How to use social media as a customer service tool
Social media has become an integral part of all of our daily lives. From sharing pictures of our pets to staying up to date with the latest news, social media has revolutionized the way we communicate. However, social media is not just a platform for personal interactions, it has also impressively emerged as a powerful customer service tool that can help businesses connect with their customers in a much more efficient and effective way. It’s a platform where companies can build their brand, showcase their products or services, and engage with their target audience. Businesses can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by responding instantly to customer queries, issues, and complaints.
In the past, customers had quite limited options available when it came to contacting businesses. They had to either call a customer service hotline or send an email, which often meant long wait times and delayed replies. But with the rise of social media lately, customers can now easily reach out to businesses directly on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more. This default mode of communication has made it easier for brands or businesses to provide timely and highly personalized support, leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention.
So here are some tips on how businesses can leverage social media to improve their customer service:
1. Monitor Your Social Media Accounts Regularly
The first step in turning social media into a customer service tool is to monitor your accounts regularly. Setting up alerts and notifications when customers tag or mention your brand on social media will help you stay on top of customer feedback and respond promptly. It is essential to respond to customer queries and complaints on time. Studies have found that 79% of customers expect a response in the first 24 hours. So, failing to respond to their queries and complaints in a t manner can damage your brand’s reputation and trust.
2. Respond Instantly and Professionally
Currently acting as one of the main forms of the channel with public exposure, social media has significantly impacted the brand’s perception. According to McKinsey & Company, customers are likely to spend 20-40 percent more with companies that respond to customer service requests on social media. On the other hand, companies that fail to respond to customers on social media suffer a 15 percent higher churn rate year after year.
Even after outgrowing some of the traditional service channels over time, social media can potentially turn even a small or isolated incident into a PR disaster.
Therefore, once you have identified a customer inquiry or complaint, it is important to respond promptly and professionally. This means acknowledging the customer's concern, apologizing if necessary, and providing a solution to their problem. Avoid canned responses, and make sure that your response is personalized and addresses the customer's specific concern. Remember, social media is a public platform, and your response will be visible to all your followers, so always maintain a professional tone.
3. Use social listening to identify common customer issues
Social listening involves monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand or industry. Hence, you can identify common customer issues and address them proactively. For example, if several customers are complaining about a particular product, you can use this feedback to improve the product or provide more detailed instructions on how to use it.
Paying attention to what your customers require from you will help you set up effective strategies, leading to customer satisfaction.
Here are some of the ways social listening can help you resolve customer issues:
a) Create a unique hashtag or keywords.
Create a specific hashtag or keyword for your service team and share it with your customers so that they can easily reach out to you and get an instant response from the service team. By monitoring the keywords or hashtags using social listening, you can instantly get your agents to step in and reply without causing further delay anymore.
b) Identify the most popular channel to engage with your customers.
The number of engagements and mentions calculated by social listening can help you identify popular platforms among your audience. Therefore, you can target your audience at the right place where they are active and hence, promote your products and services more effectively. You can engage with your customers by sharing relevant content, which will help you build brand loyalty and create a community of satisfied customers.
c) Know the sentiment of your customers.
Sentiment analysis is an excellent way to learn the sentiment of your audience, whether it is positive, negative, or neutral. Feedback directly coming from the customers will help you understand their emotions and perception towards the brand.
4. Create an effective Customer Service Plan
It is essential to have a plan in place to ensure that you are providing the best customer service possible. Train your customer service team on how to use social media effectively and how to handle different types of customer inquiries and complaints. Define your company's customer service policies and guidelines for responding to customer queries and complaints on social media in a professional and efficient manner. Ensure that your team is equipped with the necessary information to provide accurate and helpful responses to customers.
Other than providing one-on-one service, it is also better to have self-service options to provide immediate assistance to customers while your support team is unavailable. Many customers prefer to find answers to their questions on their own rather than contacting support. Providing self-service options, such as a FAQ section on your website or a chatbot on your social media channels, can help customers find the information they need quickly and easily. Therefore, reducing the workload on your customer support team and improving customer satisfaction.
5. Utilize Customer Feedback
Businesses can get honest feedback from their customers left by them on social media. By asking customers to share their opinions on your products or services, you can gain valuable insights into what is working well and what area needs improvement. This feedback can be used to inform product development, marketing campaigns, and customer service team to place better and informed strategies.
Other than gathering feedback, businesses can also utilize the power of word-of-mouth. Feedback coming directly from someone familiar helps audiences to create a clear brand perception. Create a plan for user-generated content by incentivizing customers to review your products and services and tag others on their posts.
6. Provide Personalized Responses
Customers want to feel valued and heard which is why when responding to customer inquiries and complaints, it's essential to provide personalized responses. Use the customer's name and acknowledge their specific issue. Avoid using generic responses that don't address the customer's specific concern. By providing personalized responses, businesses can demonstrate that they value their customers and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
7. Measure Your Success
Lastly, it’s important to measure your success on social media. Keep track of metrics like response time, engagement, and customer satisfaction to know how well your customer service strategy is working. Use this data to make required adjustments and refine your approach over time. By regularly reviewing your performance on social media, you can ensure that you’re providing the best possible service to your customers.
By setting up dedicated social media accounts, creating a clear and concise policy, monitoring social media channels regularly, responding promptly and professionally, using social listening to identify common customer issues, gathering customer feedback, and training your customer support team, you can leverage social media to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. By doing so, you can stay ahead of the competition and take your customer service to the next level, building long-lasting relationships with your customers.
However, tracking mentions can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have a dedicated 24/7 support team that manually goes through each social media platform to look for customer mentions and comments.
So, this is where social listening and analytics tools come in for your rescue. Widely popular among big companies and brands, these tools easily monitor the updates, engagements, and growth of your activity on social media, making it simple for your team to quickly get notified of the mentions across social platforms and act promptly.
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