Long gone are the days when Instagram was a simple social media app for sharing photos and videos with your friends. Over the last few years, Instagram has evolved into a powerful marketing tool.
Today, a successful Instagram marketing strategy is not just about promoting your products; it’s also about delivering customer support. Why? Customers expectations have changed, so people want to contact brands on Instagram and get their problems solved in-app.
The popularity of customer service on Instagram is on its rise, and the numbers speak for themselves:
- 55% of users want to get a resolution or response from brands on social media
- 45% of people share bad customer service experiences on social media
- 80% of accounts follow at least one business on Instagram
Social media has become the preferred customer support channel. With over one billion active users on the platform, Instagram is becoming a popular place for customer service.
The good news? Many big brands like ASOS and Starbucks resolve customers’ issues on Instagram, and there are three customer service lessons we can learn from them to provide excellent customer support with ease.
1. Instagrammers Want to Get Their Problems Solved In-App
The Instagram community has grown rapidly, and 90% of customers share their bad and good experiences on social media which means that your consumers are more likely to spread the word about your company on the platform. More and more users leave comments, contact brands via direct messages, or write about their experiences on private accounts. To stay ahead of your competitors, you need to listen to your customers and solve their problems on Instagram.
Here are some ways how to provide customer service effectively on Instagram:
Optimize Your Instagram Bio for Customer Service
As one of the world’s best known online retailers, ASOS has many customers around the globe, so it’s no wonder that some of them use social media platforms to share their shopping experiences with the company and friends.
No matter how reputable your company is, you can still have dissatisfied customers who can affect your brand’s reputation negatively. Thus, it’s important to deal with them. ASOS knows the importance of customer service on Instagram, so the company uses its bio to guide visitors and followers on how to share their stories with the customer support team:
The company replies to comments, mentions, and direct messages to solve customer requests fast. However, ASOS invites Instagrammers to check out their customer service Twitter account if they need more help as it is dedicated to providing customer support.
If you don’t have a social media account for customer service, you can still make it easier for your customers to contact you on Instagram. Here’s how Madewell gives Instagrammers several options on how to contact the company:
People value their time, so optimizing your Instagram bio for customer service is a must. If you help customers contact you, it’s more likely it will be easier to turn them into loyal customers.
Show Empathy to Customers
Nowadays customers crave authenticity, and the variety of options on the market makes it easier for people to choose the best ones that suit their needs and wants. If you don’t want to lose your customers, you need to show empathy in customer service as it’s a great way to humanize your company, deal with conflicts, and invoke empathy from customers.
Just take a look at Lululemon. Once the company gets a complaint, Lululemon tries to understand a customer and solve the problem. In most cases, this approach helps to increase brand loyalty and trust:
No matter what your business niche is, you need to put your customers first to increase sales and therefore grow your revenue. Thus, companies should listen to their customers, understand them, and offer a solution. When your customer support team expresses empathy for a customer’s pain point, it helps to build relationships with the user and improve brand trust.
Deliver Customer Support Fast
Living in the digital era, people value their time more than ever. When it comes to customer service, consumers don’t want to wait much to get their problem solved. Moreover, 89% of consumers stop doing business with a company after having bad customer service.
If you take care of your customers and you want to increase customer retention, you need to deliver customer support fast. What is more, it’s important to keep your customers updated on the request status. For example, Skyscanner tells users how to contact their customer support and promises them to solve the problem fast:
The faster you reply to customer request, the better. If your customers share their pain points with you on Instagram, it’s a good idea to choose from a variety of social media management tools to make it easier for your team to work on customer requests without missing a single message.
Here are some ways to deliver faster service on Instagram:
- Create Instagram quick replies for direct messages
- Hire a moderator who can deal with requests 24/7
- Use Crowdfire as a customer service tool
2. All Brands Manage a Barrage of Satisfied and Dissatisfied Customers
With the popularity of social media networks, modern customers can express their opinions and beliefs individually and within a community without being interrupted. It allows both satisfied and dissatisfied customers to share their shopping experiences with brands and friends. For brands, this means that they should be ready to communicate with various customers on Instagram.
If your customers spread the word about your company on Instagram, there are several ways to keep them happy:
Handle Negative Feedback
Today, customers don’t trust branded ads; they seek out peer recommendations before making purchase decisions. When dissatisfied customers complain about their experience, your brand reputation can suffer. Thus, it’s important to understand the problem and handle negative feedback. People want to feel valued, so brands should put themselves in the shoes of a customer to resolve the issue effectively.
