Tweet something to Starbucks and you’ll experience great social media customer service in real-time!
Social media support is no longer a luxury addition. It is a must-have for businesses that look forward to growing today! In fact, a survey stated that 90% of businesses would have started offering social media customer support in some way by the end of 2020.
Also, 1 out of 3 consumers prefers customer support over social media rather than telephonic conversations or emails!
The Reason? It’s quick, personalized and easy to reach out to as well!
Okay. Let’s say you’re offering social media support already! But if you fail to do it right, you end up doing more harm than good. Frustrated customers can lead to increased churn rates and a bad online reputation.
Assuming we’re right, you’re here to know how you can offer great social customer support to your customers. Consider it settled then!
In this blog, we’ve come up with the seven best social media support practices that’ll help build a great relationship with your customers!
But before that, let’s quickly look at the importance of social media in customer service and how it benefits your business!
Benefits and Importance of Social Media Customer Service
If it’s a 1 – 10 scale of importance, we’d rate social media support all 10! Having better social customer support can deliver great benefits to your business!
Here are a few statistics that tell you how important social media customer service is!
An approximate 67% of today’s consumers seek resolutions via Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media platforms.
Consumers are likely to spend 20-40% more on your business if you engage & respond to them via social media.
There’s a 71% chance that a consumer will recommend your brand to others provided you deliver great social media customer service experiences.
Responding to social media complaints can increase brand advocacy by up to 25%.
That’s enough statistics. In case you need more, you can find it on this infographic. The point to be taken is, you cannot miss out on social media customer service today!
Now that you know the importance of social media in customer service, here’s a quick list of the benefits you get!
1. Direct Engagement
2. Better Opportunities for Social Listening
This goes without saying! When you start talking to your customers, you get more insights on what they feel and say about your brand! This helps you come up with new strategies and make better business decisions.
3. Positive Word-of-Mouth Marketing
If you’ve read the statistics we mentioned above, then you know how this works. A positive social media support experience means a delighted customer, which eventually results in good WOM marketing!
4. Build Loyal Customer Base
Those are a few benefits you get when you deliver great social media customer support. Whilst there are a few more, we thought we’ll stick to the most prominent ones so that you can start reading what matters most!
That said, let’s look at some of the best social media customer service practices!
7 Social Media Customer Service Best Practices
Customers are volatile. They find a brand offering better customer support, they immediately switch over. Offering great social customer support is one way to stop that from happening!
Without further ado, let’s look at how you can achieve that with these 7 simple steps. We used the word “simple” here because it really is simple!
1. Be Where Your Customers Are
This is one of the first things you should be doing right when it comes to social media customer support!
You should be available on channels where your customers are! It’s no use when you’re not there to answer your customers when they need you!
Sometimes, your customers can be spread across channels or limited to one depending on the nature of your business.
For example, if you’re running a food chain or a tours & travel company, most of your customers can be found on Instagram and Facebook. Or if you’re running a manpower consultancy, most of your clients can be found on LinkedIn. The nature of your business plays a huge factor in identifying where your customers are!
Here’s an example of Starbucks offering social media customer support on all popular social media platforms,
These are snapshots of Starbucks offering social customer service on their Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn handle.
For a business like Starbucks, they need to be present on all social media platforms because they’ve got customers of all levels!
Similarly, find where your customers are and try offering maximum support on those channels. Hiring a dedicated support team to respond to customer queries can make the job easier.
If your customers are present across all platforms, it’s best you use an omnichannel customer experience tool to manage all conversations from one place.
If you’re not sure where your customers are predominantly present, it’s better that you ask them! Come up with a survey and ask your customers what you want to!
Like we said, the first step to offering great social media customer service is by being present on social platforms your customers are on!
2. Use Social Listening Tools to Track & Monitor Mentions
Offering great social customer support means tracking and responding to all customer queries. And you’d have to stare at your social media feed all day to find untagged queries and answer responses!
The thought of staring at your social media feed looking for customer queries, especially the untagged ones will not only kill productivity but also requires huge effort! But with a social listening tool like Simplify360 in place, you can instantly know any mentions of your brand or new customer queries over all social platforms.
This allows you to respond to customer queries immediately while not having to stick to your social media feed forever!
Also, Simplify360 gives you great analytics on what customers are talking about your brand online including the sentiments of reviews, demographics and more. This helps you take proactive measures and deliver great social media customer experiences!
3. Use the Right Tone for Each Message
Communication is important. But what’s even important is communicating right!
When you respond to customer queries, make sure you use the right tone. For instance, a frustrated customer might not appreciate irky comments. But a customer who uses emojis and casual words can be responded the same way.
