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Social Media Customer Service: Everything You Need to Know
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You know it, customer service is going social.
Businesses use their social platforms to connect with customers and are increasingly using them to render customer support. This is actually a smart move! Studies suggest 71% of consumers who get a positive service response through social media are likely to recommend that business.
Offering support on social media gives you a solid competitive edge and even helps you build your brand’s image.
But how do you go about it? We’ve got you covered!
This post will highlight the benefits of using social media for customer service along with the best tips for developing a solid customer support strategy.
Table of Contents
- Why Use Social Media for Customer Service
- Using Social Media for Customer Service – Best Practices
- How to Create an Effective Social Media Customer Service Strategy for Your Team
- Step 1: Prioritize Your Social Channels
- Step 2: Designate Roles for Escalation
- Step 3: Integrate social media cases with your CRM
- Step 4: Have a System for Answering Questions Quickly
- Step 5: Specify Support Hours and Response Times
- Step 6: Hire the Right Talent
- Step 7: Create a Plan for Crisis
- Step 8. Monitor Social Customer Care Metrics
- Great Customer Service Examples on Social Media To Take Inspiration From
- Manage Customer Service With Hiver’s Customer Service Software
Why Use Social Media for Customer Service
Gone are the days when phone or email support was enough to help customers with their issues. With a social media presence, you can address customer problems quickly and efficiently and create a loyal customer base.
If you need more motivation, here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits of using social media for customer service:
- Increase customer engagement: Social media enables instant support and rewards your customers for liking your product and services. You can also efficiently connect and respond to positive or negative reviews, improving customer engagement.
- Build customer connection: Your presence on social media helps you increase brand awareness and lets your customers explore your brand openly. As you consistently post valuable content on the channels your customers frequent, they can easily access important information regarding your product/services and get clarity on any questions they may have.
- Personalize customer service: Social media allows you to personalize your interaction with each customer. You can easily get insights into your customers’ activities/preferences without being intrusive and deliver custom service—or shoot ads on their social networks that align with their interests.
- Provide accurate customer feedback: Social media allows customers to be more honest about their experiences with your brand because they share them voluntarily. With a like or comment on your social media posts, you’ll know what you’re doing right or where you need to improve.
Using Social Media for Customer Service – Best Practices
While social media is necessary for customer service, you must ensure you’re doing it right. Here are some social media customer service best practices to use on social media today:
1. Use the Right Social Media Platforms
There is no “best” social media platform used for customer service because a platform best for one business may be entirely useless for yours. By using an omnichannel marketing platform, you can engage with customers using their preferred messaging channels. What’s important is that you go where your customers already spend their time. That’s how your social customer care can be effective.
How do you know where your customers are?
You can ask them using a survey form. Another option is to run a comprehensive audit on all platforms with which your brand is associated. This way, you can analyze how your customers make contact with you. Go where your customers spend their time.
2. Have a Dedicated Handle for Social Media Customer Support
Get a dedicated social media account for channels where your customers spend the most time.
Having an account separate from your main social account enables your customer service team to respond to customer queries faster. It’ll also help you filter out service and support queries from your primary account faster so that the right team can handle them.
That said, customers may still use your main social handles to contact you for their customer service issues and queries, especially because they’re likely the most familiar with your primary account. In these cases, you should respond using the support account or pass it along to your support team members.
You can also avoid this (as much as possible) by including your support handle in the bios of your main handle. Let people know that’s where they’ll find answers faster.
3. Monitor Conversations and Social Media Mentions
Some people may post messages or queries about your brand without tagging your handle.
Don’t wait to get tagged in customer service requests before you respond. To offer exemplary social media customer support, perform social listening to track and respond to all service requests immediately.
A social media monitoring tool like Hootsuite can help you monitor customer comments that include mentions of your brand and quickly respond to customers who may have a service issue. Other Hootsuite alternatives you can try include Simplify360, Mentionlytics, and Talkwalker.
4. Be Prompt With Your Responses
The nature of social media is fast-paced, so customers expect quick responses.
A delayed response in customer service can negatively affect your brand. Client complaints will increase; some may even spread negative comments about your brand. According to a recent survey, 42% of customers seeking social media customer support want answers within 60 minutes.
Responding to your queries as quickly as possible is your best bet to keep customers happy.
5. Use the Appropriate Tone of Voice
Your tone of voice is critical on social media. Regardless of the type of customer you’re dealing with, your response should stay light and positive.
Remember, you’re not just solving their problems. You’re also trying to make customers happy and get them to recommend your brand to others. Be sure to use the appropriate tone for each message.
6. Know When to Redirect to Offline
Note that you can’t resolve all issues online. Some interactions can be handled with a quick back and forth, but others may require a more detailed course of resolution. The customer may also need to send sensitive information like account information, location ID, and order ID.
