

Tip #4: Engage in Conversations with Consumers

Customers don’t join you on Facebook just to ask questions; they will also engage in general discussions with you and other people who use your Facebook Business Page.  Always participate in general conversations -- not just the order and support-related ones. You should also take part in the conversations your customers have with each other.

Tip #6: Be Interesting

It’s not hard to be interesting. Post videos, photos and messages that would be of interest to your Facebook customers. You can discuss general topics that are related to your product and brand or talk about special holiday and promotions.

Tip #6: Ask Questions; Observe the Answer and Respond

Asking customers questions on Facebook is a good way to increase user comments and participation, but this is also an excellent opportunity for you to observe the answers to better your business and brand. If customers respond and voice an opinion to your question, respond to keep the conversation going.

Tip #7: Use a Customer Service App for High Volume

As more customers seek you out on Facebook, you may find it difficult to respond to all comments quickly, and you might also start missing comments as they roll off the Wall on a busy Facebook Business Page. When your Facebook Page gets too busy for manual moderation, then it might be the right time to invest and have a custom Facebook application developed to help you with Facebook customer service.

If a custom app isn’t an option for you (e.g. a small ecommerce business without in-house IT), then you can look at the following third-party applications with small business subscription services and plans to help you manage your Facebook customer service.

1. Assistly lets you control and monitor customer conversations by pulling all customer service conversations -- from email, phone, Facebook and Twitter -- into one place.

2. Get Satisfaction offers a starter package for small businesses that provides moderation tools and customer feedback widgets to help you build your Facebook customer community.

3. UserEcho is a feedback widget that lets you to collect customer responses and ideas. You can respond to your customer feedback, engage in conversation with customers, broadcast and organize the conversations. UserEcho integrates with Facebook and Twitter.

More Facebook Small Business Ecommerce Tips

Looking to get a better handle on integrating Facebook into your small business ecommerce marketing plan? Try these Facebook tips and guides for small business ecommerce sites:

 Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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