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Social Media Customer Service: 8 Best Practices to Follow

Lidia Bondarenko

Today, being the customer means having a wide variety of options to interact with brands in the online world. You can talk to your favorite company through customer portals, AI-driven online chats, forums, messengers, and whatnot. These days, there is no need to wait for the consultant’s response on the phone line. Customers can choose the channel that is the most convenient for them and contact a support team almost everywhere on the web and social media is where the brand is usually the most easily accessible.

The era of social media customer service is here. According to Forrester’s recent data, 80% of consumers engage with brands on social platforms. So, there is no surprise that using social media for customer service is a must these days. Forward-thinking brands know that the secret of online business success is to be where your customers are. Today, it’s mainly on social media. It has become one of the most effective ways to provide almost immediate customer service. 

Why Provide Social Media Customer Service

It’s crucial to provide quality customer service through social media because it is a significant part of the modern online shopping experience. If you run an online store, it’s more likely your potential customers want to contact you and get answers about your products before making the purchase. Plus, existing customers may also want to get customer service regarding their order status, shipping details, and much more.

Here are five more reasons to consider social platforms as the obligatory medium for customer care. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Meet your customer demands

You need to provide customer service on social media because your customers expect it from your brand. As per Statista, 83% of people expect companies to respond to a social media question or complaint within a day. The influence of social platforms is too significant to be ignored. 

Almost everyone on the planet Earth is on social networks, so why shouldn’t your brand? Involve your support team in the communication with customers on social media to show them that your brand is ready to meet their slightest demands and wants.  

Improve customer service experience

You care to build a smooth customer journey on your website, timely answer customers’ questions in a live chat, or provide comfort waiting in the line at your business’s physical location. In other words, you strive to maximize the customer’s satisfaction wherever it’s possible. So, social networks mustn’t be an exception. 

Considering it from the customer service perspective, you will see that social media is not only the way to connect and spread information. It’s also the opportunity for the brand to care and empathize with its customers. The data from ReadyCloud just prove that: 71% of online shoppers will recommend the brand they liked on social media. Thus, providing immediate support on social media will automatically improve your customer experience.

Increase brand loyalty and trust

Providing quick and quality assistance on social platforms will raise the chances to gain customer loyalty and trust. When getting the customer support rep’s answer within minutes, people will understand that the brand is all ears and listening to their needs. 

It allows building a stronger personal connection between the company and its consumers, as they can easily reach out to their favorite brand on social media. Give your customers more confidence that they can always be assisted in the case of an emergency. 

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Understand your target audience better

Interacting with people on social media is almost like knowing them in person. It’s a much more personal kind of connection if compared to email, phone, or customer messaging systems. Social networks give you access to a lot of information about people’s preferences, interests, profession, family status, and much more. You don’t even need special tools to collect these data since they are provided directly on user profiles. 

It allows the brand to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, you have enough information to take an individual approach to every customer and provide higher quality assistance. On the other hand, you get the opportunity to learn more about your target audience and use these insights in marketing campaigns.

Beat your competitors

Haven’t you started answering your customer questions on social networks? Please, speed up! Maybe, your competitors are going to do the same. Although it seems to be a quite straightforward and even somewhat obvious practice, it still is not as popular as emails, phone calls, and live chats. Many companies underestimate the importance of social media, missing the chance to meet their customer needs there. Luckily for you, it’s a great opportunity to outperform competitors.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Tips on Seamless Social Media Customer Service

We have collected a few useful tips to help you transform social media customer service into a smooth and enjoyable experience for your buyers. Hopefully, these recommendations will allow you to improve your customer service skills and boost performance.

Build a knowledge base

This practice implies creating how-to articles, tutorials, and the FAQ section on your website. Your customer service representatives may provide the link to the knowledge base to customers when answering their questions on social media. 

It allows you to provide more comprehensive assistance, as all the information is presented concisely and in an easy-to-understand manner there. According to HelpCrunch, customers prefer using a knowledge base because it’s fast, convenient, and gives them control.

Hire social media moderators

We recommend hiring a well-trained social media moderator. It’s a person who replies to the user’s comments and messages on the company’s social media profile. To make the hiring process easier, use an email finder to browse the directory of potential moderators and contact your perfect candidate directly.

Why hire a separate manager for answering the customer’s queries on social networks? It allows your support team to concentrate on the quality assistance across other channels. Plus, your consumers are more likely to receive almost instant replies from your brand. How fast your company answers customer’s questions matters. It’s a significant advantage that may help you set your business apart from competitors and build a strong brand image on social media.

