Social media has begun to evolve from a marketing platform and has become more of an interactive customer service platform. This has raised an awareness of the need for companies to have social customer service skills within the organisational structure of their brand. Social media marketing and social customer service need to mesh so that companies can create an online presence that will allow them to handle their customer service issues promptly.
The best way to accomplish this goal is for hotels to start seeing social media as a means of Hospitality Marketing as well as providing customer care. That way, they will be able to offer customer service and engagement across all of their social channels.
Customers Sharing Problems on Social Media
Customers have started to share their booking enquiries, questions and complaints on social media more and more in recent times, both before they book the trip and after. Many customers have used Facebook and Twitter to voice their concerns and seek answers – it is important for hotels to pay attention to this. Also, these comments and questions should be answered by the hotel rather than the marketing department.
Hotels should have their customer service departments involved in social media, reaching out to those who are communicating via Facebook and Twitter and ensuring that they have a positive experience. The hotels can put together a team of dedicated personnel to manage their engagement and issues on social media – the more experience they have in this realm the better.
The Traits of a Successful Customer Care Campaign
In order for the hotel’s customer care campaign on social media to be successful, the representatives will need to be knowledgeable. They will need to answer specific questions about the hotel, such as whether or not it is handicapped accessible or pet friendly. The representatives should also have a lot of knowledge about the local area, such as whether there are great family friendly restaurants nearby.
Customer care agents should respond to questions and comments as promptly as possible. Prompt response times will show your customers that your hotel cares about their concerns and will avoid the risk of them giving up and choosing another hotel. Fast response times will also build brand loyalty.
Another important aspect of the campaign is that customer care agents should have the ability to make things right with customers, especially when they have complaints. Any complaints that customers raise online should be addressed in a straightforward way and there should be a process for reconciling the issue and compensating the customer.
Of course, another very important factor in a successful customer service campaign on social media is associates who are authentic and compassionate. They should be able to respond to customer complaints in a friendly and human way and provide personal communication. Allowing customer service representatives to let their own personality come across in their communications is essential to achieving this. If customer care representatives are only allowed to respond in a scripted and prescribed way they end up sounding like robots.
Social Media is No Longer Just a One Way Street
Social media has become more than just a medium for hotels to send out notifications and advertisements about what they have to offer. These days it is important that it becomes a dialogue, so that there can be an interaction between the hotel and their customers. Customers need to have a way to share their thoughts and experiences, ask questions and voice their concerns. It is important that hotels know how to respond to these inquiries and criticisms so that they can address the concerns and improve the reputation of the hotel online.
Not only will these customer care skills improve the hotel’s online reputation, it will also solve a lot of customer service problems. The image of the hotel will improve on third party review sites and there will be a growing base of social media champions who will be singing the praises of the hotel.
The more a hotel embraces social media for interaction, the more it will gain an advantage over its competitors. With social media growing faster than ever, there has never been a better time for a hotel to take a close look at this aspect of their business.