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Guide to Social Media Customer Care

by Khoros staff | Oct 01, 2019

Social media has become the new marketplace for business and is the future of customer service. In fact, a Smart Insights report found that 63% of consumers expect brands to offer customer service through social media, and 90% of social media users have already used their favorite platforms to communicate with businesses. Furthermore, the report found that customers actually prefer customer service through social media over all other channels.

Providing customer care through social media is no longer optional for businesses, so make sure your organization is using your audience’s favorite platforms to provide support — our Digital Customer Care Playbook can help you succeed. As you'll see reflected in our examples below, many businesses rely on Twitter because conversations happen in real-time and the platform allows you to have a constant feed dedicated to customer queries instead of using several chat windows. If you're unsure which platform to leverage, Twitter is a popular go-to.

In this guide, we’ll walk through each step of building a social media customer service strategy and provide tips for improving the way your organization interacts with customers.

Step 1: Establish guidelines

Establish guidelines to create consistently great experiences for customers interacting with your brand on social media.

Here are some things to figure out for your social media customer service strategy:

  • What is your desired response time?
  • What should your brand voice sound like?
  • How will you handle issue escalations?
  • Will you respond to positive feedback, and how (i.e. like, comment, or share)?

Get ahead of issues by looking at frequently asked questions and creating a template with answers. Just make sure to personalize the response for each interaction.

Step 2: Create dedicated social media handles for support

Create a separate handle that focuses on customer service and support. This practice keeps issues from appearing on your main page and allows you to respond more efficiently to questions and complaints.

(Source: Twitter)

In the example above, Chili’s has a dedicated support page where they respond to issues such as poor service experiences and feedback regarding menu items.

Include the support handle in your main bio to let users know about the page, but understand that some users will continue to use your primary handle to contact you with service comments and questions. Forward these messages to the appropriate channel to ensure the issue is addressed in a manner that lines up with the response guidelines you establish.

Step 3: Respond promptly and personally

A 2018 Statista report found that 20% of U.S. citizens expect companies to respond to social media questions and complaints immediately, while 24% believe they should hear back within an hour.

(Source: Statista)

Speed is of the essence when it comes to social media customer service — so use a dedicated social media customer service team to respond in a timely manner and avoid issues such as the example below.

(Source: Twitter)

A fast response is important, but don’t sacrifice message quality to get a quicker turnaround. Some companies try to speed up their response time by using tactics such as copy and paste replies or auto-responses, but this can exacerbate issues and decrease brand authenticity. Focus on connecting with your customers by delivering personal responses to their comments and questions. Our Digital Customer Care Playbook can help you evaluate the efficiency of your agents beyond simple response time.

Step 4: Find and engage in audience conversations

See what your audience is talking about and join the conversations they’re having on social media. Keep track of posts that don’t use a handle or hashtag when mentioning your brand by using social media monitoring software to get deeper insights.

(Source: Twitter)

In the example above, two brands are mentioned without tags and BOTH respond to the customer (former customer in the case of Domino's) with a prompt and personal message. The responses weren’t long, but they turned a simple post into a viral conversation where consumers chimed in to discuss their thoughts on each brand.

In addition to looking for customers talking about your business, check to see what they’re saying about the industry as a whole, including your competitors. Get involved in these discussions and consider creating a social media community if there are enough people consistently talking about your brand or industry.

Step 5: Analyze feedback

Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand by analyzing the feedback you get from audience conversations. Generally, audience feedback can be categorized in three ways:

1. Questions

Answer audience questions as they come up and organize them to determine what areas of your business need more clarification. Consider updating your FAQ section every six months with the most common questions you come across on social media.

2. Compliments

    What does your audience love about your brand? Examine the compliments you receive to determine what’s working well for your business and to figure out how you can further improve in these areas.

    (Source: Twitter)

    Respond to all compliments and don’t be afraid to ask customers for additional feedback as pictured in the example above.

    3. Complaints

      In online customer service and marketing expert Jay Baer’s 2016 book Hug Your Haters, Baer notes that one-third of customer complaints are never answered.

      Just as people aren’t likely to knock on your door if the lights are out, they’re also unlikely to reach out on social media if they don’t think they’ll get a response. Ignoring negative feedback may lead to a lower engagement rate because of your audience's perception that you don’t care about what customers have to say.

      So, don’t ignore negative feedback. Embrace it and use those moments as opportunities to showcase how much you appreciate feedback from your audience. Furthermore, analyze the negative feedback you receive and use it to implement long-term changes that transform weaknesses into strengths.

      Reinvent your customer care strategy

      Social media is the future of customer service, so make sure that your support strategy involves your audience’s favorite platforms. Nurture customer relationships and boost satisfaction with Khoros Social Media Care.

      Learn how your brand can develop a winning digital customer care strategy with our Digital Customer Care Playbook.

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