7 Best Tips for Using Social Media in a Customer Care Strategy
- 10 May 2023
• The traditional method of providing customer care via phone calls and emails are rapidly changing.
• Nowadays, it’s important to be accessible by multiple communication channels, including social media.
• Customers expect companies to be reachable by a communication channel that's most convenient for them.
Social media use has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, roughly 72% of the public is using some type of social media today. With social media usage increasing rapidly, this makes social media an essential tool for businesses to improve customer care online. In order to provide effective customer care on social media platforms, brands must instill a process that their customer care team can easily follow.
Why should you use social media for customer care?
It’s easy to assume providing customer care via social media is a “nice-to-have” but in reality, it’s a “must-have” for businesses. The traditional method of providing customer care via phone calls and emails are rapidly changing. Nowadays, it’s important to be accessible by multiple communication channels, including social media. In fact, 33% of consumers would rather contact a brand's customer service via social media than by phone. Customers expect companies to be reachable by a communication channel that's most convenient for them. Additionally, with the increasing number of users engaging with social media platforms, chances are your target audience is on one of these platforms. Below are 7 ways to improve customer care using social media.
1. Research your target audience and what platforms they are using
In the early years of the internet, we could count the amount of social media platforms with one hand. Fast forward to today, there are more than a dozen social media platforms. In fact, there are 17 social media platforms with at least 300 million active users. Social media adoption is rapidly increasing, and companies must adapt along with it. Now the question becomes, how do you decide which channels to use to provide your customer care? The answer is research.
Start by researching who your target demographic is. This may include factors such as age, gender, location, income, or education. Once this has been identified, research the most popular social media platforms for your demographic. Please note, with so many social media platforms in circulation, there may be more than one that your target demographic resonates with. Identifying the appropriate social media platform is important because not each platform is built the same. For example, platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter may resonate more for the business-to-business audience while platforms such as Instagram and Facebook may resonate more with the business-to-consumer audience.
Identifying which platforms your target audience is using will allow your brand to effectively reach your customers and resolve and inquiries or complaints they may have.
2. Set up a system that allows you to monitor inquiries and respond in a timely manner
It’s essential to have a system for monitoring inquiries and complaints via social media. Customers expect fast responses when engaging brands on social media. In fact, 32% of social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. If you’re a business with an active community on social media, it can be difficult to monitor the influx of inquiries and respond in a timely manner so having a system in place can save you a lot of time and headaches, and maximize customer satisfaction through social media.
Brands with active social media communities will receive customer inquiries and complaints frequently. Companies can receive tens to hundreds of inquiries weekly, sometimes even daily. With so many inquiries coming in, it can be difficult to manually track and respond to each inquiry. Luckily there are tools and teams that can help streamline these processes.
Tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems are designed to make customer relationship management easier for businesses. Additionally, a dedicated customer service team can assist with managing these inquiries and responding to customers in a timely manner.
3. Consider creating a dedicated social media account for customer support
Creating a dedicated social media account to provide customer care can help keep your team organized and can improve response rate. A dedicated account filters out support and service inquiries from your main social media accounts. It also allows your customer support team to access the most important inquiries in one location. A great example of this is the SpotifyCares account, which Spotify uses to address customer issues through Twitter.
When creating a dedicated social media account for customer care, it’s a good idea to include that account in your main social media accounts profile bios. This helps your customers identify an account to reach out to for customer support inquiries. While customers may still reach out to your main social media account for customer support, simply send over the inquiry to the customer support team and have them respond to the inquiry from your support account.
Additionally, if you have multiple team members working from a dedicated customer support account, consider having a method to identify which team member responded to the inquiry. For example, having team members sign off on tweets, posts, and direct messages with their name or initials will help the customer if they need to follow up. Additionally, it will humanize your brand's customer support account and has the potential to foster more positive interactions from your customer base.
4. Have approved messaging that is respectful and addresses a wide range of issues
Putting together approved messaging that addresses a wide range of customer issues will empower your customer care teams to respond and address inquiries and complaints effectively. Drafting documents such as frequently asked questions and talk tracks to common inquiries will allow for a seamless experience for both your customer and the customer care team. When drafting these documents it’s important to maintain a positive and honest tone when communicating to your customers on social media. It will also be helpful to provide answers to a wide range of issues.
If your company has a knowledge base for customer support, such as the Microsoft Support page, it can be a good idea to link common inquiries when responding to customers to save time. In fact, in a survey by Coleman Parkes of nearly 3,000 online consumers, 91% of respondents said they would use an online knowledge base if it were available.
5. Be prepared to take things offline when necessary
While providing customer care via social media is important, not every inquiry can be resolved on social media platforms. There are some factors that may limit a brands ability to fully address a customers inquiry, such as requesting sensitive customer information or a character count limit on responses as seen on Twitter.
In these cases, it’s okay to resolve inquiries that are more suitable for the interaction such as phone or email. However, it’s important to have a seamless transition plan to avoid having the customer feel like they’re being “passed around”. In fact, in a study that asked consumers what annoys them the most, 37% of respondents picked “being passed around”. So having a seamless transition plan to take things off social media is essential.
When transitioning a customer from a social media platform to another communication channel, it’s important to keep some things in mind. Expressing empathy and having the right tone are incredibly important in all customer service interactions, but even more so when you’re asking the customer to do more work to get their issue resolved.
6. Create a social media platform adoption process
The social media landscape is a rapidly changing landscape. As mentioned earlier, in the early years of the internet, social media platforms were rare and had minimal adoption by users. Today, there are 17 social media platforms with at least 300 million active users. New platforms are being released often and they rise to fame frequently. It can be difficult to predict which platforms will resonate with your customer base, so it’s important to create a social media platform adoption process for when these instances occur.
The most recent platform to rise to fame is TikTok. TikTok was created in 2016, and today TikTok has 1.39 billion users out of which 1 billion are monthly active users, according to the company’s most recent data. No company could have anticipated its success, so having a platform adoption process to create new customer care channels is important in today’s digital world. With a good process in place, as soon as the next platform becomes popular, your team can quickly identify it and determine whether or not it’s a good idea to add the new social media platform to your customer care communication channels.
7. Use feedback to avoid making the same mistake again
At this point your business has a seamless social media customer care process in place and are resolving inquiries and complaints as they come. From here, it’s essential to have a tracking and reporting process of the most common inquiries that your brand has been receiving. Being able to organize your most common inquiries will provide a high-level view into why your customers are reaching out to your brand in the first place.
Take note of your most common inquiries and try to find ways to resolve these complaints to avoid having them happen in the first place. Resolving issues before they happen will improve your brand's reputation and increase satisfaction with your customers on social media.
The traditional method of providing customer care has changed. Nowadays, customers expect companies to be reachable by a communication channel that's most convenient for them. The above tips will help ensure your company provides great customer care via social media.
About the Author
Max Panych is a digital marketing entrepreneur, crypto investor and digital specialist with 10+ years of industry experience. Loves no fluff data-driven marketing and running his own tests. Owner at AKITA Digital, he loves helping businesses grow using the internet and, making bosses happy.