The more popular your company is, the more dissatisfied customers you have. Why? All people are different and they have different needs & wants. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, it’s more likely customers’ expectations don’t meet reality. However, you need to listen to these people and do your best to offer a great digital customer experience. Whole Foods is a good example of this strategy in action:
If you’ve made a mistake, you need to offer an apology and a solution. For example, you can use graphic design tools like Crello to create a gift certificate so that an unhappy customer can give your product a second try. It can help to handle negative feedback and build brand loyalty.
Analyze Your Comments and Brand Mentions
Instagram is a great source of candid consumer opinion. People their thoughts to help brands become better as well as potential customers make the right purchase decision. If you want to understand your customers better, you need to pay close attention to the comments and brand mentions. Once you know what your customers say about your brand online, you can improve your product and increase customer experience.
Analyzing every single comment or brand mention can be difficult. Let’s take Nike, for example. With over 7 million followers on Instagram, it’s no wonder that Nike Sportswear gets many comments. Although it’s nearly impossible to read and analyze all of them, the company tries to reply to them if users ask questions about the product:
Analyzing customers’ feedback, don’t limit yourself to comments and mentions. Whether you use Instagram Stories for business or not, you need to remember that your customers can share their shopping experiences with other people via short-lived content. Thus, it’s important to pay close attention to brand mentions as they can come from Instagram Stories, too.
Spy on Your Customers’ Profiles
If your customers tag your business, that’s great. You get a notification, so it doesn’t take much effort to see the post. However, some of your customers can speak about your company with their friends without tagging you. Thus, you need to spy on their profiles to do market research.
Analyzing your customers’ profiles helps to understand them better, notice unsaid things, and predict actions and reactions. What is more, you can increase customer engagement as people are interested in those who pay attention to their profiles. Thus, you can comment on your customers’ profiles like Zappos does it:
Obviously, it takes time and effort to analyze every customer’s profile, but checking out some of them from time to time can help your company establish long-term connections with buyers and collect genuine customer feedback. What is more, it helps to increase the number of satisfied customers which means more sales over the long haul.
3. Instagram Reputation Affects Consumer Buying Behavior
In 2019, it’s no secret that customers pay close attention to product recommendations from friends and family. People are happy to express their thoughts within their community, so keeping your customers satisfied is a great way to attract new customers. What is more, Instagram in-app shopping is gaining in popularity, so having a good reputation on the platform is a proven way to get more first-time impulse buyers who can become your customers.
If you want to maintain a good reputation, you need to do the following:
Solve Some Problems via Direct Messages
When it comes to customer service, most inquires need a personalized approach as you have to ask about the details to understand the problem from A to Z, so it’s a good idea to communicate with customers personally. Moreover, it helps to protect customer data. Thus, it’s a good idea to contact your customer via direct messages.
Just look at Jcrew. Instead of using quick replies, the company has an individual customer approach. To make its regular customer happy, the company pays attention to the complaint and asks the person for more details to solve the problem:
Moreover, there are many ways to manage direct messages with ease: See unread messages, flag important messages, and reply to Instagram direct messages on the desktop. However, you need to keep in mind that Instagram has a secret inbox for message requests, so you need to check it out to provide excellent customer service.
Provide Followers with Social Proof
Wouldn’t it be great if you could predict customers’ questions? Since most customers seek out social proof, showing that other customers choose you over your competitors is a great way to increase brand trust, keep your existing customers satisfied, and attract new ones.
The era of user-generated content (UGC) is here. When customers are satisfied with your product, they are more likely to take photos of your product. For brands, this means an opportunity to predict questions about the quality of your product.
If your customers generate UGC, that’s great. However, put them first before posting an image, and ask permission to legally use user-generated content. Plus, tag the author to give credits. Here’s how Cluse does it:
Providing customer service is not just about tracking shipping and package or returns; it’s also about convincing new potential customers to give your product a try. No matter how good your product is, people have questions about your company and product before buying from you. With social proof, you hint at what your customers can get from you, so it minimizes the number of customer requests you can get on Instagram.
The Bottom Line
Instagram has a solid user base which is growing rapidly, so it’s no wonder that customer service on Instagram isn’t an option these days. While big brands use Instagram for customer support, just a few small businesses believe that this platform is right for solving customers’ requests. However, businesses of all sizes and shapes should meet their customers’ expectations, so customer service on Instagram is a must.
If you haven’t used Instagram for customer service, it’s high time to give it a try and hope the above-mentioned lessons can help you provide users with excellent customer service, and therefore get more loyal buyers.
This is a guest post by Val Razo. Val Razo is a freelance SMM consultant with 5+ years of experience who helps small and medium businesses. Val claims that Instagram has great sales potential, so she recommends both big and small brands to use this platform for business growth. Follow her on Twitter to stay tuned for more.
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