It’s best if your support agent has the ability to take a judgment call and reply to customer queries using an appropriate tone.
Here is an example where Pizza Hut takes an apologetic tone with a frustrated customer,
And here’s an example where Pizza Hut actively engages with its customers the fun way! This conversation happened when Pizza Hut asked its customers to remember instances of having Pizza during their school days!
That’s how your tone should be! Know what state your customer is in and use an appropriate tone.
Here’s another example where Amazon apologizes to one of their customers.
You get the idea, right?
Let’s head to the next best social media customer service practice!
4. First Response Time Matters
This is another issue that could provoke customer frustration and lead to bad social customer service experiences.
When your customer faces an issue and reaches out to you, they expect an immediate response. Not a couple of hours later!
A recent survey revealed that 32% of consumers who look for customer support on social media expect an answer within 30 minutes. And 42% of people expect a response at least within one hour!
And Facebook takes this as an important factor. Facebook gives businesses a responsive badge when a business manages to respond to 90% of messages within 5 minutes. This can act as a great social proof about how dedicated you are when it’s about social media support!
On-time responses show you care about your customers and you have a proper strategy & setup in place to resolve social customer queries. This reflects directly on your brand image & customer loyalty.
If you’re facing a huge volume of tickets, you might consider adding a chatbot to your social support team. AI-powered chatbots can take care of the repetitive queries while your social media support agents can take care of more complex issues. Also, chatbots provide 24/7 availability and reduce customer service costs.
This makes sure that the trivial questions are answered quickly and the issues that need human assistance are dealt accordingly – without sacrificing FRTs!
5. Resolve Issues Privately When Needed
Not all issues can be resolved online or in public forums. Some issues need sensitive information to be shared like,
Location and more.
These are information sets that shouldn’t be asked or exchanged on public forums. At these times, it’s best to take the issue offline – emails or private chats!
And while doing this, make sure the customer doesn’t get passed around. Put simply, don’t make your customer repeat his/her issue every time you take them offline. This annoys them to a great extent!
Starbucks clearly does this great!
Here’s an example where Starbucks asks a customer to DM regarding the issue faced.
It’s not about sharing personal information here. It’s about how Starbucks cares for the customer by asking him to DM in private (and also to make sure that the glitch isn’t revealed publicly….maybe).
Similarly, take issues offline whenever needed. Just make sure that you’re not rude while doing it. Make your customer understand for what reason you need to take the conversation offline.
Putting it in two phrases, take an issue offline,
When you expect a series of conversations to happen
When there’s a need for the exchange of personal/sensitive information
6. Use Your Knowledge Base & Social Media Playbook
Having a knowledge base can really set you apart from other brands’ social media customer service!
Three things happen here,
Your social media support agent can deliver faster, reliable customer service.
You can cut down support tickets to a huge extent and increase FRTs.
Your customer can even self-serve themselves using the knowledge base.
In fact, customers prefer to self-serve themselves instead of waiting for assistance from support agents. All you have to do is, simply forward the specific knowledge base article link and your customers can solve it themselves!
Also, documenting common practices you follow for social media customer support can help your support team get more used to the routine!
7. DO NOT Make False Promises
We assume you’ve already guessed how important this is (from the caps text)!
When you make a promise and fail to stick to it, your brand reputation gets sabotaged even before you realize what’s happening! And this is one reason why brands like Amazon set a 24-48 hour timeline to come up with responses for escalations.
Your customers believe your word and they expect you to stick to it. It’s a sign of trust and credibility. When practiced long-term, you can build a loyal customer base for your business.
Make sure not to,
Give full refund assurance if there are no established rules
Give short timelines for resolving issues unless and until you’re very sure about it
Give replacement promises if your organization doesn’t permit you to do so!
Similarly, analyze and come up with possible bottle-neck scenarios in your business. Like we already mentioned, having a social media customer service playbook should help you face critical situations and prevent you from making promises that cannot be fulfilled!
So, that’s pretty much it! The 7 social media customer service best practices you need to deliver great customer experiences!
Let’s head to the final part of the read!
Bottom line - Great Social Media Customer Support Can Grow Your Business
There are more than 4 billion using social media today. And like the title says, great social media customer service can help grow your business! It’s not something you can miss out on, especially with the growing competition!
The above-mentioned steps can help you deliver great social customer support every day. If that’s not enough, here’s something for you!
The blog has a couple of super cool examples from top companies across the world. You can get a clear idea as to how you can deliver great social media customer service!
That said, let’s wrap it up! Now that you know the best practices to deliver great social media customer service, put it into practice right away!
It’s easy and can help grow your business to a great extent!