Social media is good for more than just sharing pictures of cats and promoting your business. It can also be a powerful tool to help you keep customers happy. In order to do that, however, you’ll need a crash course on how to tackle customer service via social media.
Managing customer expectations on social platforms is different from handling this task in person or through email. Every interaction has the potential to go viral, so you’ll want to make sure you always put your best foot forward. That way, your followers can walk away happy, and you’ll build a stronger reputation.
In this article, we’ll go over four tips to help you provide excellent customer service through social media. Let’s get to work!
1. Respond to Customers Promptly
When a customer asks for your help, they usually expect a quick answer. That applies to any medium, including phone calls, emails, and of course, social media.
Let’s say, for example, that someone replies to one of your restaurant’s Twitter posts with a comment like this:
The best-case scenario is that you reply to this person within a few hours or less. At the very least, you should be answering any queries within 24 hours. What you shouldn’t do is get back to customers days later or not at all, since that tells them you don’t pay attention to social media.
The great news is that most social media platforms will send you notifications when you get new interactions and engagement. Paying attention to these messages on a daily basis enables you to stay on top of the latest activity, and get back to customers promptly.
2. Don’t Use Cookie-Cutter Answers for Customer Questions
One of our biggest pet peeves when it comes to social media is businesses that take ‘corporate speak’ too far. To give you an example, imagine that you run a web hosting company, and you get this message via Twitter:
“My latest backups were deleted and I’m not sure why, can you help me figure this out?”
There are a million ways to answer that question, but here are two common types of responses:
- “We periodically delete backups to avoid clutter. We value your business a lot, and we’re sorry to hear you had a bad experience!”
- “Sorry to hear that! 🙁 We’ll get in touch with you via DM, so we can figure out what happened and help you recover those files.”
The first answer sounds like it came from a bot, or a support tech who couldn’t care less. The second reply is proactive, sounds like it was written by an actual human being, and promises that you’ll help the customer find a solution to their problem.
When you have to reply to dozens or even hundreds of comments, it can be tempting to fall into the habit of using ‘template’ answers. However, customers want to feel like they’re being taken seriously, so it’s vital to personalize your responses whenever possible.
To be fair, you can get away with cookie-cutter answers for some interactions. If someone tweets at you: “I love your products!”, a simple “Thanks, John Doe! We’re happy to hear that :)” can do the trick. However, real questions require more thoughtful answers.
3. Know When to Move the Conversation Away from Social Media
As we mentioned before, one of the best things about social media is that it enables you to answer customer queries publicly. However, there are plenty of cases when you’ll want to move conversations to private messages, in order to better protect user information.
To explain what we mean, let’s go over two examples of customer inquiries. One is a perfect fit for a public answer, and the second is the kind of question you’d want to tackle via a private message or email:
- “Hey, can you tell me when you’re going to have X product in stock again?”
- “I’m having problems logging into my account, can you give me a hand?”
The first question is something other users would probably be interested in, and there’s no harm in giving an answer openly. In the second case, however, the best move would be to invite the user to continue the discussion in private. After all, you’ll probably need some personal information in order to identify which account they’re talking about.
Keep in mind that even when you transition to private messages, it’s smart to leave a public response as well. That way, other users won’t think you simply ignored the question. In these cases, something as simple as “We’ll send you a DM to sort this out right away!” will do.
4. Monitor Your Social Media Mentions
Earlier, we explained that many social media platforms will send you notifications when you receive various engagement markers, such as likes or mentions. Using these features is the simplest way to know every time someone interacts with your profiles,.
However, there will also be a lot of times when people mention your business without tagging your profile specifically. It’s easy for those mentions to fly under the radar, and thus go unanswered.
What we recommend is to use each social media platform’s search feature periodically, and look for people mentioning your business:
By doing this, you can get a better idea of what people think about your business and brand. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even take the time to answer some of those mentions (as long as they’re recent!), which can earn you additional followers.
Almost every business is on social media, yet a lot of them don’t put much effort into how they interact with customers. If you can provide quality customer support via social platforms, you’ll be able to stand out and keep users engaged. The great thing about engaged followers is that they usually stick around, which is beneficial for any business.
Becoming proficient in customer service on social media involves implementing these four strategies:
- Respond to users promptly.
- Don’t use cookie-cutter answers for customer questions.
- Know when to move the conversation to private messaging.
- Monitor your social media mentions.
Do you have any questions about how to tackle customer service using social media? Share them with us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.