Social media is huge. Facebook alone hosts over a quarter of the world’s population. As such, it’s likely that a large number of your customers use social media in some way. In fact, according to Sprout Social, 90% of surveyed consumers stated that they have used social media to communicate with a business. More and more consumers are beginning to look for customer service on social media – and they expect companies to be on there, ready to engage.
Consumers are moving away from traditional communication channels and wanting more immediate and convenient responses from brands. To keep up with these changing consumer demands, find out where your customers spend time online and join those social networks. This way, you’ll be able to provide support in the right place.
Here’s how to provide great customer service on social media.
Ensure to be responsive
As is often said over here at Handlr: responsiveness is crucial. This means that social media queries should be answered as quickly as possible. Generally, social media seems to sit somewhere between live chat and email in terms of expected speed of response, with a study by The Northridge Group revealing that 42% of consumers expect a response within an hour. For complaints, a huge 72% of Twitter users expect a response within an hour.
On social media, the consumer, rather than the brand, has the most influence over the brand’s image. This means that ignoring mentions of your name can have a negative effect – a study by Conversocial revealed that 88% of consumers were less likely to purchase from a brand who left questions unanswered on social media.
A quick search for your company’s name into social media will reveal exactly what your customers are saying about you. Use this to learn what they’ve enjoyed about your brand and what they’re annoyed about. Not only should all customer service enquiries be addressed, but it’s also good practice to acknowledge all customer posts. Every check-in, comment, status and update should be acknowledged – a simple “we’re glad you enjoyed it!” or even just a “like” will go far. Customers like to be heard!
Use social media to monitor customers
Over a third of consumers have admitted to turning to social media to complain about a brand. As a business, it’s good practice to search your name for mentions of your business and address these complaints. Don’t delete these negative comments, unless they’re clearly spam or violate community guidelines, as this is likely to further damage your relationship with that customer. Instead, view these comments as an opportunity to help that customer and repair your brand’s image. Ensure your customer feels that their complaint has been heard, that you care about them and that you want to fix the problem.
Closely monitoring your social media pages and helping your customers wherever possible is a great way to build a relationship with them, while improving your brand’s image. Tools such as Hootsuite or Mention enable a business to monitor mentions of their name as they’re posted. These tools provide a live feed of tweets or statuses which contain keywords that you can determine. This allows you to easily see all comments made by your customers – allowing you to interact with them quickly and maintain speedy responses.
Know when to answer publicly or privately
It’s important to note that not all customer service queries can be handled effectively or appropriately over social media. Some queries may require a long response (which is a problem when Twitter is restricted to 280 characters per tweet), or involve a lot of back and forth replies. Some questions would also be need to be answered privately, such as queries relating to an account or involving sensitive data. In these circumstances, it would be better to take the exchange into a private message.
Don’t neglect other customer service channels
It’s often the case that companies will take a long time to reply to emails but will answer social media messages instantly. As social media is so public, brands can become concerned that consumers will notice slow replies and, as a result, put more effort into social media than other channels. All customers are important, and should all be treated with the same level of care. This means that emails and phone calls should also be answered promptly, even though the speed of your response can’t be seen by other customers.
When done right, social media can be a highly effective channel for customer service. Do you use social media as a customer service channel?