When a customer has a complaint to make or an issue with your company, they will often use social media to get their point across.
A lot of brands genuinely believe that they are doing a great job in responding to these kind of messages but according to research, less than 10 percent are actually achieving this in the eyes of their customers.
This discrepancy means that for most brands, there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to delivering great customer service through social media.
Compared to email support, customers tend to expect a much quicker response when they send questions and complaints via social media. Sometimes, they want to receive almost instant support and a gap of several hours can be deemed “too long” to be acceptable.
Time is therefore of the essence if you want to not only impress customers with your social customer service but to meet their expectations in the first place. The quicker you can offer a response or solution, the better you’ll look.
Staying on top of your brand’s customer service can become time-consuming if you have more than a few messages to deal with in the average day – especially with the aim of responding fairly quickly.
If you only have one person providing customer service support on your social media channels, you may not be able to offer the level of support you’re striving for. Depending on the volume of enquiries that typically come in, you may want to think about expanding your team to up your customer service game.
Monitor Your Social Media Mentions
Keeping tabs on exactly what people are saying about your brand allows you to provide superior customer service but you’ll need to go beyond basic monitoring and dig a bit deeper, especially on Twitter.
You can’t just rely on @mentions and notifications alone as not everyone will look to mention you directly. Sometimes this is because they misspell your Twitter handle or don’t actually know it. Whatever the reason, you’ll often find that people are about you but not necessarily looking to include you in the conversation.
Broadening your social media monitoring to include searches on your brand name (including common spelling mistakes) and keywords relating to your brand can help to find posts that you should respond to but wouldn’t otherwise come across. You can then focus on helping these customers, as well as the ones that send messages directly, and providing support more quickly.
Strike the Right Tone
The tone that you use in responding to customer enquiries is absolutely crucial but it can be difficult to know how best to play it. This can be even more true on Twitter as you have so few characters to work with.
One way to get around the challenge is to try to replicate the tone of the original message. Obviously this doesn’t work if the customer was rude, sarcastic or hostile but if they used a casual tone, you can get creative and come up with a similarly light-hearted response – as long as it also solves the problem, of course!
Above all, empathy is key. Let customers know that you appreciate the situation that they’re in and that you’re committed to making things right. This is even more important if a complaint is being raised because of something that went wrong at your part, and a simple apology can make them get things off on the right foot and make them feel more positive about your brand. Be careful not to make excuses for the fault though; customers won’t really care why it happened and only want to know that it’s going to be resolved as soon as possible.
Avoid Canned Responses
If your brand tends to receive the same kind of messages on a regular basis, it can be tempting to compile some stock responses you can use to save time. This can work in some situations but you’ll see some brands reply to each and every customer service message with almost exactly the same wording – basically to say that they’re looking into it.
While this approach is definitely a way to make things easier at your end, you risk sending out the wrong message to customers. Replies that make no reference to their particular situation are impersonal and don’t make customers feel that their issue is being taken seriously. This puts your brand in a negative light and isn’t a great way to make them feel like a valued customer!
Taking a little bit of extra time to make replies more personal may be more of an effort but it will build a better reputation for your brand.
Take Things Offline if Needs Be
Sometimes, it’s just not possible to resolve issues fully on social media and you’ll need to direct the conversation onto email or telephone instead. If you have to pass enquiries onto another department, it’s important to make sure that customers don’t feel that they’re being passed around, and that this is the best (and sometimes only) way to take things forward.