The Great Expectations of Customer Service: Making Social Media Work for Your Practice
Social media has irreversibly changed the way that business is being conducted. Whether submitting a complaint or comment, consumers in every industry under the sun expect a personalized response from a representative via Facebook or Twitter. In most cases, they expect it within the hour. As attorneys, we are not exempt from this tectonic shift in medium, nor are our law practices immune to the possible rewards an active online presence can deliver. The best way to reach clients, whether current or potential, is to use social media to your advantage. Here are reasons why you should have a good social media presence.
Your Presence Known
Everyone from stand-up comedians to U.S. senators engages the public, minute-to-minute, through Twitter. Live-tweeting an event or public function provides the opportunity for real-time interaction with current and prospective clients. By appending my tweets with the relevant event “hashtag,” I make my voice heard online, using a resource to which millions turn each day for news, informative articles and debate. Letting people know where you are and what you are doing can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. “Checking in” to a conference or luncheon via Facebook broadcasts the doings of your law practice, allowing clients to witness how active you are in the community and city.
Your Voice Heard
Creating a blog has been a boon to my law practice. Doling out a few parcels of free information can attract a grateful prospective client to your office door. Of course, writing the content alone is not always enough in today’s online jungle. In order to stay in fighting form, I advise considering Google AdWords. At the cost of a small fee, your blog (and website, for that matter) can touch the top of Google’s list, ensuring as many eyes see your work as possible.
Answering questions or concerns courteously and publicly will establish your law practice as the solution to a given problem and, therefore, aid in pulling traffic to your doorstep. Should you be contacted through social media, a lightning response time is imperative. Following my general rule, I submit my responses quickly; as research suggests a little under half of the people dealt with online expect to hear back within 60 minutes. Not every comment merits a response (you’ll know it when you see one that doesn’t), but the majority does.
Your Brand Reclaimed
Almost all consumers are affected by the comments of others. Responding in a respectful way, and effectively dealing with the issue at hand strengthen my office’s brand. That being said, it is vital to know when to take a conversation offline. General law topics (like “How long does a temporary visa last?”, or something similar) are generally okay to discuss in a forum like Facebook. But if someone needs legal advice, or otherwise needs to share sensitive information, it is vital to take the conversation out of the public’s eye immediately. In the same light, if a negative review has posts, be sure to address that client privately to amend the issue. Accountability is important for businesses but even more so how we handle the negatively speaks volumes to our customer service.
If we receive a glowing review on Facebook or Twitter, we publicize it in a non-boastful way. For example, if a client tags us in a post on Twitter about a successful case, we may retweet it and say something simple, like “Glad we could be of service!” Sharing a positive review can boost the value of your brand and by doing so has the added benefit of putting the commenter’s name out there. Flattery does get you places.
Find as many relevant smaller social media sites where your practice may be mentioned and introduce your practice. Anywhere appropriate, paste a link to your website’s frequently asked questions page, to encourage customer self-help. That way, once you have found your social media empire, you can manage the growing volume of interactions between you and prospective clients.
Listen to your customers. Respond to them in a timely manner. “WOW” them with great customer service. They will become your word of mouth marketing ambassadors online.
Do you have a customer service strategy for your social media? What has been working for you? I would love to hear, please share in the comments below.