When you think of customer service or customer support, does social media come to mind? It should! In previous decades it often referred to a customer speaking directly to another human, whether that was in person or on the phone. The matter was dealt with relatively privately until it was resolved (or not, in some cases). Either way, private was the keyword, with the exception of some word-of-mouth communication.
Today, the customer service experience is not so straightforward. Customers can use private messages, Twitter accounts, Facebook reviews, and negative comments in an attempt to seek customer service on social media. In other words, this information is mostly out there for the public to see and can easily smear your business’ good name. Depending on what is said and the circumstances, companies risk certain situations going viral and receiving negative press. This means that you will need eyes and ears monitoring your social media channels regularly.
Why Should You Provide Social Customer Service?
Social media marketing is a part of almost every business in today’s internet-crazed world. But it’s not just about promoting your business, though it can be tempting to solely use it for this purpose.
Today, 72% of adults use at least some type of social media channel. Additionally, a majority of these individuals are using these channels daily or weekly. Among Facebook users, 74% use the channel daily while 63% of Instagram users find themselves on the app daily. So it’s no surprise that users feel more comfortable seeking out assistance directly on their favorite channels.
If social media is where your customers are seeking support, you should take the communication cues and engage with customers where they want to be heard. Social customer service can be easy as answering questions and comments but it can also become more complex, needing a situation to be remedied. It's important to be prepared for any type of situation that can arise.
Improve Customer Service on Social Media
If you’re looking to improve your customer service, here are 4 ways to accomplish this on your social media accounts:
- Set yourself up for success
With social media management added to the mix, your customer service team can look completely different. Depending how large your company is and how often you receive messages or comments on social media, you may need an employee or two whose job it is to own social listening. Additionally, you’ll need to decide what tools you’ll use to monitor your various channels. Using an all-in-one tool like Sprout Social, for example, could save you a lot of time versus manually checking all channels on a constant basis.
- Create Response Templates
Once you’ve decided the ‘who’ and ‘with what’ part of the process, it’s time to figure out the ‘how.’ While your responses should be as unique as possible, it’s a good idea to create at least a few templates that outline how your team will respond to customers. This way, everyone is on the same page when it comes to how various situations should be handled and responded to.
Templates will also empower your team to take action right away, without having to wait for a response from another team member. This is especially useful in the case of a minor issue that needs to be handled right away. In conjunction with templates, be sure to create the protocols that will be used on common and code red situations.
- Decide on set times to monitor
Response time is key when it comes to any type of customer service. The same rings true when it’s happening on social media. Direct messaging on social channels are often close to instant messaging, so users are expect fast responses. Waiting several days to respond to a customer inquiry just won't cut it. It might not be practical to have someone constantly checking your social channels for mentions of your company name, however there should be specific times set aside each day to ensure this is done. This will help keep you ahead of the game should a major issue arise.
- Be consistent
This one is important. Even though there will inevitably be times where you might not receive many (or any) messages or comments that need responses, it's still important to be consistent in social listening. You don't want to develop a reputation for ignoring customers and not resolving issues. This can cause current and potential customers to lose trust in your business. No trust = no sales.
How companies use social media to improve customer service will vary depending on the type of business, how big the business is, the industry, and other factors. In general, certain businesses who regularly interact with customers might see more opportunities to provide social customer service compared to a business who provides a one-off service.
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