Today I’m pleased to present a guest post by Chris Martin.

As a business owner, you recognize the importance of good customer service. So you provide options for your buyers, offer as many amenities as possible, and get to know what your customers want and need – and do it all with a big smile on your face.

Why not use social media to help you with your goal of improving customer service? Here are a few ways to accomplish this:

Set up a different Facebook page for customer service
. This will impress your customers because they know that you are taking your service seriously enough to create a dedicated page for it. But it also helps you because it allows you to view customer feedback in one place instead of paging through your news feed of messages on your standard business Facebook page. This customer service page can be branded similarly to your main page, but it should also display frequently asked questions as well as complete contact information for customers who have a problem or issue.

Use social media to respond to complaints quickly. Setting up an alert on your Facebook customer service page will notify you when someone has posted a complaint or question. And Twitter’s built-in immediacy will allow you to see a customer complaint as it comes up on your feed. But most importantly, responding quickly lets all of your social media customers know that you value their feedback and are trying hard to provide the best service possible. That in itself will help boost your online reputation.

Use social media to communicate during a crisis. Emergencies happen – like your website or e-commerce site crashing, your supply chain being disrupted, your database being hacked, or even your phone system going down. This is when you can turn to social media to alert customers to what is happening. You can use Twitter, Facebook, or other sites to provide periodic updates about the problem and keep customers informed that you are actively trying to resolve the problem. This will help give your customers peace of mind in the midst of a crisis.

Use social media input for employee training. Not only can social media act as a communication channel for customer service, but it can provide a valuable training resource as well. If you take a few examples of questions, comments, or complaints that were posted by customers on your site, you can show them to your employees and instruct them on how to properly address these issues. Then if your workers are confronted with a similar problem in the future, they will know how to handle it correctly.

Use Facebook metrics (and those on other sites) to gauge customer response. One of the great things about Facebook is that it incorporates impressive business page tools and metrics to help you measure traffic and page views. You can easily see which topics, posts, and marketing initiatives are popular with customers and which ones aren’t. Twitter, MySpace, and other sites have handy metrics as well. Paying attention to them can help you tweak your overall branding and marketing strategies.

When it comes to businesses, social media isn’t just for marketing and community outreach anymore. It can be utilized as a tool to demonstrate your willingness and eagerness to provide your customers with service that exceeds their expectations.

Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites and is also a ghostwriter for several blogs. In addition, he is an accomplished voice actor and an experienced sportscaster. Martin has also worked as a radio DJ, a traffic reporter, and a public address announcer for sporting events – and he actively monitors his online reputation on