In today's digital-savvy world, businesses are utilizing social media to reach out and engage with users. However, customer service in this arena can be a challenge for many businesses. To ensure the highest quality of support, it’s important to have an effective strategy in place. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of social media customer service and what businesses should do to improve their performance. We’ll talk about developing an effective strategy, optimizing engagement, responding to customer inquiries promptly, identifying and resolving customer issues, and measuring success.
By taking the time to understand social media customer service, your brand can make sure it provides an excellent experience and builds a loyal base of followers. Through engaging with customers, understanding their needs, and responding quickly to inquiries, you’ll be able to create strong relationships with your followers and provide the best experience possible.
Social media customer service is the practice of providing support and assistance through online platforms. This includes responding to customer inquiries, resolving issues, and providing information on products or services. It also involves engaging with customers by sharing helpful content, interacting via comments, and promoting relevant offers. By using this as a tool for customer service, businesses can build strong relationships with their base and increase satisfaction.
This kind of CX is essential for success in today's social-driven world. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure that you’re providing an excellent social media customer service experience to your users. With an effective strategy in place, businesses can build trust and loyalty with their followers, resulting in improved satisfaction.
Start with where your customers already are. Every brand should focus on channels that their target customers use most. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are some of the most popular social networks and have a wide variety of users across different age groups. Bear in mind, that no channel should be discounted just because you don’t already have a presence there - 1 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger. That could become a prime opportunity for your brand to connect with users.
Additionally, businesses may benefit from focusing on specific social media channels based on the types of goods or services they offer. For example, businesses that specialize in visual products may benefit from focusing on Instagram or Pinterest, which by nature are primarily visual channels. A presence on TikTok, which might be the best platform for a business focused on brand awareness, could help build awareness of recruitment potential or a strong company culture.
Ultimately, success depends on understanding the needs and preferences of your target audience and determining which social networks are best suited for meeting those needs.
Aside from the obvious benefits of connecting with your customers on a channel where they’re more and more present, there are many other reasons for investing in this area, such as streamlined operations of increased revenue - in fact, customers will spend 20-40% more if you engage and respond to them through social media. We’ve listed a few more of them for you below.
Social media CX allows companies to quickly and easily respond to inquiries, provide personalized assistance and address any product or service issues. Being quicker to respond, providing accurate answers, and managing your company’s reputation are built into the mechanics of social platforms. This leads to improved customer experience overall, which builds trust and helps increase repeat business.
Interacting with customers online is an effective way to establish a presence and show them that you are active. It allows you to engage with your audience in real-time, build relationships, and demonstrate your brand’s value.
When customers see that their concerns are being addressed quickly and efficiently through social media customer service, they are more likely to remain loyal to the brand and become repeat purchasers. People like to feel connected and sense that they’re part of a community.
This kind of CX allows companies to showcase their expertise and helpfulness, which can lead to positive reviews and increased sharing. By actively posting content and engaging with users, your brand can even see greater traffic and engagement with your products and services.
By being available on these channels, you can ensure that customers are satisfied with their experience. This can result in more positive feedback and reviews, which can help increase sales and grow the business.
With social CX, companies can save money by providing quick and efficient support without having to hire additional staff or pay for unnecessary service software. This, together with tailored digital solutions, can reduce operational costs and actually improve your brand’s performance in the long-run.
By providing quick and personalized support, companies can make customers feel valued and create positive experiences, which leads to increased sales. Using technology such as chatbots can even be leveraged to upsell or cross-sell products. You can check out the benefits of conversational AI in one of our blog posts.
Social media support can help streamline the CX process by allowing companies to quickly respond to inquiries without having to go through multiple channels. This can help companies provide faster service and improve overall efficiency. That’s what makes it a crucial element of any omnichannel approach, especially when integrated with different systems for a more optimized solution.
