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Everyone from great-grandmas to preteens is on social media. These platforms present a massive opportunity for brands to shine… and to suck.
As social evolves, brands seek out the holy grail of organic content—see Ocean Spray’s TikTok fame—but they must pay attention to the conversations that don’t go viral, and those are often centered around customer service.
If your brand is going to succeed on social media, you need to have a strategy for customer service. But first, let’s look at the power of social media.
Brand presence on social media is more than posting content. Engaging with customers, especially in a service capacity, is a must. Just look at the stats:
Customer service on social media can also help your company track trends such as the volume of inquiries and reasons why customers are reaching out. You’ll be able to plan better for things like seasonality, logistics challenges, and product releases.
Social media customer service doesn’t have to focus on complaints alone. Top brands are tweeting back, having fun, and even helping folks find the perfect shade of lipstick. We’ve compiled some fantastic examples of brands crushing social media customer service:
Hertz car rentals took home a Shorty Award for social customer care and for good reason. They operate almost 10,000 locations globally across three brands, which is no easy feat for customer service. On social media, they focus on fast response times (under 30 minutes) and turning negative experiences into positives with quick-thinking solutions like picking up the coffee tab while a customer waits for their car.
United Airlines is an innovator in digital customer service and uses social media to surprise and delight customers whenever possible. From free pizza to seat upgrades, they respond to customer posts and complaints quickly while showing their efforts in the public eye.
Glossier absolutely crushes customer service. From helping a bride find a sold-out fave for her wedding day to recommending products and applications (like the one pictured above), they are on top of social media engagement across every platform. Their efforts have been rewarded, too, with a fiercely loyal fan base.
These brands bring social media customer service to a new level. They respond quickly, personalize the experience whenever possible, and strive to turn frowns upside down when customers reach out. As a bonus, they avoid headlines like these that hurt their brand’s image:
Now that you’ve seen some examples, let’s talk about best practices for social media customer service. There are a few general rules, plus tips for specific channels.
In general, you should be:
Facebook offers a variety of ways for customers to get in touch with your brand. You should be checking Messenger, comments, and mentions to make sure nothing goes unanswered. Additionally on Facebook you should:
Instagram is quickly transforming into a shopping destination, so it’s a clear choice for customer service. Here’s how to rock it:
Because of Twitter’s limited characters, it can be tough to solve a problem in one reply. But just because your responses are limited doesn’t mean you can’t deliver great service. Here are some tips for Tweeting back:
Many of these golden rules apply across other popular social media platforms. However, it’s essential to understand the nuances of each audience—TikTokers and Redditors look very different.
One of the best ways to get a sense of each platform is to monitor brand mentions—particularly when your company hasn’t been tagged or alerted. Mentions are a big opportunity to change negative brand experiences into positive ones by addressing the customer’s complaint even when they don’t expect you to see it.
After investing in a social media customer service strategy, you have to measure success somehow. This takes a combination of more traditional contact KPIs and social media stats to provide the full picture. Here are the key metrics you should measure and report against:
These metrics help you evaluate how much customer communication takes place on social, whether or not it’s effective, and how it impacts your customers’ experience with your brand.
With how fast social platforms come and go, it can be tough to get a good strategy in place. Make yours scalable by thinking about the golden rules that apply across all channels, and ensure they’re put into practice. You’ll also want to evaluate if you need a dedicated social media service team or if blended agents can help you deliver the right level of service.
Another facet of your social strategy should be setting rules for when a conversation should be taken offline, out of the public sphere. This can be based on the number of back-and-forths or when sensitive information needs to be shared. These boundaries become critical when your team is managing hundreds of conversations a day.
Finally, to build a scalable strategy, plan how social media fits into your wider support and service channels. Be sure to evaluate if you can deliver the same experience across channels before adding a new one for the sake of adding it. For example, if your team isn’t on Snapchat to begin with, does it make sense to have one for support only? Probably not.
Social media customer service provides a huge opportunity for brands to win over their customers time and time again.
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