Customers are increasingly using social media to contact businesses about customer service issues. And these numbers are, by all signs, growing year by year. Businesses, on the other hand, are not all well-equipped to deal with this development, which can affect them negatively. In this blog post, I’m going to show you how you can handle your customer service on social media like a pro.
Social media & customer service: the numbers
The thing is, you might think you’re handling customer service beautifully on social media – but so do 80% of the companies surveyed in this study. In fact, they consider their customer care “superior” – and while it might be superior to other companies, the truth is, their customers don’t really agree with that sentiment; in fact, only a shocking mere 8% of them agree.
So, even if you might think you’re handling your customer care as best as you could be, your customers might not – it would be worth it to check whether there are areas where you can improve your customer service. Because if you do offer great customer service, it can help you grow your business. For example, Convince and Convert report that customer advocacy grows by 25% when you answer to complaints on social media.
Your customers want you to be fast (60% expect an answer within the hour), they want you to be clear and they want you to be helpful – but not many companies have managed to achieve this as of yet, as the numbers show us.
But, if you do offer amazing customer service on social media, your customers are more likely to return and keep buying from you, as well as recommend your business to their friends and contacts.
And the thing is, whether you like it or not, your customers are quite likely to use social media to ask about any customer service issues because it’s more convenient than other platforms and (usually) speedier and less frustrating than having to stay on hold with your contact center. Not to mention, consumers are increasingly expecting a seamless experience when it comes to all the ways they can engage with companies
Take the opportunity to stand out
Because so many companies are struggling to properly handle their customer service through social media, this presents a great opportunity for others to stand out.
As I mentioned earlier, great customer service means more loyal customers and more recommendations of your products from them. Plus, it’s great PR for your business: everyone can see your response unless it’s through private messages, so if you’re both quick and helpful, it will help improve your overall image.
In order to do this, you will need to deliver:
A quick response
Social media moves very quickly; your fans and followers always expect quick responses but when it comes to customer service, it’s even more important to respond immediately – or, preferably, within the hour. Basically, the quicker you are, the better.
And if you’re not responding within the same day…that can be quite damaging to your reputation.
A clear and helpful response
Don’t beat around the bush – customers want the answer quickly, but they also want it to be as helpful and as clear as possible. Otherwise, it might be easier for them to just go to your competitors!
The most important thing here is, to be honest and helpful in your answer, but also very clear so that the customers know exactly what they need to do.
Monitor your brand name
In order to be successful at customer service on social media, you need to constantly monitor your brand name and your mentions to make sure you’re seeing any new mentions as soon as they come in – it’s as simple as that.
From there, it’s just a question of replying quickly and being helpful, as discussed earlier.
If you’re using a tool to manage your social media, then you’re also seeing all of your mentions. But, beyond that, you can also set up a social media monitoring search for your brand name – sometimes, when people use social media for customer service or to ask a question about a business, they don’t always use the businesses’ social handle, which means it won’t pop up in your mentions inbox.
It can also happen that you find users venting about your business. In these cases, it’s not always the best idea to jump in their conversation as they might look at it as an invasion of their privacy when they’re trying to have a conversation with their friends; in others, it might be best to contact them privately, or send them an email with a solution to their problem – but, handled with subtlety.
Measuring your customer service success
To measure how effective you are at handling customer service via social media, you’ll need to look at your:
• Number of messages reviewed – do you have the time to go through all of your mentions, or are you struggling? Is it worth getting more people to help?
• Response rate – how many of your mentions/messages do you respond to? If you have a low response rate, it’s something to look into or it can grow into a bigger problem
• Response time – how quick are you to respond to customer service issues? As I mentioned earlier, if it takes you too long to respond, it can be quite damaging to your reputation
In order to measure these results, there are several tools that can help – as well as tools that can help you manage your social media customer service more easily:
Agorapulse is a social media management tool with a lot of useful features for helping you handle your customer service:
• Social inbox for keeping track of all your mentions with separate inboxes for each of your different accounts
• Automation rules – you can set up automation rules so that customer service updates are automatically assigned to the person handling customer service, among other automations
• Social CRM tool – you can keep track of all your contacts, tag them, see complete history of conversations between you and any contact
• Management analytics – find out what your response rates and response times are, as well as how many messages you reviewed
Sproutsocial is another social media management tool, with a lot of similar features to Agorapulse. In terms of customer service, you can use it to:
• Monitor your mentions with the social inbox
• Social CRM tool – see all your past conversations with any user, as well as richer customer profiles
• Collaborate with your team and assign tasks
• Track your teams’ customer service success: response time, response rate and completion ratio
As customer expectations are changing (and rapidly so), businesses need to find the best ways to keep up. Customer service via social media is one of those things – and as research shows us, customers don’t always agree with businesses over the quality of their service. It can be because you’re not fast enough, or not helpful enough…or, worse yet, it can be that you’re not responding at all.
And this can damage your success and your reputation; so, take out your magnifying glass and check your analytics to see how well you’re performing.