Customer service is defined as “the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services” (Dictionary.com). With that being said, customer service on social media is essentially the same thing, just providing assistance digitally.
Social media plays a huge part in today’s digital world. Not only do people go on social media to post updates, and to follow influencers, celebrities, friends, and family members, people also go on social media to follow and interact with brands and products. Odds are, if someone is truly a fan of your company, brand or product, they are most likely going to follow you on some social media platform.
People have the opportunity to collaborate, engage, and interact with your brand digitally, that they couldn't necessarily do in the real world. Sharing content and interacting with your audience is HUGE in today’s digital landscape. In the 21st century, there is no reason for a company not to be on social media. If you aren’t on these platforms, you run the risk of being irrelevant, or not even being seen for that matter.
But, defining your digital marketing strategy is another subject. In this blog, we are going to talk about social media as a customer service tool.
Social Media As an Outlet for Your Company
Because social media makes it so easy for audiences to engage and interact with your brand, it is the perfect opportunity to share thoughts, opinions, concerns, issues, etc. on particular products or services. In fact, 59% of Americans believe that customer service through social media has made it easier to get their questions answered and issues resolved (Lyfe Marketing, 2018).
When people have a poor, or even positive, experience with a product or service, they tend to express their feelings on social media via reviews or mentioning the brand in a post. This is where customer service comes into play. Brands and companies have the opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one by acknowledging and addressing the issue in a timely fashion.
This allows brands to make things right. Or, they have the opportunity to make the experience even more positive than it already is. For example, if someone takes a photo with a GoPro and posts it on Instagram, GoPro has the opportunity to make the customer experience even better by commenting and reposting the user-generated image. There is something exciting about the satisfaction of being seen online and having a brand repost your content!
Social media is not a one-way street anymore. Gone are the days of people calling a company to complain where just the company hears about it. Now, everyone in the digital space has the potential to see it. So, it’s even more important, and in your best interest, to address all customer service opportunities that present themselves on your social platforms.
As Market Force explains,
“The emergence of social media has given consumers a whole new way to interact with the brands they love — and a forum to complain when brands disappoint. But what many companies have learned is just how powerful connecting one-on-one with customers can be when those consumers take the time to post.”
It is important to consistently stay on top of customer service on social media. People expect brands to comment back and make things right. If not, brands are potentially opening themselves up to criticism at a larger scale.
Meeting Your Audience Where They Spend Their Time
The reason that customer service has shifted to social media is because that’s where your audience is. You need to adapt to your customers' environment and be in the same space they are. You can learn more about your audience on social media to ensure you provide them, not only with the right content but also collect information and reviews on how they feel about your product or service.
Additionally, hearing their thoughts and opinions in real time could actually increase your overall revenue because you will hear how people like, or dislike, your product. In fact, research from the Institute of Customer Service reveals 1 in every 3 customers turn to social media to seek advice or communicate with a business (Zendesk).
Customer service should be a major component of your digital marketing strategy. Respond to all reviews and comments from your audience, even if they are negative. Turn poor experiences into positive ones, and turn positive experiences into even better ones. Social media is the perfect outlet to talk and engage with your audience in real-time.
Customer Care on Social Media Best Practices
- Respond as soon as possible - whether it is positive or negative
- Know which conversations should be public or moved to a private message
- Include a greeting name and sign with initials
- For example, “Hello [name], Thank you for your message... -BB
- Monitor social accounts by social listening to see what your audience is talking about, and to identify when your brand should engage