It’s safe to say that social media has changed everything — from the way people communicate to the way they buy. Because of this, customer service has become more important than ever, especially on social media channels. As a business owner, it’s imperative that you have a way to provide great customer service on social media, quickly and professionally, because it’s what customers expect.
Not sure where to start? The following guide will help you understand the rise in customer service on social media, develop a plan for responding promptly, increase customer satisfaction, and generate positive engagement with customers. By using our tips, you’ll have an easier time engaging with your audience and coming up with a foolproof way to make sure they’re happy.
The Rise of Customer Service on Social Media
Zendesk reports that 60% of customers think the most important part of good customer support is solving issues quickly. Oftentimes, this means turning to social media channels rather than email or phone support, under the assumption that issues will get resolved in a more timely manner.
So even if your brand doesn’t already have a way to provide customer support through social media, customers could be leaving comments, sending you direct messages, and posting online reviews about your brand. It’s important to pay attention to what they’re saying so you can provide support wherever needed and preserve your brand’s online reputation.
The faster you can respond to a customer’s concern, the better off you’ll be — both in terms of keeping your customer happy and demonstrating responsiveness as part of your brand’s value proposition. Responding within an hour or less is ideal during normal business hours. Being responsive also can help to improve your local SEO and search engine rankings.
To account for messages received after hours or on weekends when people are using social media platforms like Facebook Messenger or Instagram DMs, make sure you have auto-responses in place. You’ll need to connect your Instagram Business account to Mega Business Suite to set up auto-replies and away messages. With these messages in place, you can at least let customers know when to expect a response (and hopefully maintain some work-life balance while you’re at it).
Watch Your Language
Yes, this means literally watching what you say, but pay attention to the tone of your responses, grammar, spelling, and the words you choose. Don’t use canned responses; respond with the same voice and tone you would use in person, not a “corporate” voice that might seem stiff and distant. Use names whenever you can, and mention any specifics from their message that lets them know you’re a real person. While it’s smart to use AI technology (aka “bots”) to help address basic questions (more on that next), some questions require real human interaction.
When responding to customers, be polite and honest about what you know or don’t know right away. If it takes more than one response to get all of the information needed, tell the customer upfront that there will be more steps ahead before you can provide them with an answer or resolution to their issue or question — but be sure to let them know when they’ll get their next update from you.
At times, you’ll get customers who are argumentative or confrontational with you. Be as professional as possible to avoid escalating the situation, and be careful not to insult anyone; just address their concerns in a professional manner with no unnecessary rudeness. Also, work to take any conversations offline rather than continuing to post publicly for all the world to see. If necessary, don’t be afraid to let a customer go who clearly isn’t going to be happy no matter what you do.
With social media being such an important tool for customer service and marketing, it’s important to make sure that your company has the right tools in place so that you can answer questions quickly and easily. Here are some ways that you can use technology to help manage the support process.
- Use a tool like Rallio for all your social media management needs. Rallio not only lets you schedule out posts in advance but also pulls in all your social comments and engagements as well as reviews from connected platforms. You’ll have everything in one dashboard and set up notifications so you’re alerted when there’s a new comment, message or review so you don’t miss anything important.
- Incorporate AI into your website to make it easier for people to get answers to FAQ and get help when they need it. You can integrate your chatbot with a customer support platform like Zendesk or Freshdesk to help with managing the support process. This can help to keep some of the support issues off of social media and more contained with your support team.
- Automate the process as much as you can by using auto-responses, as discussed above. Create templates for responding to reviews that can be customized according to the situation by adding names and more personalization. This makes it easier to delegate review responses to your team so nobody has to reinvent the wheel on standard customer responses.
Brand engagement is about building relationships with customers and potential customers. If you’re engaging with your audience on social media, you’re more likely to be seen as a brand that cares about its customers, which can improve your brand image. With that in mind, it’s a best practice to post highly engaging, local content that reveals your brand personality.
In other words, don’t post boring content!
The goal of brand engagement is to make it easy for people to interact with your business and feel like they’re part of the community. This isn’t just about posting photos of your products — it’s about being an active member of the community and sharing relevant photos and videos or useful information that will interest your followers. You’ll find that with a highly engaged community, even negative comments don’t go far. In fact, people are likely to stick up for you even if a negative comment makes its way onto your page!
If you provide excellent service, people will want to share their experiences with others. Some companies have even built entire brands around the idea that people will buy from them because of the way they treat customers on social media.
There are no shortcuts to building an amazing business on social media, but the effort is worth it! The rewards of having happy customers and a great reputation can compound into a powerful marketing force for years to come. So, when the opportunity presents itself, take the time to provide your customers with exceptional customer service on social media, and you will reap the rewards in the long run.