Incorporating customer service into your social media strategy is no longer optional. Exceptional customer service can be--and often is--a significant factor in determining which companies succeed and which companies fail. The more responsive, personable, and proactive your customer service is, the happier your customers will be, and the more profitable your business will become.
Today, this typically requires companies to provide customer service via social media, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. Essentially, if your customers spend time there, your customer service team should be there, too. According to ValueWalk.com, over 60 percent of customers have come to expect companies to offer customer service via social media channels.
The demand is there, so it's up to you and your customer support team to deliver. Here are three examples of what great social media customer service can look like.
1. Balance being casual yet professional.
It's always critical for your customer service responses to reflect your brand voice. But on social media, your brand voice may sound a bit different than it does via email, live chat, or phone. Social media is a place for casual, friendly conversations, and your customer support interactions should reflect that -- while maintaining a high level of professionalism.
For example, take a look at how Hootsuite handles its Twitter account:
Hi Emma! You may need to make a clean up to your browser 🤔 Can you follow the steps from the link below? That should fix this problem ^GB https://t.co/pqyOmi1aEm— Hootsuite Helpers (@Hootsuite_Help) March 12, 2018
Hootsuite uses emojis in both its responses - just as you would if you were chatting with a friend. And the agent signed off with "Have a great week!" But the response was also perfectly professional and incredibly prompt - the entire conversation took place within an hour.
For customers, reaching out to customer service can feel like a massive chore. Hootsuite reduces that stress by taking a casual, informal approach, and responding quickly to its customers' concerns. As a result, contacting customer service feels more like chatting with a friend.
2. Think creatively about how to engage customers on social media.
Social media provides you with the opportunity to engage with your customers in new ways -- so take advantage of it! You don't have to limit yourself to processing returns or answering bland product questions. Fashion brands can offer fashion advice, technology brands can share tech tips, and much more.
For example, Glossier, an online beauty brand, goes beyond what you would expect from traditional customer service. The company doesn't limit its team to, for example, solving delivery issues or processing returns. Instead, it has positioned itself on social media as a resource for all things beauty and skincare:
@glossier Apply Solution after cleansing, and feel free to follow up with serum > moisturizer > sunscreen 👍— Glossier (@glossier) March 10, 2018
There are challenges for this approach. Many companies have two separate teams - one customer service team for more typical customer questions and one social media or marketing team for answering beauty questions like this.
If that's the case, you have to be thoughtful about how you route queries to different members of your team, to make sure your agents are answering questions that align with their expertise. As you can see above, Hootsuite addresses this by having a dedicated Twitter account specifically for customer support questions.
3. Never say no.
Alternatively, companies can invest in training their customer service agents to be all-in-one customer support mavens and answer any question that comes their way. Zappos has adopted this approach. The company is famous for empowering its agents to solve any customer problem - regardless of whether it bears any relation at all to Zappos. Indeed, the company's top core value is "Deliver WOW Through Service." Here's just one example:
Marina Del Rey isn't anywhere near Zappos' Las Vegas headquarters. There's absolutely no reason why this person - who may not even be a Zappos customer - posed this question to Zappos instead of looking it up himself.
But Zappos made a strategic decision to allow - and even encourage - its agents to respond to any question. This costs a little more than the traditional approach to customer service, because agents are spending time answering questions that are irrelevant to the business. But it pays off, because it enhances Zappos legendary reputation for providing stellar customer support.
Customer service is about helping customers, and sometimes that means getting a bit creative. Social media makes that easier than ever and empowers your customer service agents to build a real rapport with customers.