Social media has become an essential component of customer service. Whether your company has bought into providing care through social platforms or not, it is becoming an expectation. From 2020 to 2021, the number of customers who preferred using social messaging for customer service increased by a staggering 110%.
Thankfully, it’s not too late to adjust your customer service strategy to include social media. In this post, we’ll provide you with a list of actionable ways to deliver support on social, along with the benefits, examples from well-known brands, and how this shift is changing the industry.
The benefits of using social media in customer service
Before we get into specific examples of how companies are using social to provide a more personalized customer experience, let’s cover the benefits.
There’s a reason why more customers are going to social media to ask questions, leave reviews, and give praise…they are already there. Eliminating the navigation to email or a Contact Us page allows customers to engage with brands instantly and hopefully get an immediate response.
Customers feel seen, heard, and valued when a brand reach engages publicly. Providing support through email or over the phone is one thing, but putting the interaction on display for the world to see is another level of customer care.
Reach the masses
Active brands on social media have multiple options to instantly reach massive numbers of customers through posting.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say a streaming service is down, a playoff game is on, and customers are staring at a frozen screen. Access to a representative on the phone is out of the question due to wait times. However, the brand can go on social media to let everyone know what is happening to at least show they are aware and working on a solution.
How companies use social media for customer support
There are countless examples of companies using social media to enhance customer experience. Here are some ways the most recognizable brands take advantage of the networking era.
- Responsive customer assistance: @AmazonHelp on X (formerly Twitter) provides real-time support, promptly addressing customer queries, order issues, and service.
- Interactive Q&A sessions: @AdobeCare posts frequently asked questions to their X feed to help users improve their experience while limiting service tickets.
- Social listening for proactive support: @Comcast monitors social media to preemptively address service outages and respond to complaints before customers reach out.
- Community forums and groups: SpaceX hosts user communities on Reddit where customers ask the software team questions and directly engage with the brand.
- Chatbots for instant responses: @Chase uses AI-driven chatbots on Facebook Messenger to provide quick answers about account information, payments, and other common inquiries.
- Video support and tutorials: @Microsoft offers video tutorials on YouTube, aiding users through troubleshooting steps for various software and hardware issues. The company also posts questions on the YouTube community feed to get feedback directly from users.
8 ways social media is changing customer service
Now, let’s dive deep into how the presence of social media has changed how customer service reps operate.
#1 Brands meeting the customer where they are
Social media has redefined the concept of accessibility in customer service by allowing brands to meet their customers right where they are—on their phones. This means engaging with consumers across various platforms, whether Facebook, X, Instagram, or newer platforms like TikTok or Clubhouse. Brands have recognized the importance of being present on these channels to directly connect with their audience, address concerns, and provide immediate assistance, shaping a more responsive and connected customer service landscape.
#2 Public customer interactions
Public interactions on social media platforms have become a pivotal aspect of customer service, transforming how brands manage their reputation and engage with their audience. Companies can simultaneously address multiple customers' inquiries and concerns through these channels, displaying their responsiveness and commitment to customer satisfaction. However, these interactions also carry significant weight, capable of either enhancing or damaging a brand's image. By fostering supportive communities and resolving issues transparently, brands can effectively manage these public interactions, bolstering loyalty and trust.
#3 Collaboration with influencers
The influence of social media extends beyond direct customer interactions—it encompasses collaborations with influencers. Brands recognize the power influencers hold in shaping consumer perceptions and preferences. Companies can leverage these partnerships to tap into larger audiences, gaining credibility and visibility through influencers' endorsements or recommendations. Collaborations allow authentic engagement, bridging the gap between brands and consumers through relatable, trusted voices.
#4 Instant announcements and policy changes
Social media is an instantaneous communication channel for brands to make announcements and swiftly implement policy changes. Whether it's informing about product launches, updates, or policy alterations, platforms like X and LinkedIn enable companies to disseminate information rapidly. This immediacy ensures that customers are informed in real-time, fostering transparency and trust.
#5 Brand wars
The vast array of options available to consumers has intensified competition among brands, leading to public clashes often referred to as brand wars. Social media platforms serve as the battleground where companies engage in direct, public competition to win over customers. Through witty exchanges, humorous campaigns, or competitive marketing strategies, brands vie for consumer attention and loyalty, amplifying the significance of engaging and captivating content.
#6 Customers expect instant responses
The immediacy of social media has shaped customer expectations, with an increasing demand for instant responses. Customers anticipate swift resolutions to their queries, expecting brands to be available around the clock. This has propelled companies to prioritize agility in their customer service strategies, ensuring timely and efficient responses to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.
#7 Businesses must have a personality
Social media has necessitated a shift in how businesses present themselves, requiring a more humanized and relatable approach. Companies must exhibit personality, humor, and authenticity in their interactions. This personal touch resonates with audiences, fostering emotional connections and differentiation in a crowded digital landscape.
#8 24/7 customer service
The evolution of customer service on social media transcends traditional business hours. Customers expect support and engagement at any time of the day, demanding a 24/7 service model. To meet this expectation, brands have adapted by implementing round-the-clock customer service teams or utilizing automated solutions like chatbots to ensure continuous support and responsiveness. This shift has redefined the notion of availability and responsiveness in customer service, catering to the always-on nature of social media.
How to use social media to improve customer service
Devoting time to actively post, comment, and DM with customers is a significant investment. However, more and more customers expect to hear from the brands they support on social media. Use these best practices to implement social networks into your customer service strategy.
- Choose relevant platforms: Identify where your audience is active. You may have more success reaching your customers on Facebook than on X.
- Create dedicated customer service handles: Separate accounts for support interactions.
- Promote availability and response times: Communicate service hours and response expectations. Adding response times in your bio is a must if you don’t have a 24/7 social media team.
- Implement monitoring tools: Track mentions, comments, and messages related to your brand.
- Provide quick and personalized responses: Address concerns promptly with tailored solutions.
- Offer multichannel support: Integrate various communication methods for customer convenience.
- Train support staff: Educate teams on social media etiquette and problem-solving approaches.
- Use automation wisely: Deploy chatbots for FAQs, while still ensuring human support for complex issues.
- Resolve privately when necessary: Move sensitive issues to private messages for confidentiality.
- Request and act on feedback: Encourage open input and use it to enhance services.
- Monitor Analytics and Metrics: Track response time, satisfaction scores, and sentiment analysis.
- Regularly update FAQs and resources: Keep support materials current based on common inquiries.
- Stay transparent and apologize when necessary: Acknowledge mistakes openly and apologize sincerely.
- Showcase success stories: Share positive interactions to highlight commitment to service excellence.
Wrapping things up
Social media has changed every aspect of our lives, including how brands interact with customers. Setting up phone, web chat, and email support channels may not be enough to meet expectations. In addition, the absence of a social presence can signal to some customers that you aren’t as dedicated to customer care as competitors.
Sources last checked: 29-Nov-2023