The way businesses interact with customers has changed dramatically in recent years, thanks to the rise of social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have given customers a new way to reach out to businesses with questions, concerns, and feedback. This is what the digital age has ushered — a better way for brands and businesses to engage consumers.
In fact, according to research by ReviewTrackers, 53 percent of customers expect a business to respond to their negative feedback within a week, with some of those surveyed having a shorter turnaround of three days at most.
Add to that the staggering number of social media users around the world — 4.62 billion, per Data Reportal’s Digital 2022: Global Overview Report. This figure is equal to more than half of the entire population — imagine that!
It cannot be denied that social media is the best channel for customer care today. And in this article, we’ll provide you with five ways to optimize your social media management strategy for customer service.
Comparing customer service strategies
The traditional model of customer service is reactive in nature. Businesses would wait for customers to come to them with their problems. This would often result in long queues and waiting times, as well as unhappy customers.
In most traditional customer service strategies, customers or potential buyers engage the business through phone calls, face-to-face interactions, or email. In some cases, businesses would send out customer satisfaction surveys to get feedback.
On the other hand, digital customer service is proactive and preventive. Businesses reach out to customers before they even have a chance to experience a problem. This is made possible by social media platforms that allow two-way communication.
With digital customer service, businesses can monitor social media channels for any mention of their brand or product. They can then address these concerns immediately before they turn into bigger problems.
This is an important distinction to make because it highlights the different mindsets of traditional and digital customer service strategies. Traditional customer service is about solving problems that have already arisen. Digital customer service is about preventing problems from happening in the first place.
Today, thanks to social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, consumers can go online to easily reach out to brands and businesses. Actively following their favorite businesses, these consumers also find that they can quickly connect with other customers who share their interests.
This is the new customer service landscape — one that is social, digital, and interactive. And it is one that all businesses must learn to navigate if they want to succeed in the modern marketplace.
How customer service impacts social media marketing success
Customer service has always been important, but in the social media age, it is more important than ever before. This is because social media is a two-way street. It allows customers to reach out to businesses, and it also allows businesses to reach out to customers.
This interaction is what makes social media such an effective marketing tool. It allows businesses to build relationships with their customers and create a connection that goes beyond the transaction.
However, social media marketing can only be successful if businesses provide excellent customer service. This is because customers expect to be able to reach out to businesses on social media and receive a quick and helpful response.
If they don’t, they will quickly take their business elsewhere.
This is why it is so important for businesses to focus on social media customer service. By providing excellent customer service on social media, businesses can create loyal customers who will stick with them for the long run.
5 steps to fully becoming a social media customer service person
As a social media marketer looking to improve on customer service strategies, it is important to understand that social media customer service is a full-time job. This is because social media never sleeps.
To fully commit to providing excellent social media customer service, businesses must be prepared to put in the time and effort. They must also be willing to change their processes and strategies as needed to ensure that they are providing the best possible experience for their customers.
Here are five steps that businesses can take to improve their social media customer service:
1. Review past experiences, customer reviews, and feedback
To provide the best possible social media customer service, businesses must first understand what their customers want and need. The best way to do this is to review past experiences, customer reviews, and feedback.
Understanding you customers’ demands and expectations will help you to provide the best possible service going forward. This will give businesses a good idea of the areas where they need to improve. It will also help them to identify any patterns or common themes.
2. Decide on the most appropriate online channel for your business and build a customer support team
The next step is to decide on the most appropriate online channel for your business. This will depend on the type of business, the products and services offered, and the customer base.
Once you have decided on the most appropriate channel, you will need to build a customer support team. This team should be composed of people who are passionate about social media and customer service. They should also be experts in the use of the chosen channel.
The team should be prepared to handle all aspects of social media customer service, including responding to inquiries, handling complaints, and offering support.
Depending on the niche of your business, here are some of the best social media platforms and the type of audience they primarily target:
- Facebook — All age groups, genders, and interests
- Twitter — Younger audiences, tech-savvy users, and those interested in current events
- Instagram — Younger audiences, trendsetters, and fashionistas
- LinkedIn — Business professionals and those interested in networking
- YouTube — All age groups, but especially younger audiences
3. Craft customer service guidelines and establish best practices
The next step is to craft customer service guidelines and establish best practices. This will ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page and knows what is expected of them.
Some things that should be included in the guidelines are the tone of voice to be used, how to handle complaints, and how to deal with difficult customers.
It is also important to establish best practices for responding to customers. This includes setting response times and ensuring that all inquiries are addressed in a timely manner.
According to Sprout Social’s 2022 Index, 13 percent of consumers in the US expect businesses on social media to respond within the first hour of their message, while 76 percent expect a reply within the day. This only makes it much more critical for a business to be as responsive as possible when they’re on social media.
That being said, here are some tried and tested social media customer service best practices:
- Treat social media customer service as a priority
- Make sure that all inquiries are addressed in a timely manner
- Use a personal and friendly tone
- Be responsive to complaints
- Be proactive in offering assistance
4. Implement customer care automation tools
One of the best ways to improve social media customer service is to implement customer care automation tools. These tools can help businesses to save time and resources while still providing an excellent level of service.
There are a number of different customer care automation tools available, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some of the most popular options include:
- Hootsuite Insights — This tool provides businesses with detailed insights into their social media activity. It also offers a range of features that make it easy to respond to customers and handle customer service inquiries.
- Sprout Social — This tool offers a range of features that make it easy to manage social media customer service. It also provides businesses with detailed insights into their social media activity.
- Buffer — This tool is designed to help businesses effectively manage their social media accounts. It offers a range of features that make it easy to publish content, engage with customers, and track results.
5. Take accountability and address complaints quickly
It is important to take accountability for the social media customer service team and address complaints quickly. This will show customers that you are committed to providing an excellent level of service.
Customer complaints should be addressed as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. The team should also keep a close eye on social media channels for any negative sentiment.
It is also important to take measures to prevent complaints from happening in the first place. This can be done by ensuring that all inquiries are addressed promptly, and that customer service is a priority.
Here are a few more tips on how to show your customer support team is taking accountability:
- Be a genuine human being, empathize, and personalize interactions
- Listen, respond, and act in a timely manner
- Follow through on your promises to build trust
- Engage your audiences consistently
- Provide solutions to their problems
By following these steps, businesses can improve their social media customer service and provide an excellent level of care for their customers.
The Benefits of Social Media Customer Service to a Business
Conclusively, businesses today are finding that social media customer service is a vital part of their operations. By providing excellent customer service through social media, businesses can improve their brand reputation and build trust with their customers.
There can be many different benefits that businesses can enjoy by providing social media customer service, including:
- Improved brand reputation
- Increased customer loyalty
- Greater transparency
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Lower customer churn rate
As a social media marketer, growing your expertise in customer service will help you to better serve your clients and deliver successful social media campaigns. After all, at the end of the day, are you not a consumer as well? Surely, you’re more than familiar with how it feels to be on the other side of the customer service line.
Implementing these steps to improve social media customer service will go a long way in providing your customers with the best possible experience. And, as we all know, happy customers are repeat customers!
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