Did you know, nearly 50% of social media users used social customer service at some point to resolve an issue.
With the growth of social media, more and more customers are deciding to skip the phones (and even email), choosing to rely more on social customer service