photo smspeakers.jpgThere is a certain subtlety to dealing with the intricate and sometimes intimate matters of business, especially customer support. Even as businesses have moved online, what we say, how we say it and how we back up our words becomes the backbone of our business.

The Shadow of Our Words

Since we can’t talk directly to a customer online, our words are more important than ever. Your website is your face. It represents our hard-earned wrinkles and confident expressions which come from years of experience. It lets people know that you are trustworthy and dependable when you can’t show them that with a firm handshake and wise smile. What you say and how you say it will determine your status both with customers and with all-important search engines, both of which will increase your reach and your customer base.

Cheap Talk Will Always Be Cheap

Suppose for instance that I’m an older company, one who’s been around for decades. As the customer support game changes with the emergence of new technologies and social media, I pledge to be on that cutting edge. So I get a Facebook page and Twitter account. I set up a blog and a real time chat window. But when a customer tweets me with a problem, I fail to respond timely or at all. This reflects poorly both on my commitment to serve the customer and to be tech savvy.

Roping ‘Em In and Keeping ‘Em

If your words are your online face, then your content is your soul, so to speak. This is how your customers will judge you. Rather than looking at the slough of social media as an invisible web of hassles, see it for what it is, an ocean of potential customers. Most of these services offer ways to connect with prior contacts, so use that as your basis.

If you don’t think you’ll have time to keep up with all your web presences, delegate. You may already have a Social Media junkie within your organization.

Drawing That Line

Choosing quality content and monitoring our website for consistency is necessary, but reliable customer support is vital. Position your policies in a prominent but non-intrusive place (usually near the bottom, as customers are used to that location).

Be succinct in stating your policies but also thorough enough to leave no room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Most importantly, be careful what claims you make about your capabilities. Customer support comes first, but don’t overextend yourself or promise more than you are willing or able to deliver.

Now that you have the web’s attention, let them know your capabilities: what you have to offer and what you can do for them if something goes wrong. Once customers know that your words carry the weight of a well-oiled, compassionate and thoroughly modern business behind them, they won’t waste time anywhere else.