The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Social Media for Customer Support

October 19, 2016

12:45 pm

Most businesses think of social media as a place for them to spread their brand, develop relationships with potential customers, drive them to their websites, and ultimately to make a sale. And these efforts, if done right, have proved to be highly successful for startups and large business on a regular basis.

But social media has more potential than many companies take advantage of. And customer support, engagement, and service is one of the best uses of these unique platforms:

A Better Way

Using social media to perform customer service relieves customers of the frustration of the above methods of contact and, as well, keeps costs down for the customer. Of course, this medium is still developing but companies that have bought into it are realizing great savings and happier customers. 

The Do’s

Just because people have started using it more regularly, doesn’t mean they’ve figured it out. If you want to make sure your social media customer service efforts are productive, follow these suggestions:

Respond Immediately

With the proper alert software, you will be notified any time a post has occurred. If you are able to respond within a few minutes, you will have much happier customers.

Connect with Your Customers

Personalization is the key to great customer service. When someone from your company responds to a customer in need of service, you have built loyalty. You can also be proactive in this arena. Many companies have found that they can reach out to their customers by using social media.

A great example of this is the real-time service that BizTweet offers businesses. Recently, it began working with Bradley Airport in Connecticut to provide passengers with a fully personalized experience. The simple service operates on the information that 97% of airline passengers have a phone, tablet, and/or laptop with them. They can tweet their flight number and receive real time information within 60 seconds.  

This is a much more personalized experience, segmented out by passenger groups, and works to humanize your brand.

Be Transparent

Customers like to get things “off their chest,” and they often like to do it publicly on social media. When a business can reply on the same platform, that reply is public too. Others see that you are on top of the situation, that you respond, and that your goal is to resolve the issue.

If you resolve the issue and remain empathetic, your reputation is improved considerably in the eyes of potential customers on that platform.

Follow-Up Often

If you have an easy resolution that is relatively immediate, your standard customer service team can handle it right away. But if you have to follow-up, make sure you are utilizing 

The Don’ts

When it comes to social media customer service, the errors significantly outweigh the successes. Because social media is so public, you can’t afford to get into any kind negative communication. Some major brands have made mistakes on social media and have paid dearly for it.

Lie to the Customer

If an issue is complex and will take some time, be honest. And set up private messaging with the customer. Don’t get into a long thread on the channel. The last thing a potential customer wants is to be strung along only to find out there’s nothing you can do

Be Patronizing or Sarcastic

Using social media for customer service makes you a bit vulnerable, but the potential rewards are well worth it if you have the right people and process responding to customers with issues or complaints in a timely manner. You can “buy” a lot of good will, personalize your service, and help your brand reputation when you do it right.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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