Here’s why you should not underestimate customer service in social media

We live in an era when customers demand more, demand better and demand things faster. Brands need to adjust to customer requirements, otherwise customers will turn their backs on them and choose a competitors’ offer instead.

No mercy here.

And while regular customer service channels still matter, there is a new, rising star that changes the way we perceive customer support. Social media support is no longer a choice, it is an absolute requirement if you want your customer support team to serve – and help – your clients right.

What should you know about social media customer service solutions and why shouldn’t you ignore social media platforms for customer support? How to behave in order to achieve success? Check out our handy guide.

What is social media customer service?

Long story short: social media and customer service have more in common than you think. If you need to recognize one thing that affects customer support, social media would be really high on the list.

Customer support in the world of social media is about managing questions, requests, social media customer complaints and messages via popular social media networks and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. While the first two are the most popular in terms of social media help, you should not underrate any social media network where your customers are present and active.

Why is customer support on social media so important?

Why does a single customer turn to social media? Simple because they know that their private message will be read and that they will be heard and listened to. They also know that if brands do not reply to their requests or complaints, they can take it further and start a social media crisis.

Some examples of really bad social media customer service led to huge marketing crises for brands and resulted in a decrease of followers, sales and brand authority, so brands should always make sure they serve their customers on social media well.

Your potential and current clients use social media for any customer-related issues since they know that in many cases this platform is simply the quickest. The average response time on social media, in the most sensitive industries, is less than five minutes. These industries have presented great social media customer service examples, spoilt customers and somehow showed the path that other brands need to follow in order to live up to clients’ expectations and to improve customer experience.

Using social media accounts for customer service also helps brands build customer relationships. Any bad customer service on social media may result in losing clients and reputation or negatively impacting the customer experience, so brands should doublecheck whether their social support is efficient in order to build a customer advocate base.

Handling social customer support is not the easiest nut to crack – but we know a few tips that can help you achieve your goal and deliver a flawless experience.

Tips for social customer service

Choose the best set of social media platforms for client support

You need to be active where your audience is not only present but also active. Give your potential clients a chance to contact you there, and your current customers an opportunity to resolve their issues. You need to put your personal preferences as for social media networks aside. Even if you like Twitter, it does not mean that your audience and clients like it too, or that they would share their insights on that platform.

Speaking of platforms, you should always have one thing in mind – if your clients reach out to you on a particular platform, you should come back with an answer via that same platform too. If you redirect your clients to other channels (phone, e-mails or even traditional post), your clients may be annoyed. Social media makes it easier for both sides of the barricade – for customer support teams to manage it, and for clients to contact the brand regarding any issue. Take things offline only when it is absolutely necessary to do so. Otherwise, manage social media support on the same platforms as the initial contact. Make social support an important pillar of your customer service strategy.

Keep an eye on social media mentions

Do you know that some of the best customer service social media examples come from here? Brands who take social media monitoring seriously are more likely to win their customers’ hearts by answering their requests in real-time. As a brand, you can’t do this if you don’t monitor social media mentions.

You can use several external tools to keep track of mentions about your brands, you can set up Google Alerts or you can keep monitoring social media networks manually.

If your company notices a need for having a separate social media account for customer care, then do so. Many brands, like Spotify or Netflix, do it on Twitter, keeping customer service and community apart. This way, you can provide better customer experience and help your agents serve clients in the best possible way.

Response time is your KPI of social support

Make “Respond to All & Always” your support strategy. Everyone is impatient nowadays; they are not going to wait forever for your reaction. If they ask (or complain) about something here and now, they expect your answer to arrive here and now as well.

You also can’t be selective when it comes to social customer service. Serving only those clients who praise your company is not the right way to go. Hiding complaints or ignoring valid customer requests and feedback can result in a social media crisis, and this can affect your brand recognition.

In many cases, reply time is shorter than five minutes. It has been somehow spoilt by telecoms or banks who know they need to serve their clients quickly, so they invest a lot of money and workforce in customer service. Other brands became vulnerable to that, since clients got used to quick customer service and saw that it is possible to answer their requests quickly, in general becoming more demanding and picky as for customer support and more willing to compare it between services. It generates nothing but a challenge for many brands that are active on social media platforms.

