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In today’s digital world, social media has evolved from merely a platform for promotional content to an indispensable tool for customer service. It’s no longer just about broadcasting updates; it’s about providing customers with a direct line to engage with your business, seek assistance and feel valued.

And there’s proof – there’s a load of research out there that showcases the growing significance of social media customer service. With 76% of clients expecting a response on social media platforms within 24 hours, the need for swift and attentive support is clear. As well as that, failing to respond to customer complaints on social media can decrease consumer loyalty by up to 50%.

So what does this mean for your business? Neglecting your social media channels can have serious repercussions for your brand image. Unresolved customer issues left visible on these platforms can escalate quickly, tarnishing your company’s reputation.

In this article, we’re exploring what social media customer service actually is and offering practical tips to help you enhance your customer support game – starting today!

What is social media customer service?

So, what actually is social media customer service? It involves using platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and others to address enquiries, resolve issues and engage directly with customers.

But why does it matter? Nowadays, customers expect rapid and personal interactions with their preferred brands, and social media offers an easy way for them to start the conversation. Research shows that 67% of customers find contacting support on social media convenient, which only goes to show the significance of social media in meeting consumer expectations.

By being present and responsive on these platforms, businesses can swiftly resolve customer issues, gather valuable feedback and cultivate a sense of community among customers.

In fact, 1 in 3 users on X purchased a product or service after a positive customer service exchange on the platform, emphasising the significant impact of effective social media support on conversion rates and overall business success.

To effectively manage social media customer service, it’s crucial to integrate these channels with your existing customer service operations. This ensures that all customer interactions are tracked and quickly addressed, maintaining a seamless and efficient support process.

In essence, social media customer service is about more than just answering questions—it’s about creating meaningful connections and delivering value to your customers in real time.

Ready for some actionable steps you can take to upgrade your social media customer service?

How to use social media to improve customer service

Respond to all feedback

Engaging with customer feedback promptly is vital for building positive relationships and showing dedication to customer satisfaction. Ignoring negative feedback can harm your brand image and drive customers away.

A 2022 McKinsey study revealed that customers spend 20-40% more with companies that respond to comments and complaints on social media. On the flip side, companies that neglect these channels experience a 15% higher churn rate than those that engage with their customers.

Below is a great example of swift social media customer service from Netflix. The company replied almost instantly to a frustrated customer on X, offering helpful troubleshooting steps while taking ownership of the issue.

Netflix – social media customer service example

Whether feedback is positive or negative, responding quickly demonstrates that you care about your customers’ opinions. By addressing questions and comments, you show that you value their input and are committed to resolving issues. And you don’t need to have an answer straight away, simply acknowledging feedback goes a long way towards maintaining positive relationships with your customers.

It’s essential to handle different types of feedback with care. Instead of engaging in arguments, focus on providing helpful solutions that leave both you and your customer satisfied. Prioritising customer satisfaction with respectful and empathetic responses helps build trust and loyalty, boosting your brand reputation.

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Be present where your customers are

The most successful brands are active on multiple social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Leveraging different social channels is crucial for multiple reasons.

Firstly, utilising multiple social media platforms increases your business’s reach by accessing a larger and more diverse audience. Different platforms have distinct user demographics, allowing you to connect with a wider range of potential customers and boost brand awareness.

Secondly, by being present across multiple networks, you can meet customers at their preferred digital touchpoints, enhancing their customer experience and satisfaction.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, an active presence on all relevant social media platforms is essential to staying competitive in today’s digital landscape. Customers expect a strong social media presence, and if you fail to deliver, you risk falling behind your competitors.

To achieve the best outcomes in social media customer service, aim to provide a consistent and seamless experience across all the platforms you use. By being present and active where your customers are, you demonstrate your commitment to meeting their needs and as a result, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Create internal guidelines

Establishing internal guidelines is crucial for maintaining consistency and effectiveness in your social media customer service interactions. These guidelines should cover protocols for dealing with different types of comments, including not-so-positive ones, and define the appropriate tone and language consistent with your brand’s identity.

Additionally, it’s important to specify which issues can be handled publicly and which should be addressed privately. As a rule of thumb, we generally recommend dealing with customer enquiries or positive feedback publicly to showcase your top-tier customer service. In contrast, sensitive matters or complaints requiring personal information should be handled privately to maintain professionalism and protect your customer’s privacy.

For example, on Facebook, you can respond to a public comment with a private message, moving the conversation to Facebook Messenger for a more confidential interaction. After sending your private message, a note will appear under the original comment stating, “Page responded privately.” This shows other users that you addressed the request, even though your response is not visible. Similarly, on Instagram or X, you can respond via Direct Messages (DMs) and add a public comment indicating that you’ve reached out privately to resolve the issue.

With clear guidelines in place, your business can ensure that customer interactions are handled consistently and professionally, leading to positive outcomes and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Take a cue from Zappos, the renowned shoe and clothing retailer, who publicly apologised for the poor experience a customer had while proposing to continue the conversation privately to fully resolve their issue. This approach shows accountability and a commitment to resolving problems while maintaining a positive brand image.

Zappos – social media customer service example

By implementing these guidelines, you can navigate social media interactions more effectively, demonstrating your commitment to excellent customer service and enhancing your brand’s reputation.

