It has taken some time, but we can all probably agree that social media is not a fad; it is a way of life. It has become so ingrained in our culture that brands who don’t have a presence on social media are more likely to struggle than those who have embraced the culture and figured out how to interact with it to a profitable advantage.
One of the best ways to use social media to help build your brand (and, by extension, increase your profits) is to use the platforms as portals for customer service engagement. Here are some tips on how to do exactly that:
Where Does Your Audience Hang Out?
According to a Robofirm article on social media strategies to keep customers engaged, the first step toward customer service engagement on social media is to figure out on which networks your audience spends its time. While it’s true that you want to have at least a basic presence on all of the popular networks, paying close attention to the social networks most often used by your audience will help you more quickly respond to complaints, issues, etc. The best way to figure out where your audience spends its time is to do some demographic research and polling and then match those numbers up to each social media network’s audience metrics.
Put a Real Person Behind the Screen
As you use portals like Twitter, Facebook, etc. yourself, you’ve undoubtedly come across a few brands that are run primarily by chatbots. These accounts automatically favorite each tweet that mentions them and usually sends some sort of canned “thank you for your comments!” reply. Don’t be one of those brands. Put real customer service agents behind your company’s accounts so that issues can be addressed in real time and conversationally. Social media should not be a funnel for your queue. It’s a real-time network.
Not Every Post Needs a Response
One of the best ways to use social media for customer service is to pay attention to what, exactly, your audience is saying about your brand and products. If you’re seeing the same issues over and over again, those are issues that you should address before releasing your next update. While your audience might appreciate a quick “thanks for the feedback, we’ll be sure to look into that” reply, what they really want to see is action.
Keep Your Customers Informed
Do not wait for your audience to come to you with a problem. In addition to using social media as a two-way communication portal, it is also good to simply send out messages updating your audience about what has been happening behind the scenes. It is especially important to offer these updates when there is a widespread problem like a hack or if your network goes down. For example, when Netflix’s servers were having issues, their agents hopped on Twitter to publish regular updates acknowledging the outage and keeping customers up to date on when the servers would be fixed.
The 24/48 Rule
In social media, timeliness is incredibly important. Consumers want responses to their messages right away and waiting a week to send a reply to a tweet is more likely to alienate someone. It is important that you don’t let your messages go more than 24 hours without a response and no more than 48 without a follow up on that response. Yes, you will likely have to triage messages as they come in. Urgent matters should be responded to immediately (like when someone is having trouble with an airline reservation). Others can be pushed back (someone not liking a product as much as they thought they would). Use your best judgment but do your best to abide by the 24/48 rule.
Social media is an incredibly important piece of the current marketing landscape. Using it correctly for your customer service will build brand loyalty and profit growth. Hopefully these tips will help you improve your social media customer service skills.