In recent years, Instagram has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with the most engaged user base. Today, over one billion users are active on Instagram, so it’s no wonder that even small businesses use this platform to connect with the target audience, spread a word about the products, and sell online.
What is more, customers are ready to get in touch with brands on Instagram, and 90% of users follow at least one business on the platform. However, this also means that people want to get a reply or resolution from brands on Instagram, so they seek out customer service on the platform. In fact, an average American tells 15 people about a poor service experience, so you hire a personal math helper to calculate the true cost of customer service.
If you want to satisfy your customers, increase engagement rate, and stay ahead of your competitors, get ready to provide excellent customer service on Instagram.
What is Excellent Customer Service?
With the popularity of Instagram marketing, customer expectations have changed. Today, more and more customers call out brands on Instagram and they are waiting for excellent customer service.
Moreover, providing excellent customer service is not just about replying to followers’ comments; it’s about four key principles that satisfy customers’ needs and improve customer experience.
- Understand your customer
- Personalize your response
- Find a solution
- Reply fast
Now that you know what excellent customer service is, let’s find out how to manage customer requests and provide it on Instagram with four proven ways.
4 Ways to Provide Excellent Customer Service on Instagram
Optimize Your Instagram for Customer Service
Modern customers are demanding, and they don’t have much time or desire to seek out actionable ways to contact you on Instagram. To help your visitors and followers send their requests with ease, optimize your account for customer service. Moreover, it will help you provide customer support faster.
Tell Instagrammers How to Get in Touch with You
The first thing people see when visiting your Instagram account is the bio section. Being limited to 150 characters, you need to tell about your company, values, and ways to get in touch with you.
If you monitor direct messages and comments, you can encourage your Instagram visitors to get in touch with you on the platform. But if you don’t provide customer service on Instagram, it’s a good idea to set up a live chat and promote it on social media, just like Loot Crate did it:
Obviously, it’s better to use Instagram for customer service. However, no matter what you choose, a Twitter handle or live chats for customer support, it’s important to tell your followers how to contact you and get a reply without waiting too much.
Create a Separate Instagram Account for Customer Service
Managing customer requests on Instagram can be daunting. The more followers you attract, the more people share their customer service problems on the platform. To make sure your followers get customer support, it’s a good idea to create a separate Instagram account for customer service and add a profile link in the bio.
Let’s take Gnarcotic as an example. With over 172k followers on the main profile, it’s no wonder that the company has decided to create a separate Instagram account for customer service:
Not only does Gnarcotic have a separate account, but the company also dedicates its bio section to customer service and provides visitors with various options on how to get in touch with the customer support team.
Add Various Contact Options
It’s no secret that all people are different and our preferences differ, too. When it comes to customer service, some people want to get support via live chat while others find it easier for them to make a quick call.
If you want to satisfy your followers, consider adding various contact options. Here’s how MadeWell did it:
The company’s followers can send a direct message, make a phone call, or contact the company via email. Plus, it doesn’t take much time or effort for followers to find this contact information as it appears right below the bio section. Win-win.
Know Your Target Audience Demands
Providing excellent customer service means satisfying customer needs and wants. Thus, it’s vital for both big and small brands to know the target audience and what demands a potential customer may have. Moreover, people are happy to share their experiences on Instagram and therefore help you understand them better.
Listen to Your Target Audience
The easiest way to understand what your target audience expects from your company is to listen to your followers. With the popularity of social media networks, it’s easier than ever for customers to shout their bad and good experiences to the world without being interrupted.
Since customers can leave comments, reply to Instagram Stories, and slide into direct messages, it’s important to be all ears. For example, the following example illustrates the importance of proactive customer service for Made.com:
However, not all customers share their pain points in the comment section. In fact, 96% of people who discuss your company online don’t follow your brand on social media. Thus, it’s important to use reputation management tools.
Plus, you can give influencer marketing a try to team up with niche opinion leaders who can start a conversation with your target audience and encourage these people to share their thoughts on your product.
Ask for Customer Feedback
Brands miss many conversations online, and it discourages customers to share their thoughts on your product or service. Most people want to be heard and valued, so it’s important for your brand to stay proactive and ask for customer feedback.
For instance, you can create an Instagram post and dedicate it to the importance of customer service. To start a conversation with your followers, encourage them to share their thoughts in the comments:
Meeting customers’ demands helps to increase brand loyalty. And once you have an army of loyal customers, you can reach out to your passionate fans and ask them for video testimonials that can show your value and help other people make the right purchase decision.
