How to Win at Social Media Customer Service by Going the Extra Mile

August 18, 2015

According to the State of Customer Service Experience 2015 report released by The Northridge Group Inc., more than twice as many consumers use social media as the primary channel for making comments (8 percent), questions (7 percent) and complaints (6 percent) over problem resolution (2 percent). However, it also states that one-third of consumers who have used social media for customer service say the channel does not meet expectations.

This is a real cause of concern because more and more consumers are going digital, which means that companies need to up their game if they want to succeed in social media customer service.

If you’re struggling to make this happen, get inspiration from other companies who have succeeded in social media customer service by going the extra mile for their customers. Here’s how they did it.

Create a separate account for customer service.

U-Haul is one of the most recognizable brands in the US. They’ve made Twitter as their primary social media care channel and are currently operating two Twitter handles @uhaul and @uhaul_cares, which both address customer queries daily, with the latter maintaining a reply rate of 97%. This enables them to resolve 70% of their issues in half an hour or less with 49% addressed in less than 15 minutes.

Put a personal touch to it.

People appreciate it when they know exactly who it is they are talking to. Give your social media channels a personal touch by putting a “face” to it. For instance, Comcast’s Twitter bio always states who is tweeting. Tesco’s customer Twitter account, on the other hand, announces every morning who will be the one tweeting.

Follow up.

Great customer service is all about building and sustaining relationships. So even if you haven’t encountered a customer in your store for a while, don’t just forget about him. By making the extra effort to reach out to him, he just might come back. Take for instance what Pizza Hut did when one of their loyal customers in one branch stopped placing orders. Pizza Hut made the effort to call the customer to see how he’s doing and offered him a complimentary “welcome back” pizza. The customer was so happy that he posted his experience on Facebook.

Respond fast.

The same The Northridge Group report states that one-third of consumers who contact a brand on social media never get a response. Also, it states that sixty-three percent have to engage with a brand two or more times on social media before a customer service inquiry or issue is resolved. This makes customers highly unsatisfied especially since 40 percent of them expect to get a response within one hour.

It pays to respond quickly. Just ask XBox, who’s said to be the most responsive brand on Twitter.  Their Elite Tweet Fleet operates between 6 AM – 12 AM PT Monday to Friday, and 9 AM – 6 PM on weekends. This might be hard to do if you don’t have the resources to operate in such long hours, but this is why outsourcing customer service is a smart move.

Make customer service everyone’s job.

Place customer service at the core of your company and involve everyone no matter if they’re rank and file employees or the CEO. Take cue from Zappos, who as a testament to their slogan “Powered by Service”, trains all their employees to do whatever they can to satisfy their customers. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, even goes as far as answering support emails with his own email address.

These examples show that having a social media account is not enough. If you plan to use it successfully for customer service, you must be willing to take the extra mile to make your customers happy. Learn from these tips to make social media customer service work for you.

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