Social media isn’t just for self-promotion. You can also use social media to connect with your customers, solve their problems, win the day, and prove to prospective customers that you’re different because you care.
A great way to upgrade your customer’s experience is to meet and serve them where they hang out, whether that’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
In this post, we’ll share our top tips for turning your social media platform into an effective customer service channel. Let’s do this.
Here’s why customers use social media
Sure, people go on social media to stay connected to their friends, but that’s not the only reason. Most social media users follow businesses, too. In addition to “liking” brands, they also want to stay informed about what’s new with the brands that they follow. They may reach out to you with last-minute questions or to post a less-than-favorable review of your service that begs a response.
Here’s why you should use social media for your customer service
Social media is more than an amplifier for your marketing message. It’s also an opportunity for you to meaningfully engage with your SaaS customers and positively impact their impression of you.
Here are the benefits of using social media as your customer service and support channel:
It’s easily accessible
Your website or app may be confusing to a new or prospective customer, but they probably know their way around Facebook. That’s because they’re more likely to hang out on social media than on your website. Take advantage of your chosen platform’s familiar interface, and set up your customer service desk on social media.
It’s a no brainer for younger generations
Kids these days… are digital natives and don’t pick up a phone to call. They expect immediate access to companies that they’re in business with through chat or instant message. Email is okay, but it can be painfully slow. If they’re given the option, millennials and younger will opt for the instant engagement available through social media.
Email support is 1-to-1, but social media support is 1-to-many. You may respond to one person on social media, but your response will be seen by multiple people.
Because you’re leveraging a free channel, you can keep your customer service costs low. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you can do it completely free using the native tools available on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, you can also use more sophisticated tools, like interactive chatbots, if you’re willing to spend more money on them.
How to use social media channels for customer service
Now that we’ve looked at the why, let’s discuss the how.
Choose the platform carefully
Which social media platform should you choose to deliver customer service?
The answer is any platform that’s used by the majority of your customers. When in doubt, go with Facebook. Facebook has over 2 billion users worldwide, and it’s a safe bet that the majority of your customers use Facebook, too. Facebook also has its messenger tool that can be used to communicate directly with customers through live chat or autoresponders.
However, don’t count Twitter out. Twitter is perfect for monitoring your brand mentions, listening to what your customers say about you, and then responding to them in a timely fashion.
Set up a separate social media account for customer service
To eliminate confusion, have a separate account for your customer service. This allows you to keep all of your customer issues in one place, making it so much easier to keep track of things. Otherwise, your customer problems could get drowned out and missed. And that could lead to disastrous results.
Creating a dedicated customer service account will also free up your main account so that you don’t dilute your marketing message there. Tagging the word “help” or “CS” for customer service can help you distinguish the two lines.
Create a social media customer service policy
If you plan to have multiple people manning your social media customer service desk, be sure to create a clear and concise customer service policy. This will keep your team consistent across the board. The last thing you want is inconsistency of tone or action, especially on a public forum like social media.
When creating your social media policy, tackle the following:
- What are your hours of operation?
- How quickly do you want your team members to respond?
- What is your standard response?
- What tone will you use? (Relaxed, confident, professional? Will you use emojis?)
- What happens if you need to escalate an issue? How will you inform the customer?
- Will you take conversations privately or handle everything publicly?
- What is your billing policy?
- How will you handle disputes?
This is just a starter list of questions. When creating your customer service policy for social media, be sure that your company values are reflected.
Listen to what your customers are saying about you
One of the biggest benefits of being on social media is the ability to listen in on what your customers are saying about you.
Remember that customer service isn’t always reactive. It’s also proactive. Not only can you reach out to customers who have issues with your service, but you can also take that information to improve your service for others.
Learn what your customers think about your service and your competitor’s service, too. This is an important step to creating stronger customer service.
Don’t be afraid of AI.
Artificial intelligence (AI) gets a bad rap for being soulless and non-human, but that reputation is changing.
Automation, when used correctly, will improve your customer outreach. The key to effective automation is to use it strategically. Don’t expect to automate all your customer service. Instead, use it to answer frequently asked questions or to confirm that you’ve received a message after hours.
The thing about automation is that people don’t really care that they’re talking to robots as long as the robots can deliver the answers that they need. If your customer has a quick question about how to set up a new account, your Facebook chatbot can send them a link to your knowledge base. This provides an immediate response to your customer’s question while also reducing the number of questions that your live staff needs to answer.
Automation is a great idea if you have a smaller team working on your social media page.
Chatbot is a popular tool that integrates with Facebook messenger.
Always act like someone else is listening (because they are)
Social media is a public forum which means that your responses aren’t just read by the intended recipient, but by anyone who happens upon your page. That’s the beauty of social media, but it’s also the curse. Be mindful that your post also has longevity and will continue to get views long after you’ve forgotten about it (assuming you don’t delete it).
On social media, users expect to receive an answer to their question within one hour, tops. They’ll make exceptions for after-hours and weekends, but try not to let a customer wait more than 24 hours to receive a response. This is why autoresponders are amazing. You can respond right away, no matter the time or day. This buys you more time to respond appropriately.
Respond to everyone
No matter how stupid, inane, or obvious, respond to every comment or issue that a customer poses. If you don’t respond, your lack of response will be noticed. Use your customer service channel to actively demonstrate that you care about your customers and are willing to respond to help them through any issues.
Choose a customer service person or team
If possible, choose one person (or a small team of people) to head up your customer service on social media. This should be considered a full-time job, especially if you deal with a lot of customer issues and want to provide prompt service.
Mind your tone
It can be difficult to adopt a friendly, cooperative, or helpful tone when writing on social media, especially if you’re dealing with a snarky request or comment. But you must. Treat the harshest comments like you would your grandmother—with respect, simple language, and a less-is-more approach. Always thank them for their feedback first. Remember that sometimes negative feedback is just a cry for validation.
Social media provides the perfect opportunity to connect with your customers. But don’t just stop at promotional content. Level up your customer service on social media by incorporating the above tips.