Customer Experience News & Trends

7 cool tips for social media customer service

If most of your customers were in one place, you’d probably be there, too – just to make sure they’re being helped and are happy. Two-thirds are actually in one place. It’s social media, and here’s how you can take care of them. 

Almost 70% of customers have used a company’s social media to get help, a JD Power study found.

So your social service needs to be as good as – if not better than – any traditional line of customer service.

Baseline social media – on Facebook, Twitter and other relevant platforms – service must be:

  • fast. Customers expect answers within an hour when they ask for help in social media (which essentially means they want help immediately)
  • real. Customers want to interact with employees who have names and show their personalities
  • professional. Even though social media is a laid-back service channel, customers still expect well-written, courteous help, and
  • thorough. Social media may be conducive for shorter interactions, but customers still need thorough, accurate answers.

Beyond those basics, here are seven tips to deliver cool social media service.

1. Make social service special

With the growing demand for social media customer service, more companies devote a separate account from their main social media page to customer service. Customers can go there for strictly help – no sales or marketing material, company and industry news or anything outside the realm of solicited answers and solutions.

Even if you’re a smaller organization that can’t devote the manpower to a single-need social media site, you can set up a separate page for service that offers live support for specific blocks of time each day.

2. Be kind

Customer service on social media might be a bunch of keystrokes that can’t express true emotion, customers still expect to feel some love when they connect on Facebook and Twitter.

A routine service query might not give you the opportunity to extend an extra kindness – sometimes you just need to take care of business. But what happens after it can be the opportunity make a splash.

When customers say something positive about you, your company or your products and service, respond with a kind gesture. For instance, ask for their email address in a private message and send a coupon to their inbox. One company names one of those compliment-giving people the Customer of the Week and features his or her picture and a short story on their social media pages.

3. Feed their minds

When customers contact you through social media, their needs are relatively immediate. Once you satisfy that burning need, you can offer more valuable information through your blog.

The most important factor: Keep your blog relevant based on what you hear through social media. Recurring issues, questions that lead to new solutions and common concerns are fodder for blog posts that are relevant to customers.

Post them on your social channels from time to time. Direct customers with similar questions or issues to them once you’ve helped.

4. Be as social as they are

Even if you have a social media handle strictly dedicated to helping customers, you want to be social with customers, too. If you’re only reacting – and never acting – customers won’t be engaged.

Follow them. Like what they’re posting. Congratulate them on accomplishments. Be a friend, not just a company.

5. Be proactive

Once you mutually connect with customers on social media it’s easier to be proactive with service. You can use social media to let customers know about potential problems when they’re small – rather than get bombarded with concerns if problems become big.

In addition to true emergencies, clue them in on industry changes, issues that are increasingly being reported and changes that will affect them.

6. Add video

This could be the best way to connect with customers via social media: Respond with a personalized video. For service pros who are comfortable with video, there are plenty of  programs that allow them to make a video and send it in a personal email.

You might be able to explain a complex concept easier on video. Or you can take a few seconds to thank a customer who was patient through a long process. Or you can use video to walk customers through instructions.

7. Get feedback

Invite customers to give feedback and new ideas through social media service. Some companies, like Starbucks, have a dedicated Twitter account for customers to submit ideas for new products or changes in features.

The key: Social media makes it even easier for customers to tell you what they want. You just need to let them know you’re listening by responding to all and implementing some.

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