IT’S been quite a while since forward thinking companies first recognised the potential of social media to strengthen their customer services.

Let’s face it, in that time Mark Zuckerberg has gone from Harvard skater boy to cardigan-wearing dad.

Not only do online platforms offer continually evolving ways to engage with customers and clients but they also act as the perfect marketing tools for the launch of new services and products.

The reality is, with customer service expectations rising all the time, consumers want a seamless experience that moves from the shop or factory to their Facebook timeline.

It’s all the more strange, then, that some companies haven’t yet seized the opportunities for boosting their brand online.

Well, that’s where you come in! With social media no longer the magical realm understood only by IT geeks and marketing gurus, there are now many customer service roles where you can use your unique, put-people-first talents online to ensure greater customer satisfaction and retention.

Put simply, knowing how social media customer service can take interactions to a higher level puts you in a better position to land new roles.

Learning the craft will strengthen your CV and boost your interview chances.

Where to start? Begin by looking at how your favourite companies use social channels. Which ones are they choosing in order to maximise hits from their target audiences?

Investigate how they might be monitoring these channels.

These days there is a vast range of software programmes companies can use in real time to know whenever a customer says anything about their service.

Next, watch how quickly and how often a company responds to mentions, posts and tweets.

There’s no point in spending time and effort creating an allsinging, all-dancing online presence, with regularly updated content, if a company then ignores feedback or is slow to reply.

It’s like posting your details on an online dating site then ignoring anyone who wants to get in touch.

Customer surveys consistently show the most important thing when visiting a company’s social media page, is to get a direct response to questions, followed by a follow-up with direct access to customer service reps.

They also find that the majority of customers expect a response over social media within the same day.

Responding quickly is not just about being there for customers, it’s all about proactively engaging with your community whenever the opportunity arises.