As a consumer, you’re probably used to following the brands you love. You see them pop up on your News Feed on Facebook. You might like their photo on Instagram and read about their latest promotion on Twitter. It’s, after all, how we get our news nowadays.
As a brand or business, a presence on social media is no longer a debate. The new challenge is offering great support through every channel a customer may use.
Your customers know that social media is a faster and more personal avenue to get the help they need. Conversocial found that 54% of customers prefer social media for customer service over phone or email—and this number is likely to increase.
It’s time to get your social media customer service strategy in place. We can help!
What Is A Social Media Customer Service Strategy And Why You Need One
A social media customer service strategy is the system your business establishes to answer customers’ questions using social media. It encompasses the entire customer journey, and it can complement a traditional customer support strategy, like email or phone. Offering social media support in conjunction with other channels is a critical part of omnichannel customer service.
Forrester found that 80% of consumers use social media to engage with brands. So it makes sense to offer support wherever your customers are, including social platforms. Your presence on social media is not just about launching promotions and posting beautiful shots of your products. It works best if you also use it to help your customers.
However, if you want to deliver impressive and effective customer support, be strategic about it. It needs to be consistent and aligned with your company’s brand. It should also guide your team on the details of how to respond when a customer reaches out. Read on to learn the essential steps to make your social support a success.
Master Your Social Media Customer Service Strategy
There are a few essentials to developing a social media customer service strategy that wins over customers—whether on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
Develop social media guidelines
The first step is to have social media guidelines in place. Social media customer support has different challenges than marketing, so a general framework for engaging customers ensures a consistent style no matter what. Here are some things to consider:
- 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?
Respond to as much social media feedback as you can
If you walk into a store and ask the sales attendant a question, you’d expect an answer, right? Customers using your social media channels expect the same. Failing to respond to comments can lead to a 15% increase in churn rate.
By not tracking and responding to social media posts, you put your company at risk for bad reviews. All it takes is a positive and open response to change someone’s perception of your brand.
Make sure you respond to all feedback that comes your way via social media, be it comments, questions, or complaints in public or via direct messages (DMs).
If you receive a high volume of comments, it might be challenging to respond to them all. Prioritize critical mentions, like negative reviews or complaints—admitting your mistakes can go a long way.
Build a strong brand image by responding positively
Whenever a customer approaches you with a question, be aware of their emotions.
You don’t always know what else they’ve been going through. Their emotions might be heightened due to external factors. For example, the flight to their honeymoon destination might have been canceled. Or the shoe they ordered for a special event might have been delivered in the wrong size.
Remember, it’s essential to provide them with a solution and do so with the best attitude. Take a walk in their shoes and be empathetic when you respond—especially in public channels.
Always keep the customer’s tone in mind. For example, if they have a laidback and fun attitude, your best bet is to reflect that in your response. If your customer keeps it formal, match their professional tone.
No matter what, whenever you’re dealing with customers, make sure to put your best brand forward.
Call your customers by their first name and stay away from scripts
Getting a response from a brand that is genuine and human can feel surprisingly refreshing. Not that long ago, interactions with a brand felt like we were dealing with robots rather than people.
Social media is the perfect space to avoid an impersonal vibe and forge a more meaningful connection with your customers. Something as simple as using a person’s first name can create that connection. For example, when you sign a response to a comment, use your real name to show that there’s a person behind the brand.
Respond to your customers as quickly as possible
For many of your customers, your social media handle is the quickest way to reach out to you. Understandably, they expect the same type of response from you.
In a survey by The Social Habit, 32% of social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes. The expectation is even higher for negative comments. Go Globe found that 60% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within an hour.
The fast-paced nature of social media creates the expectation that responses should arrive faster. There’s more flexibility with email, where a 24-hour response time would be totally fine.
One way to decrease your response time is by having a library of responses. For example, you could use TextExpander to save the links to your company Contact page, the support page, FAQs, or knowledge base articles. Create a snippet for anything that could help you or your team save time, and have a list of commonly used responses ready to go.
Know when to move public conversations to the private sphere
While much of what’s happening on social media is public, not all the conversations should happen in the public sphere.
Just like in real life where you’d address certain issues in private, social media is no different.
Whenever an issue gets too complicated to resolve publicly, take the conversation off-line to better help them. One common example is when you need to have access to their personal information (order number, full name).
If you get in touch with a customer in private, 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 perfectly.
Use A Social Media Customer Service Strategy To Serve Your Customers
More people than ever are reaching out to a brand’s social media. Getting in touch with a business is just a click away, so it’s likely the number of your customers reaching out that way will continue to increase.
It makes business sense to have a social media customer service strategy which includes a plan for customer support. From answering quickly to personalized messaging, you can design a customer service strategy that builds customer loyalty.
Don’t leave them hanging – those that put social customer care at the center of their service strategy will reap tangible rewards.
Deliver a seamless support experience across all of the channels your customers use. Read our guide to Omnichannel Support to learn more.