Responding to customers and potential clients on social media is an important component of customer service in the digital era. If you’re a small shop with only a few employees or a home-based business where you’re the only person handling all the tasks, you don’t always have time to sit in front of your computer and tend to messages on Facebook or mentions on Twitter. If you’re out on the shop floor fixing a thread break or washing out screens, you obviously don’t have the ability to run back to the office and respond to a customer’s comment.
While you can’t be in two places at once, one solution to this digital dilemma is taking advantage of mobile push notifications. These notifications are customizable alerts that platforms like Facebook and Twitter can send to your phone, based on your preferences. You can go “all-in” with these notifications, which isn’t ideal if you’re trying to maintain a busy shop, or customize these alerts so you only get a notification for important updates. These would be updates for things like a customer sending you a direct message, someone commenting on your Facebook page’s wall, a customer posting a review, or, in the case of Twitter, someone mentioning your business’s name in a conversation.
You can customize timeframes of when you want to receive notifications on many apps so you’re not getting alerts at all hours of the night. If you take a few minutes to explore the settings menu on your phone, both Android and iOS devices usually have a “do not disturb” mode you can engage for a specified time frame (like 10 p.m.–7 a.m. so you can get a full night's sleep). Some times this approach is even easier since it bypasses having to go through every individual app and changing your settings.
These push notifications won’t eliminate the issue of limited time and manpower, but they will at least provide you with a more portable way of interacting with your customers. Clearly posting your business hours on any of your social media pages will also help some of your customers realize that they may need to wait until you open up shop at 8 a.m. for you to respond to their 2 a.m. message asking for a quote on custom printed baseball jerseys.