Alaska Small Business Development Center

The Growing Importance of Facebook as a Customer Service Tool

July 1, 2016

The easiest way to know you have an angry customer? Check your business’s Facebook page. Chances are someone has posted to your page to express their dissatisfaction. In fact, Forbes reports that 67% of consumers have used a brand’s social media presence to get a customer service response.

Customers are learning that one of the most effective ways to get a fast, favorable outcome to their issue is to reach out publically via social media. There are a few ways you can embrace this growing change and increase your customer service for your clients. There are also a few “don’ts” that you should keep in mind. For example:

  • Never delete a disgruntled customer post. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule (excessive foul language, posts that have nothing to do with your company or your product, truly ‘Troll’ posts, etc.). Always ask yourself how you will justify deleting a post before doing so. If you can’t come up with a good reason, respond to it instead.keyboard-155722_1920
  • Never fire back. We’ve all had it happen. You remember the particular person who left that poor review and the situation vividly. Perhaps you even went home and shared a very different account of what happened with your significant other. Regardless of the situation, your business’s Facebook page is not the place to let them know exactly what you think of them. It might get your business some press, but we guarantee it won’t be the good kind. Just ask Amy’s Baking Company.

The great news is that it’s fairly easy to respond the right way. Follow these straightforward tips to make sure your customers are happy!

  • Answer Quickly

stop-watch-396862_1920Make sure you have a tool that will notify you whenever someone posts to your page or sends you a message. Downloading Facebook’s Pages tool for mobile devices is the easiest way to make sure you know when someone posts right when they do it.

  • Personalize Your Response

Don’t use a form response to customer posts. A quick scan of your page could turn off potential customers who crave a personal response to their issues. Use a conversational tone and your name as a reminder that you are a person, not just a business. If you’re the owner, make sure they know that too. It shows that you really care about your customers!

  • Own Your Mistakes

Did the customer catch you on a bad day? Maybe you were out of stock, posted incorrect information or your POS system crashed. Regardless of the issue, sorry goes a long way!

  • Use Facebook Messenger

Facebook has updated their messenger tool to make it easier for small businesses to use it as a customer service tool. There are form responses you can customize and send to customers, an indicator to show when you’re offline (you know, during the 3 or 4 hours you sleep!) and the ability to archive completed conversations. You can now work towards a “very responsive to messages” badge for your Facebook page by having at least a 90% response rate and a median response time of 5 minutes. Response rates and times are based only on your Page’s first reply in a conversation, not follow-up messages in that same conversation that day. Learn more about response rates and times on Facebook’s help page.


Written by Lauren Riley, Director of Community Engagement for the Alaska SBDC

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