Customer service has never been more important to a company’s success. Customers expect prompt, friendly service from brands in addition to quality products. They want to know that they are important to companies and will consistently choose companies who show that they value their customers over companies who don’t.
As more of our lives and interactions are moving to social media, it’s only natural that customer service interactions are moving there as well. In fact, Sprout Social released a Q2 study saying that 90% of customers have reached out to a brand using social media. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to understand that customers perceive their social media presence not only as marketing, but also as customer service. Social media is where most of your customers are. When you focus on ways to improve your customer service, it should automatically include improving your social media presence.
The two are already linked based solely on the fact that your customers are interacting with your brand on social media platforms and drawing conclusions about how they’re treated - even if you’re not considering social media to be customer service. Your lack of response to customers is a response to them. So let’s take a look at some simple ways that you can improve your customer service in ways that will positively impact your social media presence.
Be Easy to Find
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve customer service is making your company easy to find. The more a customer has to search for ways to contact you, the more frustrated they’ll be once they do connect with a member of your customer service team. You want to solve their problem, not further add to it.
Start with the absolute basics and make sure that your contact information on your website and the profiles of your social media sites are easy to find. Make any phone numbers and email addresses easy to find - and make sure they’re up to date and accurate. On your website, make sure there are links to your social media pages.
Another great idea to use is to set up a separate, unique handle specifically for customer relations. There are plenty of brands already doing this, including Lyft, Netflix, and Nike. These brands have experienced great success in how they interact with customers on these accounts - freeing up their main accounts to focus on marketing content. When you set up your customer service account, try make it related to your main account.
U-Haul’s customer service account is called UHaul_Cares, for example. Netflix is a particularly great example at how they utilize their customer service account to monitor customer interactions on social media. As you can see in the example below from their Twitter feed, they not only monitor Netflix’s US accounts, but their foreign accounts as well.
Having a designated customer service account will not only help give your customers access to you, but also will help keep your marketing and customer service accounts separate.This can make it easier for customers to find you - and will also make it easier for your customer service teams to hear and respond to customer questions. Making your company easily accessible will show your customers you care about hearing from them and will help you respond to customer issues easier.
If your customers are experiencing issues with your product, they’re likely already frustrated. There’s no need to ad to the their frustration by having no cohesive service policies and procedures. It’s a good idea to look at how your customer service team operates and make sure that your processes are intuitive and efficient. One way that this could apply to social media is making sure that the same person handles a customer case on social media from start to finish - even if the issue needs to be transferred from a platform like Facebook or Twitter to a phone call.
Having a dedicated agent handling a customer’s issue will show the customer that you care about getting their issue resolved and that they won’t get lost in a corporate shuffle. It’s frustrating for customers to have to constantly re-explain their issue to new agents. This point ties back to making your customer service team easy to find. Design your procedures with the customers in mind so that contacting you to resolve an issue is easy.
Be Proactive & Efficient
Part of providing unparalleled customer service is making sure that your customer service procedures are efficient and you’re following best practices. Show your customers that you care about their experience by being proactive in how you address their questions and concerns.
Here are three ways that you can translate great, proactive customer service to social media:
- Quick response - The rule of thumb for response time on social media is 24 hours. This means that from the time a customer contacts your company on social media, they expect a response within 24 hours - even if it’s simply acknowledging their complaint and explaining what you’re doing to address it. But the quicker response time, the better the service. With larger companies, this might seem daunting. But there are plenty of social media management platforms that can help you streamline your various social media accounts to field incoming messages and comments and be able to quickly respond to customer queries without having to toggle between different apps all day.
- Engage social listening - Find problems before they arrive by monitoring social media platforms for common problem words such as “problems” or “issues” in relation to your brand so that you can find out who is talking about your problems. This will also give you a better idea of what kinds of issues are common among customers and can help you either fix the issue or address it sooner so less customers will feel frustrated. Using social listening to identify unsatisfied customers is a great way to deliver stellar customer service to your customers on social media.
- Proactive help - Use the information you learn in customer service to create content that answers common questions. You can do this in a variety of ways, including having Q&A threads on Twitter, video tutorials, FAQ pages on your blog or website, and more. Part of delivering great customer service is having answers ready for your customers. If you know that there are common questions or issues with your company or product, producing easy-to-understand content that solves their problems is a great way to show your customers that you care about how they experience your brand.
When you engage in proactive customer service and make sure that your processes and procedures are efficient and streamlined, you’ll not only be running a better business, but you’ll also be improving your customer service. And when you demonstrate your customer service on social media, you’re showing your customers how much you prioritize them and their experience.
Better Understanding of Your Customers
One of the best ways to find out how to improve your customer service is by asking your customers themselves. For years, many companies have included surveys at the end of customer service phone calls to determine how they are performing. Now, you can hear what customers think of your brand using social media.
Utilizing social media to better understand your customers and their experiences is a great way to find out how you’re doing - and discover new ways to improve. Social media by default feels more relaxed for customers and they may be more willing to engage with your brand about your customer service performance on social media than they would by completing a phone survey after a call. You can use social media posts to solicit feedback from your customers in a number of ways including polls, encouraging comments, links to surveys, and even games.
We all know that having good customer service is an integral part of business success. But what many are still learning is that customer service and social media presence are growing closer and more intertwined than ever. Customers are spending more time online - and that means that that’s where they’re interacting with their favorite brands, too. How you interact with your customers on social media is a form of customer service. It follows, then, that the more improve your customer service, the better your social media presence will be, too.