Create a dedicated account for customer service

Creating separate social media accounts dedicated to customer service can make handling enquiries smoother and boost brand visibility.

By keeping customer messages separate from regular brand posts, businesses can focus better on addressing issues promptly. This setup ensures that customer questions don’t get lost among other content. Also, assigning specific team members to manage this account ensures consistent and personalised responses, tailored to each customer’s needs.

Take inspiration from Spotify, which maintains a dedicated customer service handle on X for resolving customer issues efficiently.

Spotify dedicated customer service handle on X

In general, this approach is better suited to large companies that have a strong and energetic presence on social media – if you’re a smaller business with a quieter presence, two accounts might be overkill.

Set clear expectations

Setting clear expectations is crucial for delivering smooth and reliable social media customer service. By clearly stating response times and service hours, you help customers know what to expect, which keeps them satisfied and reduces frustration.

First, decide on your availability on different social media platforms. Will you be available on Facebook and X between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. every day? Will you respond to all customer service requests within 20 minutes? Setting these specific hours lets customers know when they can expect support, alleviating potential frustration, and gives you goals to work towards when assisting customers online.

Align your response times to the nature of each platform. On fast-paced sites like X, a quick, concise response is more valuable than on platforms like Facebook, where detailed replies might be more necessary. Establish internal goals for acknowledging social media posts, such as “Thanks for your message… our customer service team will be in touch within 24 hours,” and set targets for resolving basic customer queries promptly.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow for auto-generated responses to be sent to enquiries – make use of these as the first step of your customer support processes and you’re already on the path to success.

Remember, customers don’t expect every company to offer the same level of social media support. How you use social media for customer service will depend on your team size and resources. The key is to set realistic expectations. Make it clear when your customer service team is available and if there are additional resources that can help customers get answers faster, let them know.

By clearly communicating your availability and response times, you manage customer expectations effectively, leading to a better overall customer experience.

Implement a brand monitoring system

Implementing a robust brand monitoring system helps your business stay ahead of conversations about your brand and address customer concerns proactively.

By using social media monitoring tools like Mention or Hootsuite, you can track mentions, comments and discussions surrounding your brand in real-time.

This allows you to identify emerging issues and trends swiftly, intervening promptly to resolve any potential issues before they escalate.

Spotify showcases proactive communication by showing awareness of any issues and reassuring customers that they’re actively working to resolve them. This approach not only helps ease any growing problems but also enables you to manage your business’s online reputation effectively, preserving brand image and credibility in the online world.

SpotifyCares proactive social customer service

Depending on the volume of customer feedback and the size of your team, employing technology could be beneficial in handling the influx of interactions on social media. Specific customer service platforms can monitor social media queries and convert them into actionable support tickets, streamlining the process of addressing issues while ensuring timely responses to customers on their preferred platforms.

An omnichannel customer service platform can provide valuable context, such as:

  • Open or past conversations with this customer
  • Who the customer previously interacted with and the result
  • Recurring issues the customer has had
  • Past attempts to reach support through other customer service channels

By having this data at hand, customer service agents can reduce the back-and-forth with customers, making interactions smoother and more efficient.

Be proactive

Social media customer service thrives on being proactive and taking action before issues arise.

One effective strategy is empowering customers with resources for self-service. By creating FAQs, how-to videos and educational content, your business can address common questions and concerns, allowing customers to find solutions independently.

Sharing these resources on social media ensures widespread accessibility, building a culture of self-reliance among your customers. This proactive approach not only streamlines customer service efforts but also reduces support enquiries, ultimately strengthening relationships with your audience.

Learn from customer feedback

Your social media customer service offers a valuable opportunity to learn and improve. However, it’s important to take a step back from time to time and assess your overall performance. Whether you do this weekly, monthly or annually, taking a big-picture look at your social media customer service allows you to recognise patterns and identify recurring problems.

This reflection can help you spot roadblocks that slow down your customer service team and highlight social media customer service superstars whose techniques could benefit your entire customer support team.

Looking for some proactive ways customer service reps can engage with potentially upset customers?

  • Respond to Indirect Mentions: Engage with users who haven’t directly tagged you or asked for help. Answering brand mentions or comments that don’t require a response but might benefit from one shows you’re paying attention.
  • Promote Positive Interactions: Highlight positive interactions by sharing them or liking helpful exchanges between customers. This not only acknowledges their efforts but also promotes a positive community.
  • Follow Up: Check in with customers after resolving their issues. A simple “How is everything?” can make a big difference in how valued they feel.

One of the best outcomes for customer service reps is turning a negative situation into a positive one. By learning from customer feedback and using these proactive strategies, you can enhance your social media customer service and build stronger relationships with your audience.

Need help with social media management?

Navigating social media customer service can be challenging and time-consuming. Luckily, we’re here to help.

Partnering with a digital agency like Scoot means tapping into the skills of a creative team well-versed in the world of online marketing and social media management. We specialise in creating tailored strategies to elevate your social media customer service, all while aligning with your broader business objectives – no matter what this looks like to you.

Let us drive your success

Focus on scaling your business – let us take the reins on managing your social media success. Reach out today to discover how we can enhance your social media customer service efforts.

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