5 Steps To Creating Effective Social Media Customer Service

Gianna Spitaliere

I love exploring, writing about, and building knowledge on different ways to make businesses and customers more successful all around. I have been with ServiceTarget for less than a year, but have been thrilled to expand my writing into customer self-service.

{ 4 Minute Read }

One of the most effective and efficient ways to improve your business's customer service is through social media. Modern consumers are turning to social media to connect with brands expecting that they will be provided with the support they are in search of. Utilizing social media is a great way to provide helpful self-service tools to your customer base while improving their overall experience with your company.

A JD Power Survey showed that out of 23,000 online participants, 67% of consumers reached out to a company's social media platform for support. Leading companies have already begun to take advantage of this trend, leveraging their social media following to improve their service and support. The day of people wanting to call and talk to service reps for support has passed. Today, people want quick, convenient, and easy ways to find what they're looking for‚ and a great way to provide that for them is through social media.

So the question becomes:

Here is a 5 step outline on how to do just that:

1. Pick Your Platform

The first step to creating effective social media customer service is picking your social media platform so you can effectively target your audience. There are a lot to choose from and it may seem overwhelming. The current top 5 social media platforms of 2020 are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat, in that order.

The best way to pick your platform is by targeting your audience and finding where your customers are. By basing your network here, you can easily reach a large portion of your customer base in their preferred method. Therefore, making it easier for the customer.

If you don't know where your customers are, an easy solution is sending out a survey. A direct, one-question email survey sent to your customer base can lead you to the right platform.

After picking your platform(s), another helpful strategy is to create a separate social media handle just for customer service and support. This is one more step to make things even more convenient and simple for the customer to reach out for support. You can include this customer support channel handle in your main company profile, or any other main social media pages your business uses, to help direct customers.

social media platforms self-service

2. Be Proactive

Once you have established your business's social media platform and handle, the next step is to be proactive. This means getting ahead of your customers by anticipating questions and support they may need. This can eliminate their need to reach out for support in certain scenarios, and ultimately, reduce customer confusion. Therefore, freeing up your business's customer service time and resources to focus on more complex matters.

There are several simple ways to be proactive on social media. A very popular and effective option is doing a live Q&A. This can be done on a variety of platforms such as Instagram and Facebook stories and live videos, or simple comment and reply sessions. A live Q&A can be especially useful because it allows consumers to ask simple questions and receive an immediate response without needing to search out further information. It also allows its viewers to see answers to their own potential questions, reducing their need to search for support. And as a bonus, getting live questions from your customer base will give you a deeper insight into what information they are lacking from your company, and how to improve on that.

facebook live self-service

Another proactive social media tactic is using polls for customers in order to receive feedback. Polls can be posted on nearly all social media platforms and allow for the audience to answer with a quick one-tap response. This can show your business valuable customer insight, allowing you to understand better ways to improve and support the customer's self-service experience.

Ask Me A Question box self-service

How-To videos are another good proactive tool. They can also be posted to nearly all social media platforms, and are the perfect opportunity to explain how to use a product before any confusion arises. Linking resources to your business's website or customer service center with these videos are important as well. That way, if the customer's question is not answered in the video, they know where to follow up.

3. Monitor for Mentions

The top way to monitor the conversation happening around your brand is through hashtags. DigiMind surveyed twitter and found that consumers used hashtags 91% of the time to mention global brands overusing the company's handle just 9% of the time.

This means you cannot wait for consumers to reach out and tag you in service requests, but you instead should track the conversation happening about your brand. This way you are ready to respond to a consumer issue without them even needing to reach out to you.

4. Always Respond Quick!

This just might be the most crucial step. Answering any and all questions that consumers present to your brand shows that you not only have a reliable customer service team, but that your business cares about its customers.

However, this is a two-pronged step. Just responding to consumers social media concerns is not enough. It is crucial to respond in a timely and friendly fashion.

The Social Habit conducted a survey that showed 32% of social media users expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. The internet has created an expectation of fast-paced responses, different than that of email, phone, or in-person service.

It is important to set an expectation of how long your customer should wait before receiving a response. This should be a fast, but also a reasonable and consistent goal, so the customer can rely on their issue being resolved in a timely manner.

5. Set Response Guidelines

Setting response guidelines goes hand in hand with always responding quickly. Creating a set of parameters to follow when responding to a consumer will ensure consistency. These guidelines should be created with your business's values in mind, along with your consumers’ satisfaction as a top priority.

Some things to keep in mind while creating your response guidelines are your expected response time (as mentioned in step #4), your tone of voice and how it reflects the customer's tone, a consistent set of answers to frequently asked questions, and a set procedure to follow on more complex customer issues (when to escalate). Check out ServiceTarget's response guidelines below:

“Response Etiquette: It is very important to always respond to comments or messages we receive on our content. This shows that we care about our feedback and are glad to take time to continue the conversation or resolve any issue. We should also do our best to read the room and respond in a thoughtful way that matches the tone of the response. However, this does not mean that if we receive negative feedback we should respond in a negative tone. Always remain positive, then accommodate with the appropriate response tone.

When following up on more complex customer issues, there should be a set plan to execute and ensure the customer's issue is resolved. This is where the public issue should be made private and follow-up steps can be made to find a solution. This can be done through private messaging on most social media platforms or through direct emailing or phone contact.

Social media is an awesome tool for empowering customers with the self-service materials they need to succeed. However, it is not the only tool. Another important step in the self-service journey is driving adoption and shaping customer preferences toward self-service in order to ensure it's success. undefined

Gianna Spitaliere

I love exploring, writing about, and building knowledge on different ways to make businesses and customers more successful all around. I have been with ServiceTarget for less than a year, but have been thrilled to expand my writing into customer self-service.

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