Social media customer service is exactly what it sounds like: it is customer service provided through the channel of social media.
Having good social media customer service is no longer a luxury feature, rather with the growing popularity of these platforms, it has become a necessity for companies if they wish to survive among today’s competition.
Here is a guide that outlines all the things you need to take care of in order to provide great social media customer service:
1. Be on the right platforms
There are a lot of social media platforms out there. Knowing your customer base and figuring out what platforms they are most likely to use in their interactions with your company can be an integral part in providing good social media customer service.
If your company is geared toward providing services toward elderly people, it is unlikely that they would be using apps like Snapchat and Instagram. On the other hand, if your consumer base mainly consists of teens and young adults then having a weak presence on these apps can have a detrimental impact on your customer relations.
42% of consumers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes. Not being on the right platforms may result in queries going unanswered. And according to Controversocial, 88 percent of consumers are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered.
The best strategy would be to have accounts on all major platforms and then focus efforts on those platforms where the most engagements are observed.
2. Have a dedicated team
Social media customer service can be overwhelming if proper preparations are not made to deal with the inflow of engagements.
In order to avoid being caught off-guard by the sheer number of mentions about your company on social platforms, it is best to have a dedicated team specifically to deal with such interactions.
3. Create a plan of action
On these social media platforms, you will most likely get to see a variety of comments being posted about your brand.
Having previously thought out guidelines on how to respond to the different types of remarks will not only save you a lot of time but will also help in providing satisfying answers to the consumers’ queries.
You need to decide how you will respond to people who have a genuine complaint, trolls that are just trying to get a response out of you, and others who may have different opinions about your products.
4. Be quick to respond
As mentioned previously, , 42 percent of consumers expect a response to their customer service inquiry within the hour. Of this group, 17 percent expect a response in minutes. Not responding in time can lead to a poor customer service experience by the consumers. And according to Oracle, 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
Replying to customer interactions on social media quickly can be a daunting task given the sheer amount of mentions a company, especially if it’s a big corporation, can receive on a daily basis.
These features can be programmed to respond automatically when certain types of questions are asked. Strategically using these bots can be a game changer. The tricky part is deciding when to make use of these features and when to have manual engagements with the customers.
Excessive use of these features can drive customers away.
5. Try and respond to everything
Another major issue that will arise when you engage in social media customer service is that it is very likely that you will be flooded with comments and complaints by consumers.
Some of these will be consumers who have genuine concerns while some will be trolls who are simply looking to get a response out of you. This is where the plan of action comes into play.
The mindset that you should have is to respond to each and every mention. To manage this load, you can choose to decide what type of engagements can be automated and what type of engagements need to be dealt with manually.
Similarly, you should know what type of comments deserve a standard reply and what type of comments demand personal attention.
The aim with the plan of action should always be to anticipate every type of comment that can be made about your products and services so that you are never caught off guard by a remark. The more elaborate the plan, the fewer amount of comments that will go unanswered.
6. Have a positive approach
Something that differs social media customer service from other forms of customer service is that with the latter, the interaction is observed by the consumer with the complaint and the brand handling the issue only.
However, with social media customer service, thousands of other users on the platform are monitoring the interaction. This can either be seen as a disadvantage or as an opportunity to show off your great customer service skills and win over the masses.
Always being positive, even when the customer is in the wrong, is a practice that all brands looking to build a good image should observe.
7. Know when to take things private
Another very important skill to have in social media customer service is knowing when certain matters can be dealt with better in private. However, this is not to say that all complaints should be directed to the DMs.
There are certain instances where the company has a chance to show off their great customer service skills to the world. In these scenarios, replies should always be made publicly.
A smart customer service officer is one who can differentiate between these moments and engage the customer on the appropriate forum.