To start working on a social media customer service strategy, businesses should first assess their current presence online. This involves evaluating the type of content they post, the channels they are active on, and any social listening activities they are doing. Next, create guidelines for staff to ensure that all inquiries are being addressed in a consistent, professional manner.
Finally, determine which tools you need in order to optimize your efforts and ensure that all inquiries are being handled quickly and efficiently. With the right strategy in place, businesses can offer exceptional service that builds loyalty and trust.
The biggest challenges include keeping up with the high volume of inquiries, responding to customers in a timely manner, and maintaining consistent messaging across social channels. Additionally, this kind of support can be more difficult than traditional methods because it could involve interacting with users in a public forum.
Businesses must ensure that all responses are professional, courteous, and compliant with any privacy regulations. Keeping up with trends and understanding needs can help businesses overcome these challenges and provide an effective social media customer service strategy.
We’ve gone through what it is, the benefits of using it, and some good places to start. Now it’s time to take a look at the most effective strategies and how they can be game changers for your social media customer service.
One of the most crucial aspects of social media customer service is response time. Your users expect quick responses, and the longer a business takes to respond, the more frustrated the customer becomes. It's essential to have a designated team or person to handle inquiries and to ensure that responses are prompt and consistent. In fact, your business could gain 3-20% greater customer spending per interaction if you quickly respond to and resolve issues without redirecting to other channels.
How do you do this? There are a few ways:
Keep an eye on what’s happening on the web. Every brand should be monitoring their channels regularly to identify inquiries and respond to them promptly. This includes not only direct messages but also comments and mentions. Customers often post their queries in the comments section of a post, and it's essential to respond to these inquiries as well.
Great examples of this can be found all over social media, most significantly on TikTok and Twitter, with brands actively engaging in mentions of their business and activities. This builds a stronger relationship and an excellent community. There’s a plethora of tools online that can help every business monitor the way they’re being spoken about, such as Brandmention.com or mention.com.
Monitoring of this kind also helps businesses identify negative comments or reviews quickly. These can be addressed promptly and resolved before they escalate and damage the business's reputation. This allows you to become proactive, rather than reactive, especially in the moments when it counts.
Everything starts with data. From knowing your customer, to understanding their needs, behaviors, to fully embracing the capabilities of whichever channel you’re targeting for your activities, products, and services. In order to get to that stage, it’s vital to search for answers everywhere possible, which can be done in a variety of ways.
Customers often reach out to businesses on social media when they are frustrated or dissatisfied with a product or service. It's essential to approach these interactions with empathy and understanding. Acknowledge the caller’s frustration, apologize for any inconvenience caused, and offer a solution to their problem.
This is also why it’s vital not to shy away from potentially uncomfortable interactions or negative feedback. No matter how dissatisfied someone may be, your support team should endeavor to react in a way that helps them with their query. The only exception to this rule is when comments breach community or user guidelines and policies of the platform itself.
It's also important to ensure that the tone of the response is respectful and professional, even if the customer is angry or upset. By demonstrating empathy and understanding, businesses can de-escalate tense situations and build trust.
The language used in responses can have a significant impact on the customer's perception of the business. Positive language can help build trust and convey the business's commitment to satisfaction. It's essential to avoid negative or accusatory language, even if the customer is angry or upset.
Chatbots can be an excellent tool for handling basic inquiries. Businesses can set up chatbots to respond to frequently asked questions, such as shipping times, return policies, and product information. This frees up the team to handle more complex inquiries and ensures that customers receive prompt responses to their queries.
However, it's important to ensure that the chatbot's responses are accurate and personalized to the customer's inquiry. A poorly programmed chatbot can do more harm than good by frustrating users with inaccurate or irrelevant responses.
Whilst conversational AI and other digital automated solutions can be extremely helpful, it’s important to know which will be a help and which could become an unnecessary cost. You can read more about the Transcom’s digital solutions and discover what will work best for your business.
