With social media getting increasingly popular by the day, providing customer service on Instagram gives you more opportunities to connect with customers — both existing and potential — than ever before.
In fact, as Barry Libert, CEO of AI Matters, puts it, “The future of business is social.”
So, let’s dive and look at some ways you can use Instagram to add another customer service channel to your offering and boost customer experience while you're at it.
Why provide customer service on Instagram?
Engaging with your customers on social media positively impacts customer experience. Because of this, it’s now one of the top customer service trends. So much so that 72 percent of millennials say they’re more likely to be loyal to a brand that replies to them on social media, according to Marketing Charts.
Not only that, but comments, responses, and engagement data can give you deeper insight into your customers’ thoughts and feedback. This analysis can then be used to generate ideas to better improve your brand’s customer experience.
So, if you’re already providing customer service on other social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp (and even if you’re not), why not broaden your reach to include Instagram users — Statista estimates Instagram will have a massive 1.2 billion users by 2023.
And with 83 percent of consumers using Instagram to learn more about products and services, it’s a perfect opportunity to grow your business with a receptive audience.
How to use Instagram for customer service: 6 tips
- Communicate with a consistent brand tone and voice
- Be on the lookout for content involving your brand
- Switch to a private channel if necessary
- Make it easy for customers to contact you
- Give your customers self-service options
- Manage incoming requests through consolidated platforms
With all the possible perks customer service on Instagram offers, you may be wondering: exactly how do companies support customers via Instagram? Below are some steps you can take to provide top-notch customer service.
1. Communicate with a consistent brand tone and voice
Consistency is key for establishing a recognizable brand voice. One of the best methods to ensure that is by having a style guide and clear standards for dealing with any contact Instagram users have with your brand.
To make sure you truly resonate with your target audience, communicate in a way that speaks to them. This means using a tone that mirrors their language as well as including popular emojis and hashtags in your responses or posts. And, to stay in line with the nature of the platform, keep it friendly and casual.
Here, Sofi, an online provider of personal financial services and products, follows a distinct brand voice and includes emojis in their caption to engage their customers.
2. Be on the lookout for content involving your brand
Keeping track of how Instagram users are talking about your business can help you manage your brand’s reputation by quickly responding to any negative comments that come up. And, as other users have visibility into the posts and comments on the platform, you build customer trust as they see how you’ve successfully resolved issues in the past.
Setting up Instagram notifications to alert you of particular brand mentions and hashtags makes this process much easier. As you track content, keep in mind that users may not use the exact terms you have chosen or message you directly. So, you may have to get creative in searching for references to your brand in comments or use third-party monitoring apps for social media to help.
For consistent and speedy responses to messages, you can use Instagram’s Quick Replies feature. This enables you to send an automated response and customize templated answers to DMs and frequently asked questions.
A positive customer service experience also includes making sure customers feel heard, as well as outlining a plan to address their concerns. According to David Alston, founder and coach at the CMO Accelerator program, Marketswell Solutions, “Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.”
To see this in action, here’s an example where the clothing brand, Madewell, responds to customers’ comments about technical website issues and offers troubleshooting advice.
3. Switch to a private channel if necessary
Situations may arise when taking a customer interaction to a private space is better. When a customer raises an issue that involves sending sensitive information (like payment or order details), a longer response, or redirecting the customer to another platform, DMs may be the way to go.
Here, Airbnb, an online platform for booking travel housing and experiences, responds to a customer complaint and suggests moving the conversation to DMs, asking for their email address.
4. Make it easy for customers to contact you
Instagram allows you to offer customers multiple ways to get in touch. By setting up a business profile on your Instagram account, you can include action buttons, such as a ‘Contact’ button, on your profile and also include an email or phone number. The bio on your Instagram page provides another prominent spot for sharing your email address.
For example, customers can contact Instacart, an online grocery delivery service, using different contact methods right from their profile page.
5. Give your customers self-service options
Instagram even provides ways to deliver self-service, an increasingly popular tool for digital customer service. For example, you can help customers find quick answers through Instagram story highlights, which are Instagram stories you select to be featured at the top of your profile under your bio.
Here, online furniture retailer, Article, provides story highlights for customer reference, including FAQs and furniture care how-tos.
6. Manage incoming requests through consolidated platforms
Instagram has a host of features and capabilities to make it easier to communicate with customers at scale. APIs allow brands to use third-party apps to manage their messages, and CRM integrations mean you can display customer information next to messages for quick reference.
By using a third-party tool, such as customer support software, all your Instagram comments, posts, and DMs, can be centralized in one place for support team members to address. Then, you can send responses to Instagram messages like any other chat, reference the user’s Instagram info, and communicate with users through gifs, photos, links, and audio.
The Instagram help center for businesses has detailed instructions for connecting to a third-party app along with other information, like the different features, managing your account, and what to do in case of accounts hacks.
Build your business through exceptional customer support
Instagram customer support may not be the most obvious tactic to employ — it made its name as a photo sharing platform, after all — but it’s a great way to deliver more value, expand your reach, and create customer experiences that really stick. That way, your brand can stay front of mind for today’s always-connected consumers and continue going from strength to strength into the future.