Find out how social media customer service can boost your brand by creating loyal customers advocates. Understand customer expectations and find out how to manage increasing customer service demands.
Providing customer service on public social media pages is becoming more common as digital marketing evolves. Many companies encourage customers to ask for help via social media, even if it means they’re airing complaints in front of the whole world.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how to create a successful social media customer service program by answering some of the most important questions:
- Why is social media customer service a benefit to growing brands?
- How does the quality of customer service affect your brand?
- What do customers expect from customer service on social media?
- How will you meet customer expectations?
We’ll also help you get started with tools that can help you manage your customer service program more efficiently.
The Benefits and Risks of Social Media Customer Service
Encouraging fans to use social media platforms for customer service inquiries can be risky, but the rewards are high if you do it right.
Using social media for customer service helps your brand:
- Communicate directly with your customers
- Show that you’re serious about taking care of customers
- Build a deeper level of trust and a more loyal audience
- Add a nice traffic boost to your social network
- Increase your engagement rates
However, you must be careful, since there are consequences to doing customer service poorly on social media.
For example, 56% of consumers who have a poor customer service experience say they will never use the company again.
The good news is that when companies do it right they can build a thriving community of supportive followers. Loyal customers often develop into brand advocates who respond to public customer complaints with reassuring and helpful messages of their own.
What Do Customers Expect From Social Customer Service?
Building trust within your social communities means meeting ever-increasing expectations by consumers. When adding public customer service into the mix, the bar is set even higher.
Customers expect both speed and knowledge when they ask for help on social media.
Quick Response Times are Critical
For starters, you’ll need to respond quickly to questions and complaints. Social media audiences are demanding in terms of how fast they expect a response from you.
- A State of Service 2017 report by Salesforce found that 54% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect companies to respond to them in real time.
- Nearly three-fourths (73%) of Twitter users who issue a complaint by messaging expect a response within the hour.
- You must reply to 90% of messages within 15 minutes to be awarded Facebook's “Very Responsive” badge.
Customers Value Efficiency and Knowledge
Speed isn’t the only factor used to rate the quality of your customer service. In fact, it’s not even the top priority.
According to Microsoft's State of Global Customer Service Report, the most important customer service priority for consumers in the U.S., in order of importance, is:
- Not being passed on to another agent and having to repeat themselves
- A friendly and knowledgeable customer service agent
- Being able to resolve their issue upon the first contact
Even though you need to be quick, helpful, and efficient within minutes, there are a number of ways to make the process smoother.
Tips For Approaching Customer Service on Social Media
How will you meet demands for quick response times while being friendly, efficient, and intelligent with your customer service?
Here are a few tips that will help you improve the quality of care you offer on social media:
- Create a customer service plan that details how you’ll respond to messages throughout the week.
- Set clear hours of business so people know when they can reach an agent.
- Set “away” messages for off-hours that include a portal where customers can find their own answers to questions or send you an email.
- Use a social media monitoring program to discover mentions of your brand so you can quickly respond to off-page complaints.
- Know when to take the conversation private. If a customer’s issue has to do with personal information, you don’t want them to accidentally reveal private details.
- Ask customers to message you privately and include a link where they can reach you if the conversation requires a one-on-one private discussion.
Finally, remember that you’re interacting with humans in a social platform. Don’t use bots or undertrained employees that risk offering a bad customer service experience.
Social media customer service is a large undertaking that may require social media and customer service management software in order to succeed.
Don’t Forget the Fun
Have a sense of humor and know when to use it (or when not to). Public conversations can turn into fun and memorable occasions that have the potential to create genuine “moments” between you and your customers.
For example, the British grocery store chain Sainsbury's held a pun-filled conversation on Twitter with a customer and turned a checkout issue into a funny exchange.
Don't be afraid to let your business's personality shine through when providing customer service on social media.
Social Media Customer Service Works
There are a lot of responsibilities involved when launching a social media customer service program.
Take the time to plan things out in advance, train your employees, and make use of available tools. This will help keep your customer service program running smoothly.
Take it a step further by understanding customer expectations and developing a plan to exceed them. Learn what tactics have worked for other brands.
If you’re willing to make social customer service a priority, the rewards can be great. You might even discover that it’s the best marketing tool you’ve ever used.