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According to a study by the University of Southern California, using social media for customer service helps brands cut costs, increase retention, and boost sales.
The study found that handling a customer issue on social media costs as little as $1, compared to $6 for issues that go through call centers. Furthermore, companies with social care programs experienced a 7.5% year-over-year increase in customer retention (compared to a 2.9% increase for companies without a social care offering). As an added bonus, customers who had a positive social media customer service experience spent 40% more with that brand and were three times more likely to recommend it to others.
Using social media to provide customer care benefits businesses and consumers, so make sure your strategy focuses on delivering exceptional experiences with each interaction.
Here are a few social media customer service examples of companies that routinely go above and beyond, with takeaways you can learn from each of them.
For additional insight, read our Digital Customer Care Playbook.
Although social media is a powerful tool, it can come with a lot of negatives. With customer complaints, recalls, and constant criticism surrounding the pet food industry, it’s important to be empathetic, transparent, and responsive to your community.
Blue Buffalo uses their social media platform to make difficult announcements concerning food recalls and any pet questions that may come up. In order to unify and build trust within their community, Blue Buffalo announced the Buddies app, which allows pet owners to chat with a community of people who have similar questions and concerns for their pet’s care. A review by pet owner, Rachel said that the app allowed her to easily track her Pomeranian, Sammy’s, health all in one place and interact with other pet parents who may be dealing with similar issues.
A brand community can help build trust and loyalty amongst an audience.
Remaining transparent during difficult situations helps mitigate any additional backlash, and puts users at ease knowing they are being heard.
Seaworld holds dear childhood memories for many of us, but despite that, they have not been spared from controversy and negative press. After making changes to park policies, they sought to turn things around for the better, and turn the negative remarks into positive ones.
They launched a brand love campaign focused around culture-centric and trend forward moments designed to garner positive mentions and engagement on Twitter. To counteract the bad, they employed a social listening tool to stay ahead of crises and identify opportunities to better respond to their audience.
Because of their customer service strategies, SeaWorld was able to increase their engagement rate by 40%. Not only that, 72% of community members who started negative conversations converted to starting conversations with positive sentiment.
Make customer service a key value of your company culture, and your loyal fans will respond by spreading the word about your brand.
Stay on top of negative and positive conversations with a social listening tool. That way, your team is better prepared to handle situations efficiently and positively.
When you invest in your brand’s social media customer care team, they are able to excel. Spectrum demonstrates the value of such an investment: They tripled the staff on their social media team and onboarded Khoros, allowing them to process 200k posts within the first six months. To learn more about their story, read our case study.
Spectrum now has a dedicated support account on Twitter, @Ask_Spectrum. The account is filled with social media customer service examples in which they respond to questions, complaints, and other inquiries. They also use the account to offer customers updates about service interruptions or general account changes.
Many of @Ask_Spectrum’s updates receive a fair amount of negative sentiment (nobody likes service interruption), but the care team does an excellent job of quickly, warmly, and helpfully replying:
Spectrum has also increased their social media customer care agent productivity by 57% through better organization and tracking, demonstrating that you don’t always need more agents, sometimes your care team just needs better organization and more helpful customer center software.
Spectrum sets itself apart from their competitors on social media through efficiency. Spectrum can reply at a rapid pace because they’ve invested in a sizable team rather than relying on a few people to handle all requests. Companies that don’t have the resources to create this kind of experience can consider outsourcing their social media customer care needs to an experienced partner.
Invest in your social media customer service team and tools. In some cases the right tools can help increase efficiency so you don’t need a large team, but larger enterprise-level brands may require both
Greet negative inquiries with a quick and warm reply
Responding to your audience is important, especially when they have a pressing concern. But, most brands cannot respond with equal speed to every single social media inquiry. Khoros customer Stubhub is an excellent example of how to ensure you respond to everyone who needs it, when they need it.
StubHub offers their audience rapid response times through issue prioritization. Some issues require an immediate response, like the example in the image on the left (below). Other issues, while still important, are less urgent, like the example in the image on the right (below). Khoros helps StubHub prioritize customer issues that need an immediate response over posts that can wait a bit for a reply.
Use issue prioritization to identify and respond to urgent inquiries immediately
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, travelers were actively seeking information from airline companies to learn more about safety measures that the airlines were taking.
More often than not, people are taking to social media to ask brands questions and expect to receive a response quickly. Equipped with a platform used to manage customer service inquiries, United used automated tagging and prioritization to improve customer service efficiency in order to quickly respond to travelers asking about United’s COVID-19 response.
As a result, United was able to manage the high volume of support tickets to make sure their customers felt truly cared for during difficult times.
Automated tagging helps prioritize the types of inquiries you’d like to respond to first.
When interacting with customers on social media, a quick response is best!
Social media users don’t just want answers from brands on digital channels, they want the correct answers, something that Khoros customer British Gas understands and prioritizes.
British Gas polled their customers and discovered that an accurate response was more important to them than a quick response. Now their social media team goes above and beyond to ensure questions are answered correctly the first time. They do this by following up with customers to get account information and check into issues rather than by simply following a script, as that can lead to errors.
Your brand can ensure that you offer customers the correct response, too, by organizing your incoming social media communications, effectively training staff on your social media team, and empowering them to use their knowledge and voice while remaining on-message. In this way, you can put the customer first.
Find out what your customers want. Do they prioritize accuracy or speed for social media customer service responses?
Gather information and actually look into issues instead of following a predetermined script.
Don’t settle for good enough when it comes to customer care — learn how Khoros can help you exceed expectations with every interaction by reinventing your social media strategy.
Check out our Digital Customer Care Playbook to learn how your brand can develop a best-in-class digital customer care strategy, or contact us to learn how we’ve helped clients create exceptional customer service experiences on social media. Meaningfully engage with your audience in real-time and keep customers for life by always being there in their moment of need.
Request a demo of our powerful yet easy-to-use social media management software that can help your business nurture customer relationships and boost overall satisfaction.