The modern customer can interact with their favorite brand across different touchpoints. They can get instant replies to questions thanks to online chatbots, live chat and social media. A brand must be available on these channels nowadays.
Customer service now focuses on providing the best experience. Companies know that 60% of consumers will abandon a brand because of poor customer support. Social media can especially help businesses provide an extraordinary experience.
These platforms are easily accessible. Users get immediate support whenever they interact with a company. It’s no surprise that over 4 billion people are active on social media. Your brand should be there too.
You need to develop a social customer service plan to provide the best support. In this article, we’ll go over the three steps you should take.
Let’s start with the basics first.
What is social media customer service?
Social media customer service refers to the practice of providing support on social media platforms. Agents respond to all kinds of messages they receive—from complaints to product-related queries.
Brands can engage with customers on social media in:
- Direct messages – consumers send queries directly to your business account
- Posts – your social media reps can tag customers in posts to spark conversations with them or vice versa
- Comments – users leave public comments on your posts. Some of them require a response, e.g. if they are order-related queries.
Traditionally, customer service used to engage with consumers through touchpoints like phone and email. This isn’t enough anymore as consumers crave personal interactions. That’s why they’ve shifted their attention to social media.
Social media customer service aims to provide a positive experience by responding to queries as simply and quickly as possible. You can create that positive experience if you have a good social customer service plan.
Why is social customer service important?
Brands must create experiences. This is what attracts people to their products or services. Whether you use VoIP for call center, offer email support or respond to consumers on social media, your goal should be to develop a positive customer experience.
Customer support isn’t only about solving issues. According to research, 81% of consumers will make another purchase after experiencing great customer service. This shows that your agents can have an impact on your company’s revenue.
Use social media to drive consumers’ interest in your company. If you implement a social customer service plan, you can reap the following benefits:
- Stronger brand awareness – you can build your brand awareness by being active on social media platforms. On average, users spend 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media. There’s a high chance they’ll find your business if you provide great support there. As a result, you’ll increase brand awareness.
- Better customer engagement – consumers can only engage with your company in a store in real life. On the internet, however, they have more chances to come into contact with you. Your social media customer support can host giveaways, share user-generated content and offer instant support. All of this engages your audience base.
- Quicker responses – customers use social media to share a positive experience or reveal their frustrations. They don’t expect a response in most cases. What if your brand responds to them in a timely manner? They would be pleasantly surprised. You can use social media to provide solutions in real-time. This is quicker than sending emails.
Social media customer service has a way of impressing consumers. They feel like their favorite brand is always there for them—just one tweet, comment or post away!
Be active and present on social media
Remember that social media is a public space. Every feedback, comment or post is visible to all users. That’s why your support team should always be present and carefully respond to queries.
The way you respond to an inquiry on social media tells a lot about your business. Answering all questions leaves a lasting impression on your customers. It tells them they can always rely on you for help and advice.
Selectively responding to inquiries, however, shows you aren’t concerned with all of your customers. If you disregard negative comments, people will think you aren’t customer-centric.
According to Statista, more than 45% of US customers have a better opinion about brands that deal with customer queries and complaints on social media. This creates a positive brand image and increases brand loyalty.
You need to develop a social customer service plan if you want to impress your audience base. We’ve prepared some tips for you to help you along the way.
3 steps to creating a social customer service plan
Your company should focus on providing unique social customer service. If you only respond to a few complaints now and then, you’ll come across as unprofessional. You should always be there for consumers on these platforms.
Your social customer service plan should:
- Reactively resolve customer complaints
- Create impressive customer stories
- Proactively offer customer support
- Build a positive and inspirational brand
Three steps can help you achieve this. Let’s check them out.
Set your goals
You should develop a social customer service plan when you have goals in mind. The plan won’t be as effective if you create it just for the sake of creating it. You can answer the following questions to make the process easier:
- Why do you want to provide customer support on social media?
- What do your consumers expect from you?
- How can your brand help customers on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram?
- Which business goals do you want to accomplish with social media customer service?
When companies have a social customer service plan, they usually set these goals:
- Customer retention – the majority of consumers turn to social media as a last resort. They tried to resolve an issue on other support channels, but there was no progress. They hope social media can give them the answer they need. This means that offering customer service on social media can be used for customer retention. Your agents can offer a solution in real-time and impress a customer. As a result, they will not turn to your competitors.
- Create positive experiences – this is the number one goal of most brands. They want to use social media to build communities of satisfied customers. The best way to achieve this is by answering your followers’ questions and solving their issues. Customers will share their great experiences with friends and family, increasing your revenue.
- Hint at self-service support – setting up a knowledge base can be another goal. Inevitably, your support team will receive the same questions on all channels. It can become tedious to answer the same question over and over again. What your social customer service team can do is introduce your knowledge base to consumers. They can link to responses to save time. Other customers will see the links and know they can find answers themselves.
The plan will make much more sense if there is a goal. Choose a goal that best fits your business and try to create a plan that revolves around it.
Figure out your response times
You should treat social media as an official support channel. Just like on email or phone, customers expect to receive a response promptly. That’s why you should figure out your response times on social media.
Of course, response times may vary. They usually depend on the size of your team and their resources. If they have everything they need, the agents will respond to issues quickly.
The first step is to determine how quickly you’ll provide first-touch support to a customer. Let’s say that a customer contacts you on social media for the first time. How long should they wait for your answer? If you have a social media customer service team, they shouldn’t wait longer than two hours.
Then, you can’t commit to any response time if your team can’t handle the workload. You should analyze how long it takes for a team member to respond to queries on social media. After that, you can say to the team how many queries you expect them to resolve per day.
Practice makes perfect. Your team will get used to responding to queries within a specific timeframe.
Track your metrics
You should monitor the performance of your social media customer service team. Add specific metrics to the plan so you’ll know what to follow.
Tracking and analyzing metrics will help you understand how successful your team is. It will also point to the areas which need improvements. Some of the metrics you can track include:
- Customer demand per hour
- Automated resolution rate
- Ticket volume
- Average response time
- Goal completion rate
Remember to include the metrics in your plan so that the team members know what they should work towards.
Social media has transformed the business world, including customer support. It has made it easier for businesses to interact with customers and provide solutions to their problems. You should use this channel to deliver support as well.
Follow the three steps we mentioned to create an effective social customer service plan. When you have a plan, every team member will be on the same page. You’ll then easily accomplish your goals on social media.