Your business needs to listen to what your customers have to say on social media. Why?
According to a study by JD Power, 67% of customers use social media for customer support. In total, there are 3.5 billion social media users in the world, which equates to about 45% of the population. Insights Guide by Facebook reports that more than 1 billion messages are sent from consumers to companies via Facebook and Instagram every year.
So it’s not only about listening to your customers but, more importantly, about responding to them on these channels. Why is it so important? Well, a Gartner study revealed that businesses that don’t respond to social media messages may lose up to 15% of their customers because of this.
Furthermore, an American Express study found that more than 80% of surveyed customers abandoned their carts due to a poor customer service experience on social media. On the flip side, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a company on social media are likely to recommend that business to their closest ones.
An engaging social media presence can not only build trust amongst consumers, but also produce outstanding results. In fact, almost 60% of Americans believe that it’s easier for them to contact customer service thanks to social media.
So the question is — can your business afford to lose customers due to poor customer service, especially in times of crisis like this? Of course, the answer is no. That’s why we’ve curated a list of best practices for social media support. They are aimed at enterprise companies in particular, but every organization, big or small, can benefit from following these tips.
The first and most important thing we have to do is to choose and set up a method for social media monitoring. Why? Because you must act quickly. At the same time, you don’t actually have to stare at your social media feed all day to know when your customers need help. There are handy tools that will notify you when your brand gets mentioned, like Brand24, BrandMentions, and Social Mention.
By specifying your business hours, your users will be informed about when they can expect a reply from your team from the get-go. If your business hours are not specified, a consumer may assume that the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition to stating your business hours, it is advisable to put your telephone number and email address in your social profiles in case the customer wants to use these contact methods instead. Please note that if you operate on a global scale and have clients from all over the world, you should consider offering 24/7 social media customer support.
Your customer service department should include professionals who are trained to answer customers’ questions and complaints on social media. It’s important to clarify that personal social media profiles shouldn’t be used for this because even a single negative comment on social media platforms can cause a reputation crisis for your company. Therefore, the person who handles customer inquiries on social media must know how to interact with customers naturally and adjust their way of communication to the particular channel that’s being used.
It’s useful to create protocols with answers to the most frequently asked questions on each social media channel. It should be noted that such protocols are only guides for your social media moderators and should not be used for copying and pasting answers, otherwise you will lose the ability to offer a personalized experience.
A protocol should establish what a customer needs according to their question or request:
The protocol must also take the legal aspects of the service that apply across different countries into consideration.
Create a FAQ section on your website, which will be filled with the most commonly asked questions on social networks. This will allow you to reduce response times to general inquiries and will make the work of your social media service agents much easier.
Using social media customer service software is the only way that a large organization can handle social media support. This kind of solution collects all your customer interactions from multiple social networks and organizes them logically into one dashboard. It allows you to focus on the most important business tasks while keeping customer satisfaction levels high and the workload of your representatives organized.
The response time on each and every social media platform should be as fast as possible. Avoid leaving any questions, doubts, or complaints unanswered for a long time because this can lead to customer frustration and may complicate the resolution of potential conflicts. If an answer requires research or the participation of someone from another department, the customer should be informed about how long it will take you to provide the final answer.
If there is any new development in one of your products or services that might compromise their quality or service, communicate this on all your social media accounts. Let your customers know what measures are being taken, the estimated time of resolution (if known), and the steps that are being taken to ensure it does not happen again.
It’s very important that communication on social media is personalized and sincere. That is to say that you should address customers by name and speak with maximum clarity to avoid confusion. Remind your social media support agents to be empathetic and to act like humans too.
When using social media as a customer service channel, the community manager should present themselves in order to provide a human touch to the customer and thus decrease any potential hostility.
The most common way to identify the community manager who responds is by using the “/” character followed by their initials. For example, if the community manager’s name is James Wiley, he would identify himself as “/JW.”
Deleting comments from unhappy customers is usually much more upsetting to them than having to wait for a resolution of their inquiry. That’s why you should avoid this practice at all costs! By being transparent and dealing with user opinions openly, you’re creating a space to build trust and confidence between your customers and your company.
Please note, the only reason to delete comments should be if they are offensive, racist, sexist promoting illegal activity or are simply spam.
Negative comments posted on social media often don’t come from a dissatisfied user, but from ‘trolls.’ A troll is nothing more than a person who simply seeks to provoke others for the sake of it, or for their own enjoyment. When you’re being trolled on social media, we advise that you answer politely, but if the trolling continues it’s best to just ignore or block the user.
Never use public social networks to provide private or sensitive information. If this type of information is required to answer or clarify, then the customer should be approached through a private channel. Also, remember that all of your communication on social media must be compliant with both international and local laws.
Create an additional account for your business with the sole purpose of providing customer service. Inform followers that your original Twitter account will be used for branding purposes only and that there is a separate, dedicated account for customer support.
Customer service Twitter accounts must follow all customers who send support-related Tweets, in order to be able to send them a direct (private) message.
Once you have finished managing a request, let a few days pass and then contact the customer again by sending a direct message to confirm that they are satisfied with your response. This kind of proactive activity usually helps improve customer loyalty.
Domino’s Pizza is doing it right!
KLM Airlines knows that many of its customers are professionals using LinkedIn, so the airline launched a special LinkedIn group that offers 24/7 customer support to KLM passengers.
JetBlue Airways is another example of an enterprise company that knows how to use social media for customer service. Just check out their tone of voice and natural communication with social media users who also happen to be their customers.
Whole Foods also knows how to delight its customers, and uses social media well in order to do so!
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