How Important is Customer Service Through Social Media to Your Overall Strategy?

When a customer has either a positive or negative experience with your business, they look to social media to voice their opinions. Many customers are looking for real-time responses within an hour or less. This expectation is now our reality, and as businesses with a social media presence, we need to be prepared.

Social media will only continue to rapidly grow as a communication channel for business, yet brands are finding it challenging to respond. Businesses are expected to become more and more digital and present online, but are you prepared to handle customer support through social media? Many businesses and agencies are focused on creating their accounts, gaining a following and then publishing great content. These are great goals, but social media outreach is all about the engagement, so we need to take it one step further and determine how we are going to reach our audiences and continue to interact with them in a productive way.. Gone are the days where we pick up the phone and wait on hold to voice our opinion, concern or ask a question. Instead, we turn to social media to craft a message in as little as 10 seconds, tag the right brands, add in a hashtag and away goes our comment. As quickly as we send out the message, we expect a response.

“Companies that use Twitter as a social care channel are seeing a 19 percent increase in customer satisfaction,” according to Forbes.

We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to connect with us, creating a seamless process and hopefully minimizing response times. We need to remember that customer service through social media isn’t always something negative or a complaint, it can be a praising tweet, Instagram or Facebook post, or a positive comment on a product or service offered. Again, the goal here is to make it as easy as possible to reach a brand through social. A customer is then more likely to tag you in a post or thank you for the service, which will then be seen by others online.

Determine the correct roles and procedures

Are your customer service representatives equipped and trained to handle the job? Do they understand the urgency of responding to customers on all social channels in a timely manner? Something to think about would be creating a social media plan that all employees, especially those who are on the front lines, have and feel comfortable utilizing to help respond with the right voice and message. Developing a plan is important and should be in place BEFORE an issue escalates to a crisis state. It’s important for your customer service team, to understand who is in charge of each channel, if there’s a response chain to follow or if one person is in charge of all accounts. Creating a response time goal to strive for is another good way to help ensure your customers are getting their desired, quick response within a pre-set amount of time that you determine. Next in your social media management plan, is determining if you would like a separate Twitter handle for customer service. This handle will show your customers that you are serious and ready to help, It also allows negative comments,customer issues and feedback to be directed out of your main business stream and into a separate bucket. Once you respond back to a complaint, take it to a direct message format instead of commenting back and forth. You will have no character restraints and can get the customer the information they need quicker and easier vs. restricted public commenting. In addition to developing a plan, utilizing the right social media management tool, such as Manalto’s Enterprise Solution, can also help for central visibility and better control of multiple social media platforms and pages.

Always remember, even though social media can be more casual than other communication channels, you still need to:

  1. Show empathy.
  2. Answer all questions with care.
  3. Be friendly.
  4. Make it personal.

Social media customer service: The right way

Customer service through social media platforms is not only important, but imperative for your business in order to engage effectively online and be available to your audience. Delivering a quick response, resolving the issue and leaving your customer feeling satisfied, will only help to positively grow your brand and increase brand loyalty. Developing a social media management strategy for your employees to follow will help ensure consistent brand messaging and communication online. We challenge you to create a plan that will drive loyalty and consistent customer service outreach, and—of course—happy customers!



This article was originally featured in IABC’s CW Magazine and can be found here.