In such cases, it’s best to redirect queries to a private channel. Invite your client to continue the conversation via direct messages or email. Use the same warm and friendly tone so you don’t come off as rude or abrasive (which you can learn about a lot from sales conversations).
7. Be Proactive in Your Social Care
When your customers have the same queries, you know it’s time to provide some informational resources. It’s also important to anticipate customer needs and expectations before they reach out to you with problems.
For example, you can use a social media content generator to create educational posts that help your customers know more about your brand. In addition, make sure you find the best time to post on Instagram or other social media platforms, and with the help of social media scheduler tools, schedule your posts accordingly to get marketing attribution and enhance customer service experience.
How to Create an Effective Social Media Customer Service Strategy for Your Team
Before diving deep into using social media for customer service, you need to have a strategy that can ensure effective implementation. Here’s how to create one for your business:
Step 1: Prioritize Your Social Channels
Get to know which channels your clients use the most and prioritize them according to the volume of inquiries.
Step 2: Designate Roles for Escalation
There should be a single point of contact responsible for responding to customer queries on social media. The person should have direct access to the supervisor or manager in case the customer’s query needs an escalation.
Step 3: Integrate social media cases with your CRM
As you get customer service cases on social media, record them in the same CRM accessed by other departments like marketing, product, and sales. Also, plan to add social profiles to customer CRM records. This helps in understanding customers better.
Step 4: Have a System for Answering Questions Quickly
Your customer support team can’t monitor social media 24/7, so the best solution is to get an intelligent chatbot. Chatbots are essential when your team goes offline. They can give the customers immediate answers to their queries, and they work best for simple questions you get frequently.
Step 5: Specify Support Hours and Response Times
While chatbots are great, customers may want to speak to a live customer service agent immediately. And you need to cater to this need.
Specify the operating hours and level of support in the description boxes of your social media pages, letting customers know when they can get live answers. This will set the right customer expectations from the start, thereby reducing frustration.
Step 6: Hire the Right Talent
Hiring experienced customer service reps with impeccable communication and people skills is a no-brainer if you want to enhance customer experience.
Everything is public and easily viewed on social media by customers and prospects. So it’s critical to hire the right talent to speak on behalf of your brand. Train your support team and create guidelines for handling customer inquiries your team can follow.
Step 7: Create a Plan for Crisis
Information spreads quickly on social media, so it’s easy for a single customer complaint to snowball into a full-blown community-brand problem as external replies start pouring in on the issue.
Make sure you’re prepared for such communication disasters and have a plan to face any crisishead-on.
Step 8. Monitor Social Customer Care Metrics
Track and measure all social media success metrics so you can leverage the data to optimize your overall customer service program. Doing this will also help you make note of what content works and what doesn’t on your social media.
Sometimes it can be helpful to partner with a content marketing or social media agency to plan your content, and use a social media analytics tool to track top inquiries and cases based on criteria like social media channel and resolution times.
Great Customer Service Examples on Social Media To Take Inspiration From
You already know that even one bad experience can cost you a loyal customer. To ensure you’re focused on offering the best possible social media customer service, here are some examples of companies using social media for customer service that you can learn from:
Nike offers excellent customer service on social channels like Twitter. It has a dedicated Twitter account for responding to customer queries seven days a week and in seven languages.
Here’s an example of how the company politely responded to a customer that wanted help finding an order number. By giving a supportive response, Nike makes the customer feel cared for, likely scoring a loyal customer for life.
SpotifyCares is the dedicated support handle for Spotify on Twitter. The handle answers customer inquiries, requests DMs, or listens to complaints—like the example below.
Spotify proactively responds to a customer having equalizer issues, telling her they’re looking into the matter. Not only does this make the customer feel heard, but it also reassures her that the company will get back to her with a solution quickly.
Kinguin is a games distribution platform where you can easily purchase any game online. It has a very active social channel that provides customer support and coupon codes. They also send giveaways in real-time.
Here’s an example of how they use live chat software to implement customer service solutions and grow their customer satisfaction rate.
Manage Customer Service With Hiver’s Customer Service Software
Social media has tremendous potential when it comes to servicing and delighting customers. That being said, companies should leverage social media and other important channels to optimize customer interactions with their brand.
Irrespective of what these customer service channels are, providing stellar support should be at the forefront of your organizational goals. Delight your customers with Hiver’s customer service software, which allows you to streamline support workflows and deliver stellar customer service across multiple support channels, including email, live chat, voice calls, WhatsApp messaging and a self-service knowledge base. With Hiver, you can assign, track, and resolve customer queries at ease and can ensure that every customer gets the attention they deserve.
Sounds good? Sign up for a free 7-day trial and start delighting your customers today.