This is the age of personalization, and more than ever, people expect a response that feels like it’s written just for them. Brands should make an effort to address the customer by name and personalize the response to their inquiry. This helps build a personal connection with them and demonstrates that the business values their patronage. And this goes for human-centric contacts as well as bot-driven conversations.
Personalizing responses can also help resolve the customer's inquiry more quickly by addressing their specific issue. By understanding their needs and concerns, businesses can provide targeted solutions that address their specific question. Take a look at how hyper-personalization has become key to CX, with references to brands such as IKEA and Nike.
Customizing responses also strengthens the sense of community and creates better brand awareness, as well as building a culture around communication and interaction that starts with your products and services.
Every good strategy contains a set of clear guidelines for how to implement and maintain it. The same goes for a social media support policy. Setting clear rules for your support teams on how to engage with your customers and build relationships with them, how to respond to potentially problematic situations, and what the foundations of your strategy are, can take your presence on from ‘just there’ to ‘standing out’.
Responses should be clear and concise, providing the information that’s needed to resolve the inquiry. It's important to avoid technical jargon or complex explanations that can confuse or frustrate the customer. Instead, businesses should provide information in a simple and easy-to-understand format. This helps the customer feel more confident in the solution provided and can prevent the need for follow-up inquiries.
It’s also important to communicate these guidelines as part of the interaction. If you’re recording information from the interaction, using it for feedback purposes, or if there are other considerations, sharing your policy with your users can make them more receptive and help them feel informed.
The best kinds of processes are the ones that require the least amount of effort, both from the customer and the company. That’s why it’s vital to take a look at your entire process, perhaps by mapping your customer journey or analyzing existing systems and data, and then taking the necessary steps towards integrating whatever you can.
Whether it’s through an external provider or within your own organization’s capabilities, taking any unorganized, uncoordinated processes and streamlining them can reduce your costs significantly, as well as improve satisfaction. The less redirecting you have to do for your users, the happier they will be, and the less stress you place on your support teams. With tools such as the Transcom Reporting Experience, you can consolidate all of your needed data into one business intelligence dashboard and monitor progress with real-time insight.
Technology can improve your support services if you set up dedicated social media handles, create guidelines for staff and users, and leverage automation tools like chatbots. Solutions like these can quickly answer basic queries and respond beyond normal business hours, ensuring inquiries are addressed in a timely manner.
Additionally, brands can leverage sentiment analysis tools to identify negative social conversations and, mentions and quickly address issues. By using the right technology, tailored to your industry and needs, businesses can ensure that social media customer service is efficient, reliable, and personalized.
When someone is unhappy with the service, businesses should take steps to de-escalate the situation and provide an appropriate solution.
Although it’s a relatively new social media, the explosive growth of TikTok is unmistakable and hard not to notice. It’s already being used by brands for proactive service. MAC Cosmetics, for example, is using TikTok to post reviews and mini makeup tutorials for followers to see and try for themselves. This way, they get to show off their products and create an engaging online customer experience.
Despite the fact that the brand doesn’t receive many negative reviews or comments, the brand is still actively engaging with its users, proving that reactivity is not the only valid reason for talking to customers. They’re providing a service simply by talking to their users.
As a haircare brand focusing on “six-free” formulas, Brioego is utilizing tried and tested platform, Facebook, to engage actively with its customers and respond to as many comments as possible. They take great pride in replying to nearly every comment, no matter how trivial or minor the communication, and they always leave a heart emoji at the end - making it feel like you’re talking to a friend, not an anonymous brand.
Apart from the mentioned, trends show that companies that previously took a cold and distant approach are shifting towards a more open and friendly social media customer experience. Taking a look at social media teams run by established companies like Mercedes or RedBull shows them building a dedicated base of fans and followers through more direct contact via Twitter, marked by a relaxed approach to posts and a personalized touch when responding to fans. This all led teams to even monetize on the social media customer care by selling merchandise containing fan favorite tweets and other posts.