Social media has greatly changed how customer support is carried out today.
Around 67% of customers are using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (now X) etc. to seek customer support. This means that brands need to seriously consider social media customer service as the new way to resolve customer support issues.
To get you started on it, we have an extensive guide for providing customer service on social media.
In this post, we will be listing some of the best practices for social media customer service. Let’s dive in.
Best practices for social media customer service
Delivering good customer service on social media can be tricky. But here are some best practices you can follow:
1. Set expectations
Your social media customer service strategy has a lot of particularities to define from the beginning. This starts with questions like what time frame will you be available in a specific social media channel, or how will your response times be. You are setting expectations for customers by defining what your time goals are, or what your office hours are. It’s also important that you align your goals with the nature of the platform.
For example, Twitter (X) users might expect faster response times compared to other social media users. Let your audience know what to expect from you while ensuring that the expectations you set are respectable and reasonable.
2. Have a dedicated social media handle
If you are going to provide customer support on social media, it is highly advisable that you have a dedicated handle for it. Your social media marketing team might take longer to get to client queries compared to your dedicated customer service team.
On top of saving time and providing smoother responses, having a separate social media account for customer service can also help you screen service queries from your main channel.
3. Identify where your customers are
One of the crucial social media customer service practices will be that of finding where your customers are by running audits. You need to know which platform your customers are reaching you from and why.
Study how they are interacting with you on different platforms and how the nature of the interactions differs. This makes it easy to strategize your social media customer service based on how each social media platform is functioning for you.
4. Monitor comments across channels
After you get to know from which platforms your customers are reaching you, the next step would be to find comments about your company across channels. You can do this by setting up monitoring streams to find out when your company is mentioned in customer comments.
This way, you can go through the comments and easily resolve any complaints that the customer might have. Remember to look for both positive and negative comments and address them as required.
5. Provide faster responses
Ensure that your responses to customer queries are timely. Effective social media customer service means effective engagement and issue resolution. Customers often prefer to get quick responses and providing them with that hugely (and positively) impacts the impression they have about your company. No one likes to wait and a delayed response is a cause for frustration for customers, so avoid it to the maximum.
For instant responses to common queries, you can also employ templates and instant reply features common to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
6. Personalize social media customer service interactions
A good social media customer service is inevitably one that has been able to offer positive customer experiences across channels.
Therefore, personalization is crucial in creating and fostering a positive atmosphere for customers, making them feel valued and ultimately building brand loyalty. Use the customer’s name, and other details wherever needed to make conversations more human and personal.
7. Check your tone of voice
The tone you use in your customer service interactions leaves an impression on customers. So, ensure that this is a positive impression. Do this with an empathetic and friendly tone when communicating with your customers. Empathy is key in customer service and by fine-tuning your tone to make customers feel at ease, you are also nurturing a positive brand perception.
8. Know when to take it offline
Though social media customer service is effective and efficient, not everything can be solved from a social media platform.
Some queries or customer issues that you get on your socials, might be complex and need a more hands-on approach. Depending on the nature of the issue, take it up in DM, email, call or via live chat.
9. Train your agents
Customer service over social media sounds like a simple concept but it is a little more complex than traditional ways of support, and handling it requires its own skill sets. This is why you need to invest in training people.
You can either train your support team on social media customer service practices or have a marketing professional as your social media support in-charge and train them.
10. Optimize for mobile users
Majority of users access their social media using smartphones or mobile devices. So it’s important that you optimize your social media service accounts and strategy for mobile-first users. To do this you can include easy response buttons, optimize font sizes and visual content for mobile screens, enable auto-fill etc.
11. Be proactive
If customers are coming to you with the same questions, that means that you need to have some resources on self-servicing; like FAQs and other educational materials.
Create dedicated how-to videos for customers to easily resolve simple issues, or have blog posts do the same. You can also post about common and known service issues on your social media service account.
12. Improve social listening
Even if they haven’t commented on your post or tagged you, they still might be discussing your company online. And often this is where you get insights into customer expectations.
Practice social listening, i.e., monitoring mentions about your brand on social media posts and networks, tracking relevant keywords and understanding customer expectations and sentiments. This is achievable by employing social media monitoring tools to provide you with these valuable insights.
13. Respond to everything
Respond to every single social media feedback, queries and comments. One customer query that got ignored can easily mean one customer lost.
Untended customer support queries can easily lead to negative reviews which will have a lasting impact on your company. Therefore, be frequent and consistent with your social media customer service responses.
14. Avoid getting defensive
While we have discussed that a positive tone of response is preferred, it is also important to note that any temptations to be defensive to criticism must be curbed. That is, never argue with customers.
Try not to hide information or act against critics as this reflects badly on the company. It’s always better to be transparent and accountable than to be defensive when faced with negative reviews.
15. Have a Shared Inbox
If you have different channels, using a shared inbox lets you automatically sync service interactions from all these channels into a single dashboard.
A shared inbox makes it extremely easy for your service team to view and react to all customer queries that reach their inboxes, subsequently making your customer support system work like a well-oiled machine.
16. Refer clients to additional support
Your social media support account will be one of your most accessible channels for customer support but this shouldn’t be your only channel. If you find yourself in a bind with huge volumes of service requests on your social media account, direct them towards additional support channels.
This can be email addresses, FAQ links, call center phone numbers and so on. The idea is to make it easier for your team to take on higher volumes of support queries without missing anything.
17. Leverage analytics
One of the golden rules for marketing success is monitoring almost everything. So unsurprisingly this is one of the best practices for social media customer service as well.
Monitor requests, tags, mentions, the performance of your posts, keywords, common topics on social pages, and everything else that will give you insights into how good of a customer service experience you are providing.
18. Build social media support guidelines
Besides training and prepping up your team, there should be a playbook of sorts, for them to work within. This should include your branding guidelines, what’s expected of your agents, guidelines for social media messaging, templates to use for common questions, and most importantly crisis management plans to combat any unexpected emergency situations.
19. Leverage automation
A high volume of customer queries on social media will certainly have your service teams’ hands full. This is why you need to employ automation wherever possible. Instead of leaving customers hanging, you can rely on automation to provide instant replies with auto-responses.
You can also automate follow-up messages and deploy chatbots with conversational AI for self-service.
20. Constantly look to improve
Customer expectations will keep on evolving so it’s crucial that your social media customer service should match up to it and strive to meet the rising expectations. Request feedback on customer service experiences, identify areas that require improvement and constantly rely on your insights to fine-tune your customer support.
Better Social Media Customer Service with Radarr!
So far, we have discussed some of the best customer service practices. It is also important that you provide social media customer service responses efficiently no matter what channel your customer reaches you from.
Radarr helps you monitor conversations across channels in real time, letting you actively track and engage all customer queries without fail. With advanced features like a comprehensive dashboard to pull in all conversations to setting up canned responses, you can do it all on Radarr.