Time to Buzz the Customer Service Tower

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Maverick, Goose, Iceman, Viper, Jester… Navy pilot call-signs are a lot like a social media avatar or handle. They are our online personas and represent us to others without having to give away personal details if we don’t want them to. I’ve adopted some favorites for when I play games online. I even went through a name change on Twitter that some companies still can’t seem to get straight. You won’t find any 2 handles that are exactly the same, like a pilot’s call-sign. Here’s what else Top Gun knew about social media and Customer service.

Viper: In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this plaque.

Everyone wants to be the best. If you know who the best is you can learn from them to add your name to the list. Look for formal rankings (JD Power as an example) and informal lists (Top 1% Kred or high Klout scores). Whether you are just starting in social media, or an old pro, never stop looking for ideas and best practices from industry leaders to improve your ranking. Once you are on the list, others will start learning from you.

Viper: Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team. They are not flexible, nor am I. Either obey them or you are history. Is that clear?

This is more important now than ever. Have a code of conduct in place for yourself, your team, and your employees. Know how you want your social voice to be heard by your Customers. Do you want it to be soft and inviting or harsh and full of industry jargon? Know your audience. Likewise, make sure your employees know what is acceptable conduct in their personal social space. Some industries are more regulated than others and even seemingly innocent statements can cause harm to the business.

Maverick: You don’t have time to think up there. If you think, you’re dead.

This is a common misconception. Although many Customers reach out on social media channels because of the speed they are answered, that does not mean you have to ignore the basics of Customer service. Make sure you think through your response. Does it answer the Customer’s question? Most Customers want correct information in a reasonable amount of time than wrong information given too quickly.

Maverick: Talk to me, Goose.

Customers are your social co-pilots. Talk to them, but don’t talk at them. Engage in conversations and build the relationship. Social media is a great place to build brand ambassadors and tribesmen. Like a good flight crew, a trusting relationship is important and can take time to build, but it will pay dividends in the end.

Stinger: [to Maverick after the last dogfight] How’s it feel to be on the front page of every newspaper in the English-speaking world, even though the other side denies the incident? Congratulations.

Social media is very, very, public. You can make headlines for doing things right, or doing them wrong. Make sure you have processes in place to deal with both types of hype. Social media can put your brand under intense scrutiny that you should be ready for.

Quotes found here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092099/quotes

Image © 1986 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.

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