In touch: Providing customer service through social media

In touch: Providing customer service through social media

May 1, 2021
Fred Layno

Podcaster Dan Gingiss, author of "Winning At Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media," explores the concept of customer experience, which is how customers feel about their interaction with a company.

Before social media, customer interaction felt a bit detached and isolated; offline experiences stayed offline. Now, with social media and smartphones, these interactions can all be done online, which can be both a good and a bad thing.

There are customers sharing positive reviews of their experience with your company online, which can lead to growth for your brand. A negative experience, however, can also be broadcasted by an irate customer online, hence bringing about potential negative publicity.

According to research from the Institute of Customer Service, 1 in every 3 customers use social media to ask questions or interact with businesses. 

READ: Brand, branding, and getting started: 10 ways to do it 

To fully take advantage of the power of social media, you need to put yourself into your customer’s shoes and see your business from the customer’s perspective. Try purchasing from your website, checking your customer service portals, or going to your stores just to get a feel of what it’s like to interact with your brand as a customer.

This can be an eye-opening experience for you and your employees and can help you examine the challenges that customers may face. You can ask yourself questions like, “Was the entire experience smooth?” or “Am I satisfied with the way my company provides service to my customers?”

According to Patrick Cuttica, director of product marketing at social media management company Sprout Social, your company should also act as a helpful resource to customers when they come to you for questions and concerns.

One way to do this is by making sure your customers can reach you on their preferred platforms.

"Brands need to be thoughtful about which social platforms their customers are using [and] … focus their engagement efforts there," Cuttica says. "A successful customer service strategy requires that a brand be present and available across the channels their customers prefer." 

Moving your customer services online requires you to let go of any “corporate” way of doing business. Social media is a dynamic tool that needs equally creative ways of finding solutions and keeping your employees as involved with the brand as possible.

To successfully integrate social media with your company, you will first need three things: 

1. Increase openness in communication between you and your employees

The more they appreciate their place in their organization, the better they understand and the more equipped they become in solving the problems they are tasked to solve.

They would also know better the scope of their duties if they are constantly informed about what applies to them and what does not. 

2. Value your employees and build a culture of trust

As management, allow your employees to speak on behalf of the company. This introduces a sense of freedom which will help them build relationships with customers.

An employee must have the confidence to represent the brand so they can provide consumer-oriented, competent service. 

3. Share consumer feedback with relevant departments in your company

This provides an opportunity for some employees who closely work with customers to help in providing a solution. This way, you and your company have a more informed way of knowing your customers and addressing their needs. 

How to use social media for customer service

Here are some strategies to help small business owners in using social media as a customer service tool:

1. Be responsive and answer complaints in a timely manner

No response is also considered a poor response, and this can reflect negatively on your brand. Make it a goal to keep your brand active on social media and responsive to customers. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have the potential to build real relationships by engaging in conversation with your audiences.

Make sure that all of your customers’ questions are answered and that their concerns are addressed quickly enough.

According to the 2017 State of Service report by Salesforce, 64% of consumers expect businesses to respond to their queries instantly. Your response will determine whether or not your customers will return to do business with your or recommend you to their friends. 

2. Focus on creating a customer advocate base

Most companies often overlook the power of loyal brand advocates. Creating a loyal customer fan base gives you an extra padding that will protect your brand whenever someone has something bad to say about your company.

Think of them as your fans who will always advocate for your brand because of the good experiences they had with your company. Make it a strategy to always provide excellent services and experiences for your loyal customer base. 

3. Take public conversations private

Irate customers will most definitely leave negative comments on your social media pages and express their disappointment. You can respond to them by saying that you are processing their request and that a member of your customer service team will reach out to them.

This way, you not only show other customers that you care for their requests, you also control the situation by keeping the conversation private and providing a more personal customer service experience. 

4. Create a separate account for customer service and use hashtags

Use a specific hashtag to help users and your customer service team search for queries with ease. You can also set up a separate handle for customer service support. That way, your team can easily organize customer concerns and work on them quickly. 

Let social media work for your brand, and let BizScale show you how. Talk to us by completing this form, emailing, calling 833-722-5310, or booking time on Calendly. Be bold. Work with BizScale now.