Social media has become the go-to channel for customers and brands to communicate with one another. The conversation can involve anything from questions to complaints to shout-outs, but whatever the context, brands must be ready to respond with stellar customer service. Below are 11 methods for providing customer service through social.
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library, and email lessons.
- Searching Twitter
You can search Twitter for your company name (as well as common keywords for your target user base) to both stay alert of any uprising customer service issues and have a chance to capture new leads.
— Patrick Conley | Automation Heroes
- Redirecting Requests
Social media is not the ideal place to serve clients. Instead, respond and redirect the requests to a customer service desk such as FuseDeck where you can see exactly who is contacting you. Otherwise, you might approve a refund or offer a discount inappropriately. Additionally, these conversations should be private most of the time.
— Kelly Azevedo | She's Got Systems
- Using Rapportive
Rapportive shows you the social media footprint behind an email address right inside your inbox. When we receive a customer inquiry, Rapportive shows us quickly if that customer is on different social networks. This enables us to answer his inquiry via email, stay connected on Twitter and begin to establish a meaningful relationship with him.
— Brett Farmiloe | Digital Marketing Agency
- Answering Every Single Question
So many companies have a customer base that they don't nurture. We handle social CRM for many of our digital clients, and we answer every single customer question and piece of feedback. It turns consumers into loyalists and loyalists into brand ambassadors.
— Alex Frias | Track Marketing Group
- Responding With Immediacy
The key to responding to questions or concerns on social media is immediacy. Users love brands that listen to and try to resolve their issues, and it is important for companies to plan for those interactions to happen at any time. Social media customer service is all about convenience for consumers; they don't want to wait to be assisted, so be sure to plan for, measure and improve response times.
— Doreen Bloch | Poshly Inc.
- Rectifying Poor Service
Use social media platforms to log complaints made about poor service, then respond to each customer and exceed his needs and expectations. Customers already use social media to express their opinions. By reaching out to them promptly, there is a greater chance of strengthening the brand name and showing the company cares about the customer experience. It also prevents complaints from going viral.
— Jay Wu | A Forever Recovery
- Giving Updates on Improvements
It's one thing to answer your customers and address their complaints. Take it to the next level and regularly provide updates through social on new changes based on customer feedback. Try a hashtag such as #FeedbackFriday on Twitter where you share one resolution, update, change or new service added based on a customer complaint or suggestion.
— Susan Strayer LaMotte | exaqueo
- Providing Real World Solutions
Create a real-world solution via listening and quick action. For example, if a client complains about the cold soup they're eating at your restaurant, you should be able to identify the issue immediately and replace that soup or comp the meal. With the right team (and tools), you can turn a negative experience into a "wow" moment and win true loyalty.
— Brennan White | Watchtower
- Showing Customer Appreciation
Social media-related customer service is not all about answering problematic issues; it's about showing customers that they are appreciated. Every time a customer wears one of our emerging designers and sends us a picture, we tweet at her, feature her on Instagram or give her a Facebook shout-out. It's a great way to build buzz and celebrate your customers.
— Benish Shah | Vicaire NY
- Being Proactive About What Matters
In the early days, all three of our founders were active in social media, monitoring and responding to the community. As the company grew, we hired a dedicated community manager. It’s still important that everyone is involved: sales, account managers, product managers, executives, and marketing. Being thoughtful and proactive about what’s top of mind, rather than waiting for complaints, is key.
— Adam Schoenfeld | Simply Measured
- Using Zendesk
We use Zendesk for customer support, but a surprising number of user questions still come via social media. When we do get customer service questions on social media, the content or PR team answers (if there's space), or they redirect to support. We also use social to point users to specific resources like YouTube videos, blog articles or e-books.
— Jim Belosic | Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack
About the author
Emma was one of the recipients of HubSpot's inaugural Great Manager Award, recognizing the top 10% of the manager population during her stay at HubSpot. Now she is a Director of People Operations at Lola.com. Lola.com is best known for developing corporate travel management and expense software for web browsers.