A Quick Guide to Customer Service on Social Media

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are no longer platforms simply for marketing and advertising for brands. They have evolved into important channels where customers will go for questions or feedback. Gone are the days where the customers first thought is to call the 0800 number – it is now more important than ever that brands have a strong, integrated customer services strategy across all relevant social channels.

Below are a few important points for brands to follow when providing customer care over social channels:

1. Focus on the right social channels

Most companies will find Facebook and Twitter to be their main focus for social customer care, however some may find that their customers are active on other platforms, such as Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Tumblr. Larger companies may benefit from having separate channels (particularly on Twitter) for customer service – Nike for example, uses @Nike for brand promotion and @NikeSupport for customer service inquiries.

2. Wherever possible, deal with the complaint directly over social media

Nothing will anger a customer more than making a complaint over social media, and being redirected straight to a 0800 number or website where they’ll have to resubmit their complaint. In instances where it’s not possible to resolve an issue in a single exchange, take it offline by asking the customer to provide their contact details (through a private message) and get in touch with them.

3. Respond in a timely and accurate manner

When it comes to social media, the speed of response is key. Most customers have come to expect a response over Facebook within the same day, and even quicker over Twitter. There are a number of tools brands can use to calculate the volume of daily, weekly and monthly activity that can be useful in helping to deal with response times. Prioritise the critical questions and complaints and if the answer is not immediately obvious, let the customer know that you’ve seen their message and you’re looking into it. Make it clear in your page’s guidelines the times when your page is monitored so customers know when to expect a response.

4. Be proactive

Use a social listening tool (see Top 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools) to pick up instances where users are talking about your brand without posting to your page or using your handle. Touch base with customers that might benefit from a response, even if they haven’t asked for one directly, to show you’re paying attention.