By Rudi Massyn for Bizcommunity

I still consult with companies every day that have lengthy procedures on how to deal with telephonic or email complaints and queries, but when asked who handles their social media or website interaction, some still have no clue.
It is equally important, if not more. You see in the digital sphere it is not only the client complaining or enquiring that can see his or her complaint, but your entire community. And, if this engagement is left unanswered it reflects poorly on your customer service capacity and will haunt your digital presence for a long time. The internet has a photographic memory.

Often, especially in larger organisations, customer service deals with complaints, but marketing deals with the website and social media.

Policy in action

So, step 1 is to definitely to put a policy in action. If you are the head of a large organisation’s marketing department get a hold of your customer services manager and between the two of you list current customer interaction protocols. Dedicate a person or team that will take responsibility for communicating the social media and website enquiries to a customer service consultant.

Ideally it would be beneficial to promote a customer services consultant with a good understanding of social media to handle this responsibility.

A timeline should also be determined. All responses should be dealt with within 48 hours of the comment being posted to your digital profiles.

Style guide

You need to determine the language in which this communication will take place. Social media is a lot less formal, but for a corporate company it can be difficult to come across as genuine when using this language. Therefore, a very short uncomplicated style guide is a very good idea. Listing words to avoid and phrases and hashtags to promote.

Communication flow. Establish it immediately. Categorising responses and ensuring the queries get forwarded to the correct person or department.

Finally, staff as a general rule you should accept that all your staff are social and that at some point they will be promoting or engaging about your brand on their profiles. It is best to seal with the situation on a case by case basis. For smaller companies it is easier to control, but for larger company’s it can get out of hand. Sally snapping picks of Billy dancing naked at the Christmas party and then tagging your company is most probably not the best PR you can come up with.