How to Improve Your Social Media Customer Service

Facebook? Check. Twitter? Check. Instagram? Check.

You know the importance of offering support through social channels. It’s no longer a choice. It lets brands meet customers wherever they are and answer queries fast. For engagement to occur, your customer service team has to be available on your customers’ favorite platforms.

And so your customer support team is set up and ready to help out your customers on social media – now what? How can you make it better? 

In this article, you’ll find six helpful tips to set teams up for success when handling mentions, comments, and complaints on social media.

Take The First Steps To Improve Your Social Media Customer Care

As a brand, you want to be where your customers are – on their favorite channels. As more people get used to seeing the brands pop-up on their phones constantly, they expect them to be there for them whenever they have a question or complaint. Across the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an essential factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand

When it comes to improving your social media customer service, make sure your team is aligned on priorities. 

First, focus your effort on service disruption questions, complaints, or technical or account questions. Once those are solved, you can concentrate on lower priority questions like responding to mentions, thanking for providing positive feedback, or following up on comments about your brand. Even though these aren’t urgent, they represent an excellent opportunity to increase your customer’s loyalty. 

The more efficient you are at separating high priority from less critical issues, the better you’ll be at streamlining your process and the better support you’ll give to your customers on social media. 

6 Tips To Improve Your Social Media Customer Service

1. Decrease Your Response Time As Much As Possible 

According to a survey from Khoros, at least half of consumers on social media expect a response to complaints in at least three hours. 

Make a point to responding immediately or as fast as possible. Often, customers turn to social media above email or phone because they expect that they will receive an answer in the same way they publish content – that is, instantly. While that’s not always possible, you should try to respond fast as a best practice. 

A fast response that gets to the bottom of an issue is a great way to satisfy an upset customer. 

Le Creuset offers social media customer service on their Facebook page.

A way to decrease your response time is by having a library of responses. For example, you could use TextExpander to save the links to knowledge base articles or FAQs. By creating snippets, you can save time because you have recurrent answers always ready to go instead of writing them every time.  

Sonos answers customer questions on their Instagram comments.

If your team is not available 24/7, one workaround is to use canned responses so that customers receive an automated response whenever they reach out outside your operating hours. 

2. Develop Social Media Guidelines To Align Your Teams

Creating social media guidelines as part of your strategy can help you align your team with your company’s values. It’s crucial to ensure you provide consistently good support among all social channels, no matter who’s on call and whether it’s a Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok post. It should also guide your team on the details of how to respond when a customer reaches out. 

Your social media guidelines should cover things like:

  • What is the ideal response time for each channel? 
  • How is a crisis handled on social media?
  • What tone of voice should you use as a brand or business?
  • Answers to your customer’s most common questions
  • What is the escalation procedure to take a conversation private? 

Pelotan, a sun protection brand for athletes, does this well by keeping a consistent tone of voice throughout their posts. The brand uses a casual but knowledgeable tone of voice on its social media channels. This voice works with the company’s brand and is aligned with its marketing goals. 

For smaller brands, part of their success is building a community around the brand. Keeping your guidelines at the front and center of your strategy will help you achieve that. 

Pelotan responds to customers over their Instagram page.

3. Use A Separate Account To Handle Customer Support Questions

Depending on your business’s size and resources, consider keeping social accounts and social media customer support accounts apart. 

This way, you can allocate resources to the right channel and make it easier for the right team to keep an eye on higher-priority messages. 

A dedicated customer support social account means that your customer service team can respond to customer questions faster and more thoroughly than your marketing team. A quick, efficient, and complete answer is the epitome of a great response, which is crucial if you want to turn frustrated customers into satisfied brand ambassadors. 

Be sure to inform your customer where to go for help from your primary account, as that’s often the first place they’ll go. Spotify, for example, lets Twitter users know where they should tweet to find help in the bio of their main Twitter account. 

Spotify's Twitter account directs customers to a separate Twitter account to get help.

While you might keep those accounts separated in terms of what’s being said on each of them, users probably won’t know that. Ensure that your support team monitors your main social marketing handles and responds to any questions from users talking to your primary account. If a service request comes into your main social channel, make it easy for the customer and send it over to the right team.

4. Always Answer Customer Comments And Questions

This one is probably easier said than done but strive to always get back to people who take the time to ask questions. 

People asking questions about your brand on social media may or may not be your customers (yet). Answering all questions on social channels shows that you offer responsive customer service. This proves to potential customers that you care about your clients’ needs.

Sometimes, all it takes is a simple acknowledgment of a customer’s comment. When a brand we like interacts with us, especially when we didn’t ask them a question, we feel connected to the brand. 

For example, sports clothing brand Closely often interacts with customers, many of them from the sports community, which helps increase brand awareness. 

Closely interacts with customers over social media to increase brand awareness.

The opposite is also true. Have you ever left a comment about something you thought was important only to get silence as a response? It’s both alienating and disappointing. Unsurprisingly, 81% of Twitter users who don’t get an answer from a company will not recommend that company to their friends. 

5. Take Public Conversations Private

While a lot of what goes on social media happens in the public sphere, some conversations should take place in private.

Whenever an issue gets too complicated to resolve publicly, or you need more space to give a helpful answer beyond Twitter or Instagram’s character limit, you’re better off taking the conversation private. One typical example is when you need to have access to your customer’s personal information that shouldn’t be displayed online (order number, or full name, for example). 

If you get in touch with a customer privately, but they respond publicly, make sure you acknowledge the move. It’ll ensure that others see that you haven’t ignored the request and are working to resolve it. A simple “Hi [name], we’ve sent you a DM with more information” will work fine. 

ClassPass offers help over Twitter DMs

6. Listen and Connect With Your Customers

Your team should primarily focus on providing help and turning frustrated customers into loyal lovers of your brand – but this mission doesn’t mean you can’t also have a little fun surprising your customers. This is, after all, social media. If the situation allows for it, why not connect with your customers on a personal level, too? 

Remember to be consistent across your business when it comes to tone and response time. 

For example, when Nike read the story of a man getting back in shape after years on the couch, they asked about his running goals and offered help if he needed advice on running gear.

Nike interacts with a customer over Twitter.

Even if a user hasn’t directly tweed at you or asked you for help, be willing to respond. Answering mentions or comments that don’t necessarily need a response shows you’re listening.

Promote users that say something nice about your brand or a recent interaction, or “like” their comments. It’s a bit like smiling back at them! If your customers are happy about something, feel free to share the joy, just as Class Pass does: 

ClassPass celebrates its customer's success over Twitter.

Take Control Of Your Social Media Customer Service

A 2020 survey by Statista found that 33% of customers use social media to communicate their complaints to a brand. When this happens, everything depends on your response. Take the right steps to improve your social media customer service and turn frustrated customers into loyal fans. 

As brands find new avenues to impact their customers, prepare your social media customer service team to respond quickly and efficiently. It’s crucial not just for consumer satisfaction, but also for future income and word-of-mouth brand awareness for your company. 

Learn more about providing great customer service that surprises your customers, with our helpful blog post on providing proactive customer support