The Oxford dictionary needs to rewrite its definition of customer service. The term used to entail the advice and support a company gives those that purchase their product. However, since the mainstream adoption of social media, customer service means a whole lot more.
Now, it’s not just current customers who expect support, guidance, and advice. It’s potential customers too. This increase in customer engagement is hugely beneficial for businesses, as it enables social media managers to act as marketers and salespeople, as well as customer service agents.
Customers love social media support too. With 70% of consumers saying that they expect to use social media for customer service in the future, utilising platforms like Twitter and Instagram can certainly prove an asset to your business.
So, how can you ensure that your social media customer service remains on point? By taking a look at the brands that get online customer service right. Let’s dive in.
When shopping in-store, proactive customer service is expected. If a customer looks a little confused or lost, it’s common for sales assistants to make a friendly approach, offering their advice and guidance.
So why do so many businesses fail to notice the online equivalent of these customers? With 60% of customers expecting a response on social media within an hour, this could prove a costly mistake.
Athleisure retailer Lululemon solves this issue with outstanding social media customer service. Take the example below. When potential customers are discussing their brand online, Lululemon demonstrates proactive customer service by listening out for brand mentions – even when customers don’t use the company’s handles or hashtags.
By getting in touch with customers in this manner, Lululemon demonstrates great problem-solving and a fantastic attitude towards proactive customer service. Take a look at this second exchange, too.
In this conversation, Lululemon simply acknowledges the compliment they’ve received from a customer in a fun and personalised way. It’s also another response to a brand mention that doesn’t use a handle or a hashtag.
To achieve this kind of responsiveness with potential customers, you can of course use the in-built search functions available in most social media platforms.
However, your best bet is to use a social media management platform that can track all your mentions in one place. That way, you’ll never miss a chance to engage with your customers.
Amazon may be the biggest eCommerce site in the world, but that doesn’t stop them from tackling each social media customer service issue with a timely and personalised response. What’s more, Amazon is a great example of a company who understands how to get the most out of each social media channel.
For example, Amazon uses Snapchat to offer their customers daily Snap Deals – discounts exclusive to users of the platform. With Instagram, Amazon posts fun and inspirational stories, as well as great user generated content that further markets their services.
Take a look at the fan-made cake that Amazon shared below! You know your customer service is on the right track if customers share similar complimentary posts.
Looking to other social media platforms, Amazon utilises Facebook to not only share their new products, but to also solve customer service issues in an incredibly fast manner. With nearly thirty million followers, this is a truly commendable effort – as is their multi-language approach to using Twitter.
By offering social media customer service in a variety of languages, Amazon provides great accessibility to all of their customers. And despite what you might be thinking, this isn’t as hard to implement as it might sound.
Even though most businesses don’t have Amazon’s budget, it’s still possible to offer responses in a variety of languages. This can help you to achieve maximum success with your social media customer service.
For example, you could guide social media users to your website by offering a chat function that features automatic translation. Implementing such a feature means you can still serve customers around the world without hiring a team of translators.
With nearly 150 million customers worldwide, music streaming service Spotify has more than its fair share of social media customer service requests. Nevertheless, Spotify tackles each and every issue with a simple philosophy: they treat every problem with a positive attitude.
Whatever the issue, Spotify always seeks to solve it fast, while also engaging with their customers in a positive and personalised way.
In the below example, Spotify solves the customer’s query without using response templates or canned messages. Their team members even sign off with their initials, providing another personalised touch.
To provide their customers with the best level of support, Spotify ensures that their customer service team is extremely well trained.
Their customer service agents begin this training by responding to emails. This is the least time-sensitive medium in terms of customer queries. Agents can only move on to social media support once the company is satisfied with their customer service skills.
The reason Spotify places such an emphasis on training is simple. They understand that how you talk to customers is just as important as solving customer problems.
Of course, not all companies have Spotify’s training resources. That said, improving your customer service could be as simple as creating a list of best practices to follow.
For instance, when answering your own customer service queries, would you use template responses or a more personalised approach? Would you try and solve issues with public comments or private direct messages? Considerations like these will help create a more consistent and timely approach to customer queries.
Online pet food retailer Chewy has always known that great customer service keeps customers loyal. In fact, through their caring approach to customer experience, Chewy has been able to encourage huge business growth.
By using giveaways and competitions, as well as sharing extremely cute pet pictures, Chewy uses social media customer service to inspire delight. They’ve even been known to create personalised pet paintings and birthday treat packages for their customers’ pets!
Thoughtful gestures like these can truly make your customers’ day. By proving that you’re willing to go the extra mile, you’re more likely to keep customers loyal for the future.
However, while Chewy is a great example of a company using social media to spread joy, they are also an inspiration when it comes to addressing more difficult topics. For instance, have a look at the example below. Here, a customer received flowers after the recent passing of a loved one.
By offering support to a customer suffering a bereavement, Chewy proved their authenticity and care as a brand. Not every company can truly claim to act with the same level of compassion.
Acts like these are proof that great social media customer service isn’t about keeping customer complaints quiet. In reality, it can be a chance for real human connection.
To achieve this for your brand, take the time to reflect on how you approach online customer service interactions. Remember that there’s always a person behind the Twitter or Instagram handle. Compassion and fun go a long way to keeping your customers happy.
How you can get social media customer service right
As we’ve seen from the examples above, when it comes to offering the best social media customer service, there are a few key strategies to keep in mind. Below, we’ve listed our favourite tips for ensuring social media success.
Choose your social media platforms carefully
Remember to focus on the social media platforms that compliment your business, and try to master them one by one. Rushing to create an account on every platform is a sure-fire way to limit your capabilities on each.
Twitter is a great start for most businesses as you can engage in conversations before switching to direct messaging for more privacy. Instagram might be a better choice if you sell a product that is best marketed through photographs and videos.
Whatever platforms you choose, explore other brands’ use of social media as a customer service tool, and see where you could replicate or even improve upon their services.
Make timely responses by listening for mentions
When it comes to supporting customers via social media, always remember that responsiveness is key. Make sure you’re always on top of your mentions and able to reply fast – even if your customers don’t use your handles or hashtags.
If a customer has written a glowing review of your services, but failed to properly link you, you don’t want to miss a chance to share their post further.
To make sure you never get caught out, use social listening tools like social media management platforms. It’ll give you an edge over your competitors.
Create social media guidelines and stick to them
The best brands at social media customer service all have one thing in common – they maintain a positive but direct approach to problem solving. To help you achieve the same kind of approach, it’s best to create a list of best practice guidelines that you can follow in each interaction.
You might even want to develop a list of template responses that you can personalise for each comment or post. You should also consider how formal or informal you want your feed to be. Depending on the product or services, some companies allow more leeway in this area, especially when responding to compliments.
Either way, by maintaining a positive and consistent approach, you’ll not only resolve customer service queries quicker, you’ll also gain your customers’ confidence.
Go the extra mile
Ultimately, the best companies don’t just use social media for customer service support. Instead, they recognise that platforms like Twitter and Instagram are great opportunities to further engage with their customers by offering gifts, surprises, and competitions.
By offering social media followers these thoughtful incentives, brands like those mentioned above keep customers happy and receive a boost in advertising through social shares and word of mouth.
Finally, always remember that each social media interaction is out in the open for all to see. By remaining positive and helpful, you can not only keep your current customers loyal, but also inspire potential consumers to convert. It’s the best way to get the most out of social media.