Improve Your Customer Response Time
Living in the digital era, when 4.54 billion people have access to the Internet, not only should your company provide customer service on Instagram, but it should solve customer requests fast. When it takes days or weeks to get a reply, customers lose interest in your company and choose your competitors over you. Thus, it’s important to improve your customer response time to keep your audience satisfied.
Monitor Direct Message Requests
Communicating via direct messages helps to establish a deep connection with your customers as you have a private mode of communication. It’s a perfect way to send custom messages and solve customer requests.
But if you run Instagram for business, chances are that you don’t follow all your customers on the platform. This means you’re more likely to miss important direct messages from your followers as they appear as requests in your inbox.
Here’s how to find direct message requests:
Since direct message requests appear in a separate tab, more often than not they get buried and your customers don’t get a reply on time. Thus, it’s important to monitor this tab and allow requests from all people who want to get in touch with your brand on Instagram.
Use Quick Replies
No matter what your business niche is, it’s more likely your target audience asks common questions about a product or service before making the purchase decision. However, typing the same messages over and over again can be daunting and time-consuming, so it’s important to optimize the process.
The solution? Use canned responses! Also known as quick replies, it’s an Instagram feature that helps businesses answer common questions via Direct Messages with ease. You can analyze FAQs and create your list of saved replies:
As you can see, quick replies can help you save time. However, it’s important to personalize your message to establish a connection with your followers—use a customer’s first name, include an emoji, add your name.
Hire a Freelance Moderator
Instagram is a global social media platform with users from all over the world. And if you sell your products or services to foreigners, you can receive requests 24/7. But people don’t want to wait for your response, so it’s important to monitor requests frequently. Luckily, you can hire a freelance moderator (or several moderators) who can help you keep a track of customer requests and brand mentions.
According to the Global Internet Freelance Market Overview report, there are over 558K freelancers in the United States. This means you can find a perfect freelance candidate with ease—just use a freelancing platform like Upwork to search for a moderator:
Want to know the best part? You can rely on freelancers from other countries as they may charge less than Americans, yet have good skills and knowledge.
Put a Human Face on Your Brand
Instagram has great sales potential, so it attracts more and more businesses. For brands, this means working in a competitive market, so it’s significant to find creative ways to stand out from the crowd. Since people crave authenticity more than ever, putting a human face on your brand is important when it comes to customer support.
Understand Your Customers
In most cases, customers share negative experiences on social media. And when they reach out to your brand to tell about these experiences, they want to help your company improve a product or service and increase customer satisfaction. Simply put, these customers do you a favour.
Thus, it’s important to put your customers first and understand their pain points. When you show empathy, you increase brand loyalty and trust which motivates other people to turn to you for help.
Just take a look at how Zappos replies to dissatisfied customers on Instagram:
Over the long haul, understanding customers helps to create strong customer relationships that result in positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
Handle Negative Issues
No matter how good your product is, it’s nearly impossible to satisfy all your customers. Since many consumers want to tell other customers about their customer experiences, they share negative feedback on social media.
Obviously, it’s difficult to handle negative issues, but it’s important if you want to prove to your customers that your company is worth giving a try.
Take a look at Ryanair and you will find dozens of dissatisfied customers in the comment section. The company doesn’t handle negative issues and it affects brand reputation negatively.
If you want to turn your dissatisfied customers into happy ones, you need to handle negative feedback as it’s a way to show that you take care of your customers. Plus, it proves your followers (and visitors) that your company is trustworthy, so they are more likely to choose you.
Thank Your Customers
If your customers call you out for customer service, that’s great. This means they are interested in buying from you in the future. Since customer requests help your business grow, it’s important to show people gratitude for customer loyalty.
Here’s how Whole Foods did it:
When you thank your followers for being proactive, you also encourage other Instagrammers to share their thoughts with you. As a result, you understand your target audience better and improve customer experience that helps to grow your revenue.
In a Word
Instagram is probably not the platform most companies would think of first for customer service. But it has gained in popularity over the last few years, and users turn to this platform to solve their customer requests. This means brands of all sizes and niches should provide excellent customer service on Instagram, and the above-mentioned tips should help your businesses.
This is a guest post by Hugh Beaulac
Hugh Beaulac is a content strategist behind MC2 Bid4Papers. In his spare time, Hugh also helps businesses promote products on Instagram and shares his tips when writing guest posts for blogs. You can get in touch with Hugh on Twitter or Facebook.
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