8 Best Practices That Your Social Media Customer Service Strategy Needs to Follow
Getting crazy from listening to the music in an hour queue to get support by the phone is so last-century. Email and self-service are still ok, but only if you don’t need an answer urgently. Otherwise, social media is king.
- 78% of people are ready to buy from a brand after having a positive experience with it on social.
- Ignoring ends up with an increasing churn rate.
- But with the proper treatment, even those who complained about your product can turn into its advocates - 25% of them, to be precise.
Sounds nice, heh?
Especially for you, we’ve collected the best support tips to build better communication with your customers on social media.
1. Choose which channels to prioritize
With a growing number of social media, providing customer support turns into a “quality or quantity” question. Each platform demands you to track comments, messages, and mentions fast.
So ask yourself, do you need them all? Focus on the social platform your customers use instead.
How do you define those socials? Don’t follow the example of other businesses. What works for one brand can be different for yours. Ask your customers! Rely on live feedback and numbers!
- Launch a customer survey among social followers, newsletter subscribers (not cold email), and website visitors with the help of live chat buttons.
- Check your social accounts’ stats to delete less active ones.
For example, Starbucks supports only Facebook and Twitter, with a significant focus on the last one. In addition to an official account, they launched @StarbucksCare — a dedicated customer support team on Twitter:
Lucas got his problem solved within 2 hours. Great, isn’t it?
2. Respond fast
Unlike other communication channels, social media users expect you to answer their requests within 30-60 minutes. Maximum is 24 hours. Fast response is one of the critical metrics defining the brand's customer care quality.
How to meet these expectations?
- Hire a dedicated team member whose priority would be to track and answer social media requests, comments, tags, etc.
- Use saved responses. They can cover anything from thank you to specific issues coming from social media. Look how agents choose saved replies in HelpCrunch:
Don’t forget to personalize the canned message text before sending it with the customer name, location, etc.
- Implement a chatbot platform to answer FAQs, qualify customers, and route them to the right agents. Here is how Domino’s Pizza did it:
- Or give specific instructions to customers looking for help. Just like Spotify did:
This also helps to speed up the time to resolution of customer requests.
3. Do social media monitoring
Tracking social mentions is a perfect way to show that you care about potential customers. Direct @brand mention or its misspelled version, short-outs, or even your competitors' mentions can contain significant data on your customers’ pains and gains.
Good to know that there are tools to automate social listening:
- Mention, Social Mention, BuzzSumo, etc., services.
- Special services for support, where you see all that mentions in your inbox right next to customer requests from email, live chat, messengers, etc.
For example, Nike is well known for its attention to customers on Twitter besides shoe quality. Mention this brand in any form, and enjoy a fast reply from the @NikeService dedicated team. Just like Chad did when one of his newly acquired shoes broke:
4. Always answer negative comments
Ignoring or deleting negative comments is the worst thing a brand can do on socials. Customers post it to be heard. Will it be you or somebody else? That is the question.
The power of negative feedback is impressive:
- 63% of people are more likely to react to negative info.
- Up to 25% of social users can become your brand advocates if you answer their complaints.
Perhaps you have already felt this rapid desire to find the answers to negative feedback ????
Gladly, we have some:
- Respond within an hour
- Always thank them
- Acknowledge mistakes
- Apology, be gentle
- Take a conversation away from the public
Here is an example from Selina, a popular beach hostel, implementing some of these tips:
5. Keep your tone consistent
Basically, it is a word choice considering the formal or casual, informative, authoritative, witty, or funny brand messaging and design.
Despite the choice, there are nice-to-follow principles for communication with customers. In terms of support on social media, it all relies on your target audience:
- Show understanding and empathy when a customer seems to be frustrated.
- Do you see a customer using slang, exclamation points, or emoji? Don’t hesitate to reciprocate.
- If your target audience isn’t native speakers, be careful with slang. And vice versa.
It is a pleasure to watch Dollar Shave Club change its usual “the smartest, hippest, coolest guy at the best party” messaging style to a supportive one on Twitter.
This is the DSC feed:
Now watch how their tone of voice changes according to the case:
6. Know when to go personal
Usually, when customers reach out to you on social, they expect a public reply. Otherwise, it looks like you ignored the request or hid something.
But a long thread on Twitter can be annoying for your followers. It isn’t the best option for your brand reputation as well. So the best option is to go into DM after two rounds of a public conversation.
There are signals that indicate a dialog should be moved to private. For example, the issue:
- involves personal information that shouldn’t be shared like the order number, contact data, login, etc.;
- is too complex to discuss in 280 characters' messages;
- involves the upset customer.
When you see some of them, it is better to answer like Applebee’s Grill Bar:
This is an example of their answer to a customer’s complaint. In 280 symbols they included customer greetings, apologies, and contact info. Amazing!
7. Train your staff
There are two different teams that engage with your customers on social: marketing and customer service. In both cases, it is important to keep their work synchronized.
The best companies like Amazon practice their cross-training. In numerous books, its employees describe tips on how to do it best.
Here are some of their tips on customer support team training:
- Have clear customer support guidelines with the best examples and common problem-solving templates .
- Conduct regular meetings to discuss insights and use cases.
- Practice customer support role-playing.
- Practice agents analyze and comment on each other's support cases.
- Learn how to use hashtags productively.
8. Have a crisis plan
Social media is about constant updates. That means formats and requirements change.
For example, the Facebook priority of Group and Event posts, Twitter 280 characters message limit, account ban, etc.
In addition, there are social, natural issues, and employee mistakes that also impact your ability to do business.
So, it is better to have a plan for different crisis scenarios:
- Define the problem source.
- Categorize the severity of the issue. Can it be solved with a discount, or does it require a special response from your business to prevent escalation?
- Should you stop auto-posting, change canned replies, or not?
- Plan a flowchart for what to do if a crisis becomes more severe. Like this one:
Here is an example from Sephora when SZA tweeted about racial profiling.
People supported the musician and shared their stories too.
In a matter of hours, Sephora publicly apologized to SZA:
They also closed their stores to train employees and prevent such issues in the future.
Time to act
The better experience you provide on social media, the more loyal customers you get. As you see from this article, there is always room to improve social media support. Use the tips mentioned above to ensure that you hear your customers and respond to them on time.