Established companies like Apple and Amazon have their own dedicated customer service center to cater to customers’ problems.
However, if you’re just starting, social media can provide everything you need for customer service. Social media channels are great since:
- almost everyone in the world uses them today,
- you can chat seamlessly with customers on social media.
Your social media strategy shouldn’t just be your social media marketing. It should also indicate how to process customer complaints on social media platforms. Here are six tips you can follow for a stellar social media customer service.
1. Run a social media audit
Before you invest some time and resources into a social customer service system, there are some key pieces of information you should know:
What social media platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) are you receiving customer queries on?
What is the nature of these queries? Are they public Twitter tweets tagging and mentioning your brand? Are they commenting on a Facebook ad?
Or are users sending you a private message?
Determine these streams and position your customer service in front of these social platforms’ channels.
Do your customer service agents use a live chat knowledge base to answer customer inquiries? If so, does it reflect common customer questions?
How would you know what social media platforms your customers are using? This is more of a digital marketing concern than a customer service issue. But assuming your marketing team has done things right — meaning they’ve done their due market research and placed their ads well, one key thing to know is that wherever your marketing efforts are, your customer service should be too.
If you’re running Facebook ads, your Facebook page should be answering customer queries.
The next auditing measure you should implement is searching for customer issue statements. Where are social media users venting their frustrations?
Have you checked if your Facebook inbox is dumped with customer issue tickets? More importantly, have you checked your brand mentions on Twitter?
Once you know where your customers are and what forms customer queries and complaints take, this will allow your brand to craft a fully-functioning customer experience system for optimal social media customer support.
2. Establish best practices for responses
Customers can be demanding. But as people and representatives of the company, we should show restraint and be respectful to the best of our abilities to so-called “Karens” and entitled customers. Correctly mediate communication between your company support rep and people who need an answer.
Be Empathetic, Helpful, and Polite
Your customer comes up to you with a genuine problem. Show empathy by telling them that you’re sorry that they’re experiencing the said problem.
Assure your customers that you’ll help them solve their problems as long as they’re willing to work with you. Create quality guest posts, along with internal resources, that you may link frustrated customers to for common industry concerns.
Finally, be polite.
Address your customer how they want to be addressed. Show maximum resistance to any offense you may take from the altercation.
Determine your Off Hours
You don’t have to be responding ’round the clock for decent social media customer support. Set customer expectations by telling them what hours you’re online instead of having them deal with 8-hour response times due to offline hours.
Set up an automated response during these off-hours, letting them know what time they can expect you to be back online. As seen above, the Diamond R Store & Cafe in Texas displays their off-hours on their Facebook page.
Have Your Employees Introduce Themselves
Humanize your company by introducing your actual people to help each loyal customer.
This gives your social media customer care a name that your customers can comfortably vent to. Shown above is a Facebook Business support representative introducing themselves as Gerry.
Use FAQs and Set Up An Automated Response for Each
This isn’t just for your customers to get an immediate response to commonly asked questions. It also lets your customer service team focus on more challenging queries.
For Meta’s social channels – Instagram and Facebook, you can set the commonly asked questions as buttons and have the appropriate response to that FAQ appear once the user clicks on those buttons. Shown above is a fast food restaurant’s FAQ menu.
You can have an information center and a knowledge base on your website. Have the URL for this knowledge base on your business’s social media account page. You can also create internal guest posts on common industry concerns which you may link customers to depending on their issue.
3. Use a chatbot
If you can’t handle the amount of customer service requests coming your way, instead of looking to hire more customer support representatives, assess the type of queries first. Are they the type chatbots can handle, or are they online customer engagement that needs an actual person to solve?
Chatbots provide intelligent, automated responses to customers based on FAQs. Using natural language processing and artificial intelligence, they automate answering commonly-asked questions to inquirers so that your customer service can focus on fixing more complex issues.
Chatbots also lessen the use of a canned response, making your customer service appear more genuine but with less human input.
If the unhappy customer still insists on talking with an actual human, the chatbot can redirect the complainant to one of your customer service agents.
As AI improves by the day, you can expect chatbots to keep improving when it comes to satisfying customers. You may want to look at implementing one for your social media accounts now.
4. Track your social media mentions
Knowing the common things people say about your brand will be helpful for your customer service reps, allowing them to craft appropriate quick responses. This can be useful when empathizing with the frustrated customer.
Once you track negative tweets and comments, get your social media managers to respond to these posts, or train your customer service to utilize social media in their workflow. Shown above is Best Buy Support giving a support line and responding emphatically to a frustrated customer.
This practice also drives away a bad perception from those who may see the raving social media post. Considering how long it takes to see SEO results, your brand may not immediately get a bad rep from frustrated customer posts.
One of the biggest marketing mistakes a brand can make is to ignore bad customer reviews.
How To Track Social Media Mentions?
There are various tools and software that you can use to track mentions across social media. This tracking can do a lot in the name of excellent customer service.
You can use a social media monitoring tool to track your mentions, such as negative comments and tweets, on various social channels. Look for brand hashtags and mentions, even outside of the social media your brand operates in, to get an idea of what people are saying about your brand.
Make sure to search for misspellings of your brand name too. Scour the web for statements that put your brand name (and misspellings of your brand name) in the same statement with words such as “bad,” “worst,” “you just lost a customer,” “terrible,” etc.
5. Add a separate account for customer support
There are many reasons people visit your company’s social media page. Product queries and business operating hours are only some of the general queries your business is likely to get. It might be best if your business’s primary social media page handled the general queries from potential customers, and then a support page handles the problems and concerns of loyal customers.
You can see below how Best Buy takes this approach. Aside from the main Best Buy Twitter account that promotes the latest products, the brand also maintains a separate support account to receive and respond to customer queries.
Source: Best Buy / Best Buy Support
Your marketing and sales teams should focus on handling your business’s primary social media page and give your customer support team their own page. This page will serve as your channel for customer service. Separating general queries from customer complaints is like segregating recyclables from non-recyclables — they save a lot of time and energy to filter through.
This will also be easier on your customers since they’ll know where to go for complaints. Just be sure that your customer support page’s name is indicative of an official support page, having the company name in the support page’s title.
6. Measure your results
You should know when the processes you’ve implemented are working or not.
Customer satisfaction surveys at the end of a session are one valuable way of measuring the effectiveness of your customer service strategy. There are a few ways of gathering customer service strategy reviews:
- Integrate these review processes into your social messaging platform of choice.
- Use email services to immediately reach out to customers who have had their concerns addressed in a survey form, asking them about their satisfaction.
- Measure the average response time from your company, customer satisfaction with customer support, your net promoter score, the customer call resolution rate, and customer retention — the last one being the most important.
Social media customer service isn’t new. There are tools that have been developed to cater to customers’ issues over different social media platforms.
These include Facebook chatbots, management tools such as Sprout Social, and Meta’s direct message monitor that allow you to assign conversations to different customer service team members.
Social media monitoring tools, such as Hashtagify and Brand24, allow you to track what people are saying about your brand. By knowing what your customers are saying about your brand, you can create social media content that addresses customer concerns and elevates their experience.
Social media is not just an additional sales channel or advertising platform. It is your first and most important touchpoint with your customers.Treating your social media accounts accordingly will give you a competitive advantage and boost your brand’s reputation.