Long before there were iPhones and the internet, we relied on word-of-mouth to make shopping decisions. Need a new computer? Ask your cousin, your colleague at work, or neighbor. That’s how most shopping decisions were made.
Today, things have changed dramatically. There are multiple sources of information to help you make a decision on what to purchase.
Now word-of-mouth lives on through the amplified, ever-evolving, and consistently viral world of social media. There are not just the people we know who influence us, now reviews, the tweets, and the posts of strangers on social influence what we buy, where we eat, and how we vote. For this reason, social media customer service matters more than you think. People expect to be able to reach out to brands on social channels for help – and get a quick reply. And that’s how you make sure you help them when they reach you.
#1 Set up a dedicated social handle for social media customer support
Businesses often rely on a separate social account to provide social media customer service solutions. For instance, having a support team means you have a content audience. This will help you filter out support and service issues form your primary social media channel. What’s more, is that you can even assign the right team to monitor the right type of incoming public messages.
A customer service team can easily address clients questions quicker and in more details than your social marketing team could do. An effective, fast and more detailed answer that immediately resolves problems is a sure way to satisfy and retain frustrated users.
When you come up with a dedicated social channel for customer support, make sure you include it in your brand’s other social media profile bios. This will help them know where to look for support-related requests.
The best social media customer service is all about making things easier for your customer. When a service request lands on one of your main social media platforms, then make sure you pass it along with the right team.
#2 Find and monitor conversations relevant to your business
People use to post all kinds of messages about your business online without tagging any of your social media accounts. As you expect, many of these posts might call for a customer service response.
What does that mean? You cannot wait around to be tagged in social media customer support requests, but you can monitor conversations about your brand. That will help you get a better understanding of your audience and respond to them when they have a service issue. For instance, companies like Starbucks rely on keyword monitoring to identify and catch all mentions of their brand even if the customer does not tag them.
3# Create social media guidelines
Social media customer support comes up with different opportunities and challenges from social marketing. But that doesn’t mean you should not have well-designed social media guidelines. Social guidelines must align with your organization values and with the social marketing team.
This article can help you better understand why brand guidelines for social customer service must cover things like:
- Response time for each social media platform
- Tone of voice
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Procedure for escalations or other customer issues
- Permission management system and message approval procedure
Why do social media guidelines matter? Experts maintain that we can tell social media customer service teams to rely on “common sense” when posting things online no matter the content. But truth be told, common sense is often a slack term, especially when an employee arrives into a new company culture, not even understanding the way things are being said or done around the office. There are plenty of questions that should be addressed in a social media policy, as well as in social media training for employees. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid.
4# Don’t forget to be proactive
When a customer frequently reaches out with the same questions, that’s a clear sign you need to offer some self-service information resources.
The social media customer service channels can be great places to provide educational content such as how-to kind of videos or best practices blog posts. Everything resumes to customer needs and how to help them get the most from your brands. If you provide online services, you could also share updates about common service issues.
For instance, Instagram Stories highlights can be a great way to share customer service self-help like answers to frequently asked questions and how-to. You can create a story highlighting customers’ questions about their packaging. Both of these highlights can help your users sort out some of their own questions long before deciding to order from you.
5# Always respond
It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s a rule that not all brands follow.
Those asking questions of your brand on social media platforms may or may not be your clients yet. However, answering all the questions on these channels resembles how responsive your customer service really is, and it proves the potential buyers that you care about your client’s needs.
There have been instances when customers ask questions on social media posts, and companies ignore their comments. That kind of customer experience pushes people to lose their confidence in a company.
When you respond to a customer question on social media, make sure you keep things as light as possible. Unless it’s obvious that they’re messing around with you, avoid humor and sarcasm – at least until the issue is solved. However, try not to be hesitant in displaying your character when you engage with them on social media channels. Once the problem has been solved, you can GIFs or emojis to show your personality and make them smile along the way.
After all, the role of social media in customer service can play a great part in the success of your brand advocacy and loyalty. Thereby, the right listening tool and preparation can make your customer service take your digital community to a whole new level.