How to use social media for customer service the right way

Hoe social media op de juiste manier te gebruiken voor klantenservice

As one of the fastest-growing customer service channels, there’s a lot of pressure on brands to implement customer support through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And it’s not hard to see why – after all, it’s where 67% of consumers now seek out resolutions to their issues.

In addition, there are many other benefits to using social channels for customer support – it’s instant, it’s public, it’s free, it boosts engagement with your followers, and can even win over new potential customers… if you get it right. Here’s how to make sure you do!

Advantages of social media for customer service

It’s where your customers are spending time anyway

Perhaps the biggest advantage of social media for customer service is that these are platforms your customers are already comfortable and familiar with. Allowing your customer to interact with you ‘on their own turf’ is a great way to increase customer satisfaction.

It’s available everywhere

Social media companies put millions of dollars into designing mobile apps that are fast, intuitive, and easy to use on the go. It would be foolish not to take advantage of that tech to engage with your customers.

It’s public

When you manage to fix a client’s issue on any other channel, only you and the customer will ever know about it. On social media, however, every successful resolution is there for the world to see. And with your online store just a click away, that can be a great way to increase sales.

It’s instant

With the right support team in place, social media platforms allow your customers to get real time help and advice.

How to use social media for customer service the right way

With all these advantages, however, come a number of potential pitfalls.

1. Train your support staff on handling difficult customers or complex queries

For example, the public nature of social media is awesome when things go well – but can be a PR disaster when things don’t. Training your support staff on how to deal with serious complaints is therefore absolutely critical.

A good rule of thumb to follow when dealing with a particularly irate or difficult customer on social media is:

  • Remain absolutely professional. If the customer is being rude and unreasonable, but you keep coming back with calm, rational and helpful responses, the public will side with you.
  • Know when to take things private. If it looks like an issue is going to take a lot of going back and forth to resolve, consider taking the conversation into private or direct messaging instead.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

While the majority of modern consumers might prefer social media as a support channel, it’s still important to offer other options. This is especially true if your target market consists of older persons, or your offering tends to appeal to a very wide range of demographics.

Not only do you need to carefully research which social media channels your audience prefers, you also need to make sure other channels are available. These might include options like email, WhatsApp and live chat services, as well as good old-fashioned telephonic support.

3. Be responsive

You know what’s worse for your brand image than a negative customer interaction on social media? A customer who gets no response at all.

There are a number of ways this can happen. For instance, the customer might post their query in a comment on a random post somewhere, rather than directly on your main page where your support team can’t miss it.

Making sure you receive email alerts for any activity on your page (and that you have a clear system for assigning and dealing with each one) is a good place to start. In addition, you should also have a brand mention and social media mention monitoring system in place. This way, any time your company or product’s name is posted somewhere online, you’ll know about it and can respond quickly.

4. Make use of auto responders

If your business is growing rapidly, or you tend to see big seasonal spikes in activity, your support staff can get overwhelmed. Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to create auto responders that let the customer know you’re aware of their issue and will get back to them as soon as possible.

Another good tactic to use if you simply aren’t able to reply instantly to every single question is to point the customer somewhere they can find the answer themselves. This might be a specific product page, or your website’s FAQ.

5. Set meaningful goals

Offering customer support through social media just because you can (or feel you should) is not the best approach. Define some clear objectives about what you want to achieve – for example, improving your response time or increasing your customer retention rate. This makes it much easier to track your progress and measure your success.

In conclusion

  • There are significant benefits to providing customer support through social channels
  • Adequate staff training on how to deal with issues publicly is crucial
  • Make sure customers have access to other support channels if they don’t want to use social media
  • Use the right tech: leverage tracking, autoresponder, and monitoring tools to ensure customer queries never fall through the cracks