Make the most of knowledge bases

Building a Knowledge Base takes a lot of research, time and work – but it can pay off quicker than you might think. A knowledge base, prepared in the right way and with the highest level of complexity, can save a lot of time for customer service agents. If your clients or potential customers can find a solution in the knowledge base, they are very likely to quit their ideas of “bothering” your agents with some requests. If they can find all of the necessary information needed to accomplish their goals or they can take some actions in knowledge base, they will follow the guide instead of asking your agents for the full instructions.

What’s more, a knowledge base may come in handy also when you actually are in the process of serving your customers. If they look for some answers already covered in the knowledge base, your agents can send them a direct link instead of describing the process all over again via social media messages or comments. With the right information architecture on your website, you can save a lot of precious time for your company and save money on additional support in terms of customer service.

A knowledge base is much more than a Frequently Asked Questions tab. While FAQs mainly focuses on answering some questions regarding customer service, a knowledge base walks users through the website, features and solutions. It plays the role of a FAQ + tutorials, so your clients can access some direct answers to their questions quickly.

Create procedures and guidelines

Preparing a guide about social customer care is crucial for your company and can help you work more productively and without any hassle. You can think of it as a “knowledge base” for your agents. What should be included in such guidelines?

  • teams responsible for customer service on each social media platform.
  • roles in the teams – figuring out some approval stages (who approves posts, who is responsible for comments or direct messages, who creates reports, who is tracking social monitoring) can boost your productivity and make your workflow a breeze. Without roles and with an “all hands on deck” approach things can get really messy.
  • brand’s tone of voice (it can look like: “we’re a nice and friendly brand who wants to help clients as soon as possible, we use “You” in communication and we try to befriend our audience”) to improve customer experience and be consistent with the strategy.
  • answer templates for many possible case scenarios in your company – for example, data leakage, media affairs, a C-level team member quitting the team, and so on.
  • procedures for social media crises in your company (what to do if negative feedback escalates and it turns into a crisis, and who is responsible for creating an official statement or after-hours social customer service?). It is better to be safe than sorry, and even if you do everything to avoid a crisis, you never know when it is going to happen or what can cause it.
  • collect a database of contacts, phone numbers and e-mails of everyone involved in the project so that in case something occurs, you know how to reach the team members.

Use chatbots for social customer care in your company

The numbers really speak for themselves in terms of chatbots. Did you know that about 80% of customer chat sessions can be resolved by a chatbot and that 54% of chatbots users find it somehow effective in case of customer service and resolving problems (with ⅓ finding it very effective)? Also, according to Growcode e-commerce report, 45% of end-users consider chatbots their primary choice for customer service inquiries. Chatbots and live chat are no longer the future of customer service – they can help you deal with your clients nowadays. While there are still many clients who like calling brands directly, a company who introduces live chat opportunities on their websites or chatbots on social media can be more successful and effective. Many clients prefer turning to Facebook with their requests, and if the chatbot has been configured in the right way then they can ease the pain for customer service agents, minimizing the volume of unnecessary interactions.

You do not have many excuses for not building a chatbot nowadays – there are quite a few software options on the market that allow you to build your own, simple chatbot in minutes. While they won’t fully replace your agents, they can support their efforts or minimize the time they need to spend on interactions with each client.

Social customer care with LiveAgent

If you are looking for customer service and help desk software that can also support your efforts on social media, choose LiveAgent. With an intuitive social inbox, it is easier to keep track of messages across all of the social media profiles that your company manages. Since you can answer them from one user-friendly inbox, your customer service is more efficient and can serve your customers quickly and with more accuracy. Your agents can share tasks and divide their work, making sure that your clients’ complaints, messages, requests and words of appreciation are not only heard but listened to. With a clear inbox feature, you can keep up with your clients.

Read more about this feature here.

To wrap-up

If your company is thinking seriously about providing a flawless customer experience, they cannot underestimate customer support on social media networks. Adjusting to clients’ needs and living up to their expectations is crucial if you do not want to let them down, or to lose clients once and for good. You should create a set of guidelines and choose some tools to help you improve your workflow and communication with customers on Facebook or Twitter. Social media became a really important channel for customer service and they will continue to increase their role, especially if the world of social media is dynamically growing, and attracting ever more users (and your potential clients) from all over the world. It is high time for you – and your company – to step up in this game.

Andrej Csizmadia

Growth Marketer

Andy is Growth Marketer at LiveAgent. Previously, he studied International Relations and Business Diplomacy and was active as a volunteer in the world's largest student run organization, AIESEC. Running, music and reading books are his favourite free-time activities.

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