Social media is far more than a place to post your company’s updates; it’s a channel for customer service where you can better serve consumers and keep them coming back.
Social media customer service is crucial: 89% of consumers have gone on to a competitor after a negative customer experience and 45% of those people will share it on social. If you engage with and respond to your clients over social media, it’s likely they will spend 20-40% more with your company. These are wonderful statistics for small businesses who may not have the bandwidth for a huge customer service strategy.
Social media customer service is the holy grail of ensuring customer satisfaction and handling “bad press” immediately. Here are the four best practices on how to do it:
1. Have a Plan
Social media customer service doesn’t magically happen. It is something that needs to be strategized, planned, and implemented.
To get started, consider these key steps:
- Audit what social media platforms your company has and make sure every single one is beneficial to your business. If you have five different social media accounts, you need to be prepared to have someone monitoring all five. If you have limited time, narrow your focus to one or two accounts.
- Choose a primary social media customer service manager, or a small team, that will check your social media channels hourly throughout the day. This can be anyone on your staff with access to the account.
- Create guidelines that set criteria for the voice and tone of your company and how it will engage with consumers.
- Have an internal system that outlines how to deal with complaints. Who needs to be informed? Will there be a meeting to discuss learnings? Is there a discount or freebie that can be given? All of these are questions to consider.
2. Reply Quickly and Authentically
One of the biggest perks of social media is accessibility. People don’t have the barrier of a phone call or an email. They feel as though they have access to your company 24/7 with social media. Realistic or not, 42% of consumers contacting you via social media expect a response in 60 minutes or less.
While a real human being is always preferred, it is unrealistic for someone to be monitoring your accounts at all times. Try making sure someone, if not multiple people, are checking your social media channels throughout the day and providing customer service.
If time is a concern, make it a priority to check your messages at least twice a day during work hours; Once when you get into work and once before you leave. Any response is better than no response. During off-hours, you can set up response bots on platforms like Facebook with helpful information or have a visible link that leads people to your contact page.
BONUS: Automation tools are a great way to monitor social media engagement and have all your accounts organized in one spot, Saving you lots of time. Here are some of our favorite automation tools!
3. Be Personable
If you are taking the time and effort to make sure a real employee is engaging with your customers, make sure you take full advantage of this opportunity by being personable. Too often customers assume they are talking to bots or employees with rigid scripts.
Here are some tips to personalize each response to a consumer:
- Include their first name in a greeting.
- Don’t provide a copy and paste response for social media managers.
- Instead, encourage natural conversation that fits your company’s voice.
- Sign off with your name so that the follower feels heard and that they have someone to contact if they need further assistance.
Netflix CS did a great job using these tips in an example below. Notice the natural tone, timely assistance, and personal sign-off:
4. Prepare for the Worst
Customer service means a lot in a world where consumers are faced with endless options and alternatives. If they are not happy with their experience at your company, they will go somewhere else. In fact, 56% of people will never come back!
Things will inevitably go wrong within your company. Delays, mistakes, and confusion can all lead to dissatisfied customers regardless of your company’s intentions. Social media customer service is the perfect way to bounce back from unhappy customers.
If you have a customer that expresses a negative comment on social media…don’t panic! This is an opportunity for your company to publicly handle it so that not only the unhappy customer satisfied but will avoid further reluctance from potential customers that stumble across their complaint.
If you receive a negative comment, here are a couple of actions you could take:
- Notify relevant staff.
- Reply to the negative comment with a personable response that displays empathy and addresses their concerns.
- If possible, privately message them with an exclusive promotional offer.
- Provide them with contact information for further questions or concerns.
By creating a social media customer service plan with set guidelines that display genuine care for consumers, your company will build loyalty and trust with current AND potential customers!