Set up quick replies

You can save a lot of time and effort by setting up quick replies. Most social platforms have this option available for business profiles. These are previously formatted answers that you can prepare and then use in direct messages. There is no need to type similar messages to different customers again and again. Creating the templates with clear, concise, well-written responses may help your support team work much faster, more efficiently, and keep the right tone with customers. For urgent and specific concerns, you can also include a hotline that customers can call. That’ll make them feel like you’re sincerely invested in their experience.

Use social media monitoring tools

When a customer has a bad experience, 31% of them turn to social networks to complain about it. Unfortunately, 21% of those complaints never get a reply. Social media monitoring tools can help you handle it. You can set up smart alerts, real-time updates, and email notifications to stay informed when customers send you messages or leave comments. This will help you provide better service as fast response is one of the main criteria of excellent social media customer service. All that’s left to do is to respond to all their questions and complaints timely.

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Social Media As a Customer Service Channel: 8 Best Practices

Here we will consider the eight best practices of providing social media customer service shared by successful businesses. Hopefully, you will get inspired by these creative brands.

1. iWoot: Provide multi-channel customer support

A great tactic is providing customers with the opportunity to get in touch with your customer service team via different channels. There are customers who might be happy sending you a detailed email, while others would prefer talking to an actual person through a phone call. Here you can see how iWoot has implemented it. This home decor brand informs customers that they can reach out to a support team via Facebook and Twitter directly in their Instagram profile description. 

2. Clek: Set up a FAQ story highlight album

We have been lucky to find Clek’s profile and see how this brand has managed FAQ on Instagram. This automotive supplier has created a collection of Insta Stories answering the customer’s most frequent questions and gathered all of them in the Highlight on its profile. Therefore, followers can easily access the necessary information once they enter the company’s Instagram profile.

Source: @cleckinc

3. WholeFoods Market: Communicate with customers in the comment section 

Communication is one of the most important aspects of great customer-brand interaction. The content has the paramount importance for setting a connection with a target audience. However, direct communication with customers makes this connection even more “human.” Try to interact with your followers in the comments section and direct messages on social media and see what will happen. 

Such close communication with people can give you even more insights about your audience and what it needs. See how Whole Foods does it. This brand has excellent relationships with its customers.

Source: @wholefoods

4. Airbnb: Create a separate Twitter handle

Would you like to keep customer support queries and common users’ comments separately to provide customer service more effectively? Then, you can spy on Airbnb and create a separate Twitter handle for customer support queries. Promoting this account on other social networks, Airbnb tries to drive traffic to Twitter profile @AirbnbHelp and let customers know that they can easily access support representatives there.

Social media customer service examples
Source: @AirbnbHelp

To ensure your followers use the right Twitter handle for customer service, it’s a good idea to get more retweets from satisfied customers to set an example for other fans who need assistance.

5. Lululemon: Design a Facebook Messenger bot

All of these strategies are great, but would you like to make your customer support even faster? Then, a Facebook Messenger bot is what you need. 

Just look at how Lululemon has done it. This brand has designed a very convenient chatbot with logical and useful replies to navigate customers in the most frequently asked questions. In case users haven’t received the answer to their inquiries, they are directed to a real support representative who can help tackle their issues.

Source: @lululemon

6. Keranique: Share brand informative products 

Another useful tactic is sharing informative products on your brand’s social media profiles. For example, Keranique regularly posts how-to videos from its YouTube channel. This content helps customers conduct self-service and handle most of their problems on their own. 

You can also share tutorials, guides, and how-to articles from your company’s blog. In these materials, it’s essential to use professional product photos supporting your content. They will help make your guidelines even easier-to-understand. 

Source: @Keranieque

7. PlayStation: protect customer data

Sometimes, when it comes to using social media for customer service and you have to manage customers’ questions related to personal information, it’s crucial to provide assistance in direct messages. Answering them in public is still important, just keep it neutral and don’t mention any sensitive data in the comment. An excellent example is PlayStation’s answer to its customer in the image below. Keep in mind that your primary goal is to protect users’ personal information like passwords, login details, etc. 

8. Go live to answer customers’ questions

The nice idea is to interact with customers by streaming live videos to answer customers’ questions. It allows you not only to provide people with the necessary information but also to drive customer loyalty. Moreover, it’s a great chance to introduce your team and show that there are real people behind the brand name, and they are always happy to help customers. 

Source: @Sephora

The Wrap-Up

Today, providing customer service through social media has become crucial. The number of social media users is fast-increasing. Brands shouldn’t ignore the fact that most of their customers are there, too. Companies need to set up fast and accessible customer service on social networks to address modern customer needs. We hope that these tips and recommendations will empower your brand to optimize social media customer service more efficiently. Please share your own customer service tips and practices in the comments below, as we also are hungry for new insights and inspiration!

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