How to use social media to enhance customer service

Social media has become an integral part of many people's daily lives. A recent post from Harvard Business Review found people younger than 35 spend nearly four hours per day on social media--time which is increasingly spent interacting with brands. And out of all the industries included in Twitter's customer service data, tweets aimed at healthcare organizations grew by the highest percentage (132 percent) between March 2013 and February 2015.

What's more, Facebook and Twitter are no longer just marketing tools, but an extension of businesses' customer relationship management. The percentage of people who use social media channels to communicate customer service issues has exploded across age groups, according to HBR, adding that a recent analysis from McKinsey & Company revealed 30 percent of social media users prefer this method to complaining by phone.

The companies using these trends most successfully are not just addressing problems they learn about after the fact, but also watching for warning signs of dissatisfaction and responding to them proactively. Nearly 40 percent of companies are missing these opportunities, however, by not responding to customer-service requests on Twitter at all.

Although it can be time-consuming to keep up with social media interactions, there are shortcuts practices can deploy to keep the dialogue alive. This advice goes for responding to favorable comments as well, noted a post from Inc.

"If you want to make the most of your campaign, you should make an effort to talk to anyone willing to talk to you," wrote Inc. blogger Ed Zitron. "Your first social media campaigns especially as a new company will often be with only a few people, and you want to make sure they feel welcome. If a post's getting comments, respond to it and have a conversation with the people inside."

To learn more:
- read the post from HBR
- read the post from Inc.