Social media is growing bigger, faster and more powerful by the second. Businesses are aware of this fact but so are their customers.
Fact is, there’s a shift in the dynamics of social media usage for customers beyond mere browsing to deriving actual value from their purchases.
However, most businesses fail in providing this service to customers online.
In fact, 80% of companies online believe they deliver exceptional social media customer service but only 8% of their customers agree.
What can you do to get yourself with that 8%?
Go social with your customer service!
Read on to find out the benefits of engaging with your customers on social media and five strategies to get you started.
Social media customer service (w/ examples)
Let’s take a look at a place we’ve all ordered pizza from Domino’s.
Domino’s is a stellar example of what a company should do to stay ahead of the curve. It uses a smart approach to social media engagement, integrating its’ strategy across various platforms.
Their brand innovations include tweet-to-order, DOM The Pizza Bot and the Pizza Legends campaign. They also encouraged customers to give honest feedback on the quality of their food on public platforms.
Source: Domino’s on Twitter
The result? Domino’s overtook Pizza Hut in sales in 2017.
Social media customer service strategies help boost brand awareness, build customer rapport and directly impacts revenues.
Like Domino’s, you should use social media but you have to use the right mix of strategies for your brand.
Read on to see four fundamental strategies that can get your brand on the customer’s radar and help you stay there.
Social Media Customer Service Strategies (with Examples)
- Leverage Social to create a community
- Delegate to VAs and social tools
- Connect through Stories and go Live
- Provide Instant Chat Support
- Add that Human Touch
#1: Leverage Social to create a community
When you think connectivity, you think Facebook.
Facebook is a versatile social media platform, offering a range of tools for a business to utilize to create meaningful relationships with their customers. One of these at your disposal is Facebook Groups.
There are a number of reasons to invest in creating and maintaining a Facebook Group.
Creating a community of your customers offers you free market research insights into your customers and enables opportunities to promote your business and build awareness.
Providing a platform for customers to have their own discussions and also interact directly with the company is a powerful business strategy that can help you better understand them.
Being part of a Group also provides customers with a feeling of exclusivity. By making customers feel special and a part of something bigger, you are appealing to them on a basic human level.
Here are a few ways to manage and run an active social community:
- Appoint moderators and support staff to aid to user queries
- Use engagement-driven content such as insightful surveys, engaging quizzes, and contests to drive further engagement
- You can further manage your marketing to efficiently promote content on the autopilot.
Additionally, Facebook enriched Group features last year by introducing the business Page concept and tools such as stories and live videos. These are great visually attractive methods to engage and attract customers.
On another note, managing and growing a solid social community works out great to study personas and generate more leads.
What’s more, facebook groups works as a great source to promote lead magnets across facebook groups and convert new prospects into leads.
For more information on social media lead gen, check out this guide on using facebook to generate leads:
Case: Chanty’s Facebook Group
Chanty is an AI-powered team chat tool that helps to humanize business processes, improving team productivity and helping boost performance.
Chanty Community, its’ group on Facebook, is their strategy to be accessible to users of their app at all times.
They spark discussions, clear user doubts and promote product updates through this group. The success of their group proves the importance of encouraging connectivity within users themselves, as well with the business.
Mile Živković, a content writer at Chanty, says, “The key to high engagement is promotion.”
And rightly so!
In order to attract users to the group, Chanty promotes it through social media and blog posts, their website, onboarding emails and within the app itself.
This is not only good for business but also shows the customers that they are cared about and looked after in such a community.
Mile added, a valuable insight as to the prominence of such online groups –
If you want to help out your customers, you have to be where they are.
#2: Delegation to VAs and Social tools
Tech has enabled opportunities for efficiency and cost-savings by way of monitoring customer service through social media management tools.
But who’s going to do the monitoring? And who’s going to work on the fly to support your customers?
This is where a virtual assistant comes in and helps take on all the legwork and more importantly, helps you free up time that can be spent on tasks that move the needle.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when delegating tasks to a virtual assistant:
- List out the tasks on the basis of importance and frequency (high, low and medium)
- Identify the routine tasks that can be effectively delegated
- Familiarize yourself with the VA tool
- Develop a timeline and pace for delegation suitable to you
Case: WazirX Use of Crowdfire
Crowdfire is a social media management platform enabled by a dashboard interface to support businesses on their presence across various social media.
WazirX uses social listening tool to delegate social media management and make it core to their marketing strategy. Their goal? To save time, help their users and improve customer loyalty.
The business uses Crowdfire to:
- Streamline all the CRM and ORM process
- Analyze and review the performance of the various Social channels
- Engage with their audience
In return, they had spectacular results.
#3: Connect through Stories and go Live
Stories are the new ‘it girl’ of the social media world.
The 24-hour visual delights have spread throughout platforms, starting with Snapchat and inspiring Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp to adopt the same. Introduction of the Live feature helped boost its popularity even further.
Stories across the four platforms reached 1 billion uses everyday as of May 2018. This statistic points to the benefits you can gain from incorporating it into your strategy.
It builds brand awareness and authenticity through live streaming. The unique possibility of anything transpiring live attracts more viewers and depending on which channel you use, captures a widespread but different type of audience.
For example, Twitter is based on real-time content and updates whereas Facebook is focused on connectivity encouraging direct contact through comments and reactions.
Youtube also has a live feature but is more focused on long-form content than the other channels.
Tips on getting started with Stories include:
- Create stores around irresistibly relevant content so that it actually resonates with your audience.
- Use Stories Highlights on Instagram to retain high-impact content.
- Use a mix of text, images, videos and storytelling tactics.
- Create highly engaging stories using polls, questions, and quiz features.
Case: J. Crew’s Instagram Strategy
- Crew is an example of a speciality retail store that’s out to steal more hearts through social media.
Known for their multi-brand offerings for men, women and children, the brand capitalizes on their popularity through Instagram Live videos.
All users have to do to access these exclusive deals is click on the link provided. The offer lasts as long as the stream goes on, making shoppers feel part of something exciting in the process.
How does this benefit J. Crew?
It helps them appeal to and capture new customers looking for value sales while also retaining their existing customers.
Flash sale tactics combined with Live features are a simple but effective way to engage.
#4: Provide Instant Chat Support
If your customers have a problem, they want it fixed. Fast.
Tech has made it easier for them to connect directly with businesses, giving you a chance to boost customer satisfaction.
In fact, 42% of customers expect a response within an hour on social media. If not addressed on time, you run the risk of public complaints on social media.
Remember: what goes on the internet, stays on the internet.
You wouldn’t want embarrassing tweets or bad reviews to tank your reputation.
That’s why providing instant chat support and responding to customer inquiries ASAP is an important but understated social media strategy.
Nate Richardson of BambooHR says not to use social media as a defensive mechanism but a proactive way to engage with the relevant customer posts.
“We’ve found a lot of success in trying to craft genuine, unique, and above all, validating responses to any and every relevant conversation,” he says.
Different ways you can be a friendly neighbourhood customer support include:
- Use Facebook messaging to respond to customer queries promptly
- Get back to your customers real-time on Twitter
- Use Tweets for concise messaging
- Use Direct Messages to handle more sensitive issues
- Use programmable chatbots to streamline the service
- Customize replies on a behavioural basis to provide a personal feel
Case: BambooHR’s Twitter Engagements
BambooHR is a tech company providing software solutions for the HR functions of a business. Going social for customer service is part of their strategy for engagement.
Naturally, not every interaction is going to be a positive, colourful one. That being said, Nate Richardson from BambooHR tells us that they are specific about the cases they respond to, making sure to avoid malicious, disrespectful or irrelevant comments.
He provided an example of when the company was in sticky situation when Bill Kutik, an HR analyst, posted on Twitter. However, they chose not to respond, believing the tweet was groundless and not worth the hassle.
“We also saved ourselves the effort of having to respond to something that would provide us with no benefit,” he said.
BambooHR proves that going social isn’t necessarily about responding to every single customers 24/7. Timing and relevance are an essential part of the strategy.
#5: Add the Human Touch
To add on to the fourth strategy, having good tech doesn’t guarantee an error-free process when addressing customer complaints. There’s always room for human failure.
With the advent of chatbots and automation, the process has certainly become easier but it doesn’t replace the benefits of connecting with your customers directly.
You have to remember who you are dealing with. No matter how fast social media grows, the end users remain the same.
The best way to ensure your customers stay satisfied is to inject elements of age-old magic into your customer service strategy: the human touch.
Ways you can do this include:
- Make sure you have the right people in customer-facing roles
- Craft a well-designed questionnaire to research customers for insights
- Follow up with customer complaints received on social media through personal modes (for example a call or email)
- Emulate your brand in all your customer interactions
Case: Discover Your Indonesia’s Customer Responses
Discover Your Indonesia is an excellent example of how to integrate tech together with the human touch to clear customer doubts.
Like any travel agency, they receive inquiries through various social media platforms but have a clear framework of responding through email.
Their responses cover two important goals:
- Provide helpful and relevant information
- Ask the person to continue the conversation via email
For instance, here’s how they responded to a customer who found tour info on the site but complained about the lack of direct communication with the agency.
Here, they’ve highlighted their communication policy in a polite way and also provided helpful info, fulfilling their framework.
Go Social and Be Vocal
Going forward, social media customer service will grow into a powerful online business strategy to stand out from the rest.
Your consumers are going social and not just for typical browsing but to voice out problems—and if they don’t get an answer—they’ll most likely look elsewhere.
(Psst… competitors 🤐).
What’s more, connecting with your customers is a vital first step to achieve before you can consider collecting on your revenues—and social media will help you get there only as much as you enable it to.
However, no matter how much tech evolves, brands can’t effectively utilize it unless they understand their customers on the most basic level.
No matter the strategy you choose to work with, the bottom line remains the same: you have to be human.
After all, being social starts with being human. Never lose that personal touch and your customers will think you’re golden.
Over to you: 👇
Do you use social media for customer service? If yes, what strategies do you implement? If not, what’s stopping you?
This is a guest post by Mark Quadros. He is a freelance content marketer who helps SaaS and online-business develop content that not only drives traffic but also boosts user-engagement. In his free time, he loves traveling the world and living a minimalist life from his backpack.