Businesses are missing out when they fail to engage properly with customer enquiries on Facebook. Social media is great for building relationships and developing a fan base but it seems we often concentrate more on the numbers than the quality of interaction.
A recent example we noted was a popular local company that had managed to build a good following and regularly received enquiries on their Facebook page. These varied from asking for advice to requests for quotes.
The response to these questions?
An automated or standard message that asked these valuable potential customers to contact the company by telephone. It was obvious from just a casual perusal of their Facebook fan page that engagement with customers was minimal and more than likely delivered by a third party agency who had no real idea how to answer specific questions. In other words, there were a lot of queries followed by the same standard reply.
Managing Facebook Enquiries
What businesses need to understand is that enquiries on Facebook are actually potential sales. If you don’t give customers that personal touch then you are, in effect, turning away business. And that’s not the only thing. That automated response is being seen by every person who visits your Facebook page. If you have a number of enquiries and they all have the same or similar response, it’s not going to create the impression that you care about your customers.
It’s the online equivalent of switching on the answering machine.
Managing Facebook Enquiries – Take the personal approach
If a person has taken the time to contact you directly then take a few moments to answer their query personally and, more importantly, fully. Use it to add value to your Facebook page by including important and targeted information that is useful.
For instance, if someone has a problem with your product and posts a comment, don’t simply direct them to your customer service number, give pertinent advice there on the page and help your customer and others solve the problem. If they want a quote then use that opportunity to open a dialogue online to address the customer’s needs and increase the likelihood of getting the business. If you are shy about giving out your prices, then you can reply with a message saying of course you would love to give a quote, ‘I’ll send you a private message’ works wonderfully well. Giving your potential customer personal attention on a one to one basis and protecting your prices from competitors.
The problem with using some agencies to handle your social media is that they manage a number of different accounts and have little detailed knowledge about your business. They deal in volume and don’t care too much about the minutia of your business. That means they are unable to give much more than an automated or standard response. Yes, yes I know – we are an agency, we make sure we get to know our clients business and when it comes to interactions our clients know they will be asked to respond.
To boost the effectiveness of your Facebook page, you or the agency that deals with your account need to be much more personal.
Managing Facebook Enquiries – Step into your customer’s shoes
It may seem like an efficient way to handle your social media presence, but look at it from your customer’s point of view. If the account is being handled at arm’s length then it is effectively not engaging and potential customers will quickly pick up on that. If your page is filled with similar, standardised responses, it sends the message that you don’t care or are not that concerned about what your customer wants or needs.
The counter argument we often hear to this is that Facebook account is a fan page for people to like and admire and not a place for customer service issues or product/service enquiries. To this we say: If you are so successful that you can afford to pass by possible customers and new sales then you are a very lucky business indeed.
Because that is what your Facebook page is. It’s a doorway to more sales. Yes it is also there to raise your profile and give you a better online presence but, in the end, the purpose of that is to attract more business. Isn’t it?
Please don’t forget if you brush your enquiries off, where do you think that potential customer will turn… to the next competitor they spot on Facebook!