What Is Social Media Customer Service?
Social customer service is the practice of using social media platforms and tools to respond to and resolve customer queries and concerns, through social media posts, direct messages or even online reviews on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit and Linkedin.
As well as responding to customers’ queries, social media customer service also involves providing self-help channels through up-to-date FAQs, analysing your customer journey to make necessary adjustments and implementing services such as chatbots that can answer simple, popular questions.
Having channels of communication via social media allows customers to reach out quickly and conveniently, often resulting in increased customer satisfaction while reducing the cost to service customers, compared to calling your business helpline etc.
Why should you provide social media customer service?
When a customer submits a question or complaint, whether it be from social media or elsewhere, they expect answers within a quick time frame, especially when dealing with product/service issues or urgencies.
Your brand image is on the line
News travels fast, especially in the world of social media. Any unresolved communications or bad reviews on your social platforms are out for the world to see, and with rising platforms such as TikTok – it doesn’t take much for a disgruntled customer to go viral. Leaving these unattended can create a much larger brand image problem which can affect sales and revenue. However, if dealt with correctly, they can be a great benefit and boost your brand image. It’s much easier to communicate your great customer service when your audience can see it happening on the social platforms they use day-to-day.
Meet and exceed customer expectations
Social customer service is no longer an optional initiative for companies who want to satisfy their customer base, but it is imperative. Many organisations will use their social channels to provide customer service and support proactively – reaching out to customers to answer questions and resolve issues before complaints start. This can often be the difference between you, and your competitors, and encourages increased customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Putting social customer service in place
See your social media as an extension of your customer service
Whether you like it or not, you will get contacted via social media platforms from customers with all things questions, queries and complaints – even when you have a customer care call line, email address, and FAQ centre. On many social media channels, there are no support tickets built into comment sections, so you will need to use a monitoring tool to keep on top of the inquiries that come in. You should see social media as extended word-of-mouth marketing – the happier your customers are online – the more likely they are to engage, share, and recommend your company.
It can be extremely helpful to set up a dedicated handle for your social media customer support. Your customer service team can likely address client questions faster and in more detail than your marketing team can. Using a dedicated handle can also help filter out all the other interactions, making it easier and quicker to respond ensuring the right team is assigned to monitor the right type of incoming messages.
Create social media guidelines
Social customer support has different challenges than social marketing, but it is still important to have guidelines in place that are in line with your company values. Brand guidelines for your customer support should include things such as:
- Response time
- Tone of voice
- Answers to FAQ
- Protocol for escalations
Understand your audience
If customers often have the same questions, this is an indication that you need to give your customers some self-service information resources. Social media channels are a great way to share educational content which can help answer common questions and queries, along with any updates that customers should be aware of, helping to reduce the number of customer support queries you get.
Respond as soon as possible
Every response you send can be viewed by not only the customer who submitted the query but often by other members of your audience. Acknowledging all comments, mentions and posts are therefore essential to resolve everything within an acceptable time.
Responding to all comments, even the negative ones is a must. Whether its a dissatisfied customer, or a victim of misunderstanding, how you approach these comments can have great affect on your brand and online creditability. Try to personalise each message and show empathy – no one wants an automated response (this can often be worse than no response at all). Stick to your response guidelines, respond politely and offer a resolution to the problem.
Build a system to get queries answered quickly
This requires an organised system with a dedicated social customer care member(s) of your team. Setting up a system will help to unify all customer issues in one place, which will enhance the efficiency and speed of resolving customer issues. For example, Meta allows you to respond to both Facebook and Instagram queries. Other third-party platforms allow you to collate all social platforms in one place, making it easy to manage multiple platforms.
Determine how you will measure and report social customer service efforts
Reporting and measuring your efforts for social customer service activities are essential for gauging your performance. Identify and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as customer retention, response rate and resolved issues and record this in a format which is easy to analyse.
Another way to do this is by making use of customer satisfaction surveys. The data collected is direct, and will highlight specific areas that need improvement.
Social media allows for vast opportunities for delivering top-notch customer service. Using social platforms, for this reason, is a great way to help any company or organisation grow. Keeping track of all customer incoming messages across all platforms, along with posting content can be an overwhelming task.
At Volume Marketing, we offer a range of services to help you keep on top of your social media in a way that is tailored to your business needs, customers, and prospects. If you’re looking to enhance your social customer service – contact us here to see how we can help.