In the past, customers were limited to a couple of avenues for customer service inquiries: in-store and over the phone. Now, thanks to the rise of technology, customers have a variety of service channels to choose from — including Facebook, Instagram, and all of the channels that fall under the social media umbrella.
That’s right — social media channels have evolved into more than advertising and marketing platforms; they’re also now one of the top avenues for customer service. In fact, 47% of consumers have a more favorable view of brands that respond to customer service questions or complaints via social media. Why? Because social media is immediate and easily accessible (and beats being put on hold over the phone).
So, how do you go about providing stellar social media customer service? Here are some best practices to live and breathe by.
Look Into Social Media Monitoring Tools (If You Haven’t Already)
Imagine checking your notifications every few hours or manually sifting through your feed to see whether people are talking about your brand on social media. Sounds tedious, right? Well, you can automate the process of searching for your brand’s mentions with social media monitoring and listening tools.
Pro tip: There are plenty of options out there, but be sure to select a tool that’s able to comb through pages for specific keywords, collect social mentions, and track hashtags.
Respond to Customers Within 24 Hours
A whopping 80% of customers expect companies to respond to their social media comments (especially negative ones) within a day. While this may seem like a fast turnaround time, consider this: These complaints are public and can be seen by your followers and anybody who visits your pages. Seeing as how negative social media comments influence 62 % of customers, it’s best to stay on the safe side and respond as quickly as you can.
Pro tip: It’s never a good idea to sweep negative comments under the rug by ignoring or deleting them. By doing this, you give off the message that your brand is, in fact, deserving of the complaints. Finding a solution to help breeds goodwill with customers.
Craft Thoughtful Responses
When responding to customers on social media, follow these tips:
- Correctly identify the issue or problem.
- Include links to additional information.
- Respond to “thank you” posts (ex. “No problem, (insert name)!)”
- Personalize the comment with a customer service agent’s first name or initials.
Be Consistent With Your Customer Service Voice
As mentioned earlier, social media pages are public spaces. For your brand to be taken seriously, your customer service voice has to be consistent across everything from your webpage and ads to your social media posts and comments. For example, while a platform like Instagram can be seen as more casual, you still have to make sure that spelling, grammar, and tone are on point.
Pro tip: Refer to your company’s brand and editorial guidelines for guidance.
Keep Track of Customer Interactions
It’s important to collect and keep track of your customer interactions so that you can analyze the kind of customer issues that are prevalent on your social channels. Use the information you’ve gathered to determine the following:
- How many negative comments are there versus positive ones?
- Are comments mostly questions or feedback?
- How many comments can be answered using existing links?
- How many comments require a response?
Answering these questions will help your team make decisions on whether you need to look into self-service options or additional support.
Be Visible Across All Platforms
It can be a real hassle when customers have a hard time finding your customer service hotline. Be sure that your customer service email, number, or landing page is included in your contact information across all social media channels.
When Should You Take Comments Offline?
Not every comment can be resolved within a certain amount of characters. Sometimes, the question can be overly technical, or the feedback could be too negative (we’re talking expletives, spam comments, etc.). It’s crucial to know when to take a conversation offline — to a private message or phone call — so that it’s handled appropriately without the eyes of others.
Consider moving the conversation offline when:
- The thread is getting too long with back and forth replies.
- When personal data is required, such as phone or credit card numbers, etc.
After you’ve resolved the issue, don’t forget to loop back around to the social media page and thank the customer for reaching out. It’s essential that the public doesn’t think that it’s normal for your brand to keep customers hanging.
For additional information on social media best practices, don’t miss out on these five posts:
What is Social Media Marketing? [TEMPLATE]
4 Social Media Trends to Keep an Eye On
8 Social Media Marketing Tips
5 Tips to Build Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
5 Organic Social Media Tactics to Boost Growth