Social media is more than just a marketing tool. It has become an integral part of many brands’ customer service strategies, connecting them directly with customers through posts, messages, likes, comments, user-generated content, and more.
One of the growing ways that both brands and customers are using social media is to communicate directly, with many consumers utilising the social sphere as a means of sharing their thoughts, opinions, complaints, and positive experiences with different companies and businesses. Whether in response to a post shared by a customer, or by responding directly to a message, customer service is now deeply ingrained in social media.
With that said, what can businesses take from this rise in social service, and what do you need to be doing in order to ensure that your customer service is on point across all social media platforms and touch points?
Why is social media now an important customer service touchpoint?
You may not know it, but your customers are talking about you on social media. Many will not tag you, but they will be sharing recommendations with their friends, heralding your products, or complaining about things like delivery and the speed of dispatch on their social profile.
Rather than shying away from this, brands should be - and increasingly are starting to - use social media as a part of their conversation with consumers and customers. By responding to these posts, acknowledging these comments, and supporting customers with questions, social media becomes yet another touchpoint for your business reputation, and can help to build trust across your community.
Here’s how to make it work for you.
How to choose the right platforms for your brand or business
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your social media customer service is make sure that the platforms you use are where your loyal, authentic, and genuine customers are spending time online. So many modern businesses think it’s important to be on every single platform, overlooking the need for a captive audience - something which you are unlikely to find on every single social platform out there.
Using your demographic and target audience, identifying a few core social media platforms and then building an effective and reliable presence from there is far better than spreading yourself too thin across a series of online touch points. It will ensure that your customers know where to find you and that you are interacting with them on platforms that they regularly use. Not to mention, it gives you the best possible chance of connecting with other prospective customers that can relate to your brand.
Best practices for social customer service: 3 key points
Here are a few more ways of ensuring that your social media customer service is up to scratch…
1. Use the right tone of voice
Adapting the way that you speak to customers based on their message or comment is crucial to establishing good connections and relationships with your community and audience. Remember that any public responses you share in the form of comments or posts / tweets will be seen by all your followers, so it’s important that your tone of voice is light but professional, and always connected to your brand vision.
2. Respond quickly
Even if it’s just a note saying that you will look into their query, or sharing a direct line or email address that they can use to elicit a quicker response, acknowledging the receipt of a complaint or customer comment should be done as quickly as possible.
Users today want everything at the touch of a button, and if you leave them waiting for a response then any existing bad feeling will only deepen.
3. Be transparent
This concept can translate into a number of different tips for brands. The first is to be transparent about response times - ensuring that you don’t overpromise and underdeliver when dealing with customer feedback or issues. If you find yourself unable to keep up with social customer service, then tell your customers and give them alternative ways of contacting you that will prove more successful in getting a response.
Another thing to remember is that honesty is always the best policy, and you should always be transparent in your responses. This links back to your brand values, your vision, and to the messaging which underpins all of your communications. Remember that customer service forms a part of your online presence and should compliment and link back to everything you put out there as a business.
Should you use social media as a part of your customer service?
There is no escaping the fact that consumers have a lot to say, and often take to social media in order to say it. Embracing the power of social media as an instant form of communication means recognising how it supports conversations and can bring you into the community that you form online - made up of influencers, customers, and followers. By using social media as part of the way you speak to and connect with users, you embody that sense of community and ensure that your business retains a strong and trustworthy reputation.
If you’ve got concerns about using social media for customer service, or you're simply looking for trusted social media management experts to take your marketing efforts to the next level, the Social Loop team are here to help.