Customers today have a broad platter of options to choose from when it comes to service channels. All major businesses ensure that they have a knowledge base, chatbots, and as it is in this case — social media customer service to reduce the burden on email and telephonic support.
And it makes sense for your brand to have an active social media team. It’s the most easily accessible and immediate channel. And regardless of whether you have a plan or a strategy for delivering support, customers, you’ll discover, will reach out to you by their own volition.
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Social Media in Customer Service: The Numbers
If you’re looking for reasons why you should invest in social media customer service solutions, there’s one simple answer for it: your customers want you to. Here are some statistics to support that notion:
- More than 3.6 billion people are active social media users, and by 2025, the number is expected to surpass 4.41 billion.
- 64% of your customers would rather text you than call you for support.
- At least 45% of the brands take more than 5 days to reply to messages sent to their Facebook pages.
- 60% of netizens confirm that bad customer service is one of the biggest concerns while they make an online purchase.
- At least one-third of Americans have used social media to complain about a brand or its customer service.
The Right Way To Go About Social Media Customer Service
There are few brands that make the most efficient use of social media when delivering support. Here are a few suggestions to get you on the right track.
Leverage Social Media Listening
Social media listening is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal, and as it turns out, the most underutilized. It’s all about analyzing the conversations on social media platforms that follow your brand or industry, and it helps you evaluate what customers think about when they mention your brand.
Learn To Handle Negative Comments
A complaint about a brand seldom goes unnoticed on social media. The best strategy for you would be to handle such situations positively. Make it apparent that you care for their opinion and that their voice and feedback are vital and help you grow. Replying to customers by their first name is also good practice.
Moreover, you should focus on developing a customer advocate base. This will constitute a group of trusted customers who will speak in your favor if ever the need arises.
Adapt With The Flow
As some platforms gain traction every once in a while, some of the others wane away slowly. Again, these platforms keep updating their rules and formats, and as a brand, you must stay on top to evolve with the tech space surrounding you.
Creating A Social Media Customer Service Strategy
According to data from Statista, 47% of US consumers keep brands that promptly respond to customer service complaints on social media in a favorable light. Your responses are being highlighted and shown to a broad spectrum of the public, including direct messages in private chats. So, to save yourself from any glaring errors that will harm your reputation, your business needs a solid social media customer service strategy. Here are some of the key components:
Order Your Social Channels
It is important to first find the social media platforms your customers are using. You can learn that quite easily by running a short survey where you ask them to rank the platforms they use the most. Based on the data collected, you can prioritize and order each social channel by the expected volume of inquiries.
Draw A Clear Escalation Process
You must designate roles and draw out a clear hierarchy in the customer service journey. For instance, there should be an agent responding directly to customers on these platforms. If the customer needs or requests an escalation, there should be a manager or a supervisor that the point person can contact, and so on.
Integrate CRM With Your Socials
The same CRM software that you use for product, sales, and marketing should also be used for recording customer service cases. Adding social profiles on CRM can also help in getting a deeper insight into customer data.
Clarify Your Working Hours And Response Time
It’s necessary to manage customer expectations — more so if you are under-equipped. As you plan to offer support via social channels, ensure that your working hours are communicated just like the expected response time.
Switch To Direct Messages When Necessary
The most obvious instinct when dealing with customer queries and complaints on social media is to respond publicly. The idea behind this is that people appreciate transparency, and you don’t want them to think you have something to hide. However, you must also establish cases where it’s best to go private. For instance, it can be to resolve issues with a user account for which you’ll need their personal information. Also, private channels are better when there’s back-and-forth dialogue required.
Social Media Customer Service Best Practices
Here are some of the social media best practices when using it for offering customer service for your brand’s sustainable growth.
Respond To All Comments, Questions, And Feedback
This is the single most important component of your social media customer service game plan. You need to acknowledge every post and every comment, for the simple reason that the customer wants to be heard, and not replying implies you’re actively ignoring them.
Training The Team Is Necessary
Tending to customers on social media is no joke, and you can’t afford to have interns take care of it. While it boils down to your industry and the employees handling the service division, you should consider training them. It is also essential that the customer service and the social media teams are on the same page, where cross-training comes in handy.
Reduce Response Time
Mostly live chat and phone support aren’t expected to be active all day around, but for some reason, that’s not the case with social media. As many as 42% of customers expect a response within an hour on these platforms. Hence, without a doubt, you must strive to respond to reviews and inquiries ASAP.
Gone are the days when we had to rely on email or telephone support for customer service solely. Today, social media has become our go-to avenue whenever we want brands to resolve our complaints or respond to our requests. And that raises the question of how efficiently and methodically businesses can deliver the same.