Social Media Care: Customer Service Expedited

March 7, 2015

If you’ve watched #Socialnomics2015, you’ve seen the stats: More people own a mobile device than a toothbrush. Mobile and social are merging. Facebook has a higher population than China.

Access to social media is easier than ever.

Social media isn’t the way of the future, is the way of now. Companies that ignore social media ignore their customer base. 879 million complaints are posted on social media each year and about 33% of those complaints are ignored by brands (Venturebeat).

Excelling at Social Media Care (also known as customer service via social media) doesn’t have to be hard. Add a few of these guidelines to your company (and learn from the examples) to improve your customer relationships online:

Be Where The Problems Are

At this point, we’re well beyond setting up your social media accounts. So let’s move on to social listening.

More times than not, customers with complaints won’t directly tag your company in a post. This prevents you from noticing as soon as a post is added. By utilizing social listening, you’ll know when someone has mentioned your brand as soon as it happens.

A manual way to begin social listening is by searching your brand name or website URL in Twitter’s and Facebook’s search bars. This will provide you with the most recent mentions.

There are also many tools you can use to begin listening for your brand’s mentions. Sites like include easy-to-use social inboxes, showing you when someone mentions your company. You can even respond right through their platform. Another popular choice is

Already using a customer service software like Zendesk? Most have a pretty innovative social component you can use.

Act Quickly & Effectively

Meet expectations by responding in less than 60 minutes; 42 percent of consumers expect it (Edison Research). Answering issues in less than 30 minutes and you’ll be a Social Media Care rockstar.

Many times, consumers may simply have a question. Providing a quick response will put their mind at ease. In this example, my question was answered in less than 10 minutes:

Once a complaint is posted on social media, it’s available for all the world to see. Consider this when you’re crafting responses. How you respond will change how other’s see your brand – whether it’s the person making the complaint or not. In fact, 90 percent of buyers trust peer recommendations. Try your hardest to turn those frowns upside-down by keeping these important traits in mind with every response: GENUINE Dust off those brand voice guidelines and put them to good use! Show empathy and listen well to the complaint to understand what the user is experiencing. Be conversational, don’t answer like a robot. If you’re providing the same response to everyone others will notice and it will backfire. Automated responses will lead to customers feeling even more frustrated. Consider how you’re going to add a personal element to each response. In some cases, it may be as simple as adding a quick greeting or the name of the responding rep:

TRANSPARENCY Never EVER delete a post. Like, NEVER. Instead, respond to any negativity to show that you care about every piece of feedback that comes your way. It may not seem like it, but this is how your brand can shine. Take control of the situation. Respond quickly and efficiently. IMMEDIATE RESOLUTION A problem occurred, so you need to provide a solution and fast. Sometimes you need more information before you can really dive in. Don’t be afraid to ask! Let the user know you hear them and you want to help as quickly and efficiently as possible. Asking them to DM (direct message) or email you is a great way to do this. Here’s an example:

Sometimes it does help to go even further. If you’re able to provide a quick answer, sometimes getting more information from a user will allow you to follow-up on their question or concern.

It’s not all negative, so BE LEGENDARY.

As mentioned above, brands don’t always receive complaints via social media. Many consumers just have questions. These are often simple questions that they hope to have quickly resolved via social media, instead of possibly waiting on hold on the phone. Consider going beyond a simple response to a question or complaint. Social Media Care is also great for growing your mission and building rapport among your current and potential client base. Here are a few great examples: RESPOND WHEN THEY LEAST EXPECT IT Most brands stick to engaging with their social media following only when problems arise. Want clients to really love you? Encourage them, respond when they least expect it, and simply make their day. Selfishly, it puts your brand in the front of their mind. Here’s a great example from Referral Candy:

GO ABOVE TRADITIONAL Who doesn’t love a surprise or to feel appreciated? Maybe a follower or fan is having a bad day, a simple way to build your brand rapport with your entire following is by showing support. Chobani hit the nail on the head when I lost my yogurt one morning…

Shari’s Berries decided to side on the element of surprise:

Doesn’t that make you feel good just reading it? Mission accomplished.

How have you used Social Media Care to better your business’ customer service model?

This article was originally posted here.

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