7 Ways to Provide Great Customer Service On Your Social Media Channels

29 July 2016

7 Ways to Provide Great Customer Service On Your Social Media Channels

Social media profiles can serve a range of different roles for a modern-day brand. A prominent social presence is now expected for businesses with any kind of online presence, and Facebook and Twitter accounts in particular provide a useful and accessible way for customers to communicate with the brands they engage with on the web.

One of the results of this increased communication is the development that a lot of customer support activity now happens on social channels. Social media managers may find themselves doubling as customer service professionals, and 42% of people who complain on social media expect a response within an hour.

So, how can a business set itself up to manage an effective customer support channel through its social media accounts?

1. Combine strategy (i.e. your medium- and long-term plans for your social media posts) with immediacy (i.e. dealing with questions, queries and complaints as they come in) by instituting great training on prioritisation and managing expectations. Consider having different employees staffing your social media channels, each with a clear role, so that nothing is overlooked.

2. Use social media management software so that you can manage your communication effectively. For larger organisations, consider enterprise-level tools that allow somebody to allocate tasks to a member of a team and mark them as complete when they have been dealt with.

3. Listen. Tesco responds to comments about its stores and its service whether or not you tag the brand in your tweet or not. By carrying out searches for mentions of its brand name, Tesco can receive a much wider range of feedback and deal with issues quickly. So set up searches for your brand name and the names of your prominent products.

4. Don’t ignore complaints. Any difficult situation can always be made worse by pretending it’s not happening! Word can travel fast on social media, so if somebody has had a disastrous experience with your brand, hoping it will just blow over is an ineffective strategy.

5. Respond individually to communications, even if you receive the same complaint multiple times. Nobody is impressed with copied and pasted platitudes.

6. Have a crisis management plan in place for really awful situations. Make sure social media managers and customer service staff know exactly what to do if things reach crisis point, which is especially important as they are potentially the most customer-facing members of staff.

7. Don’t try to sell while you’re placating an angry customer. It might seem obvious, but some customer service staff try to slip in a potential promotion when they are dealing with somebody who is annoyed by something the brand has done. This will only ever lead to increased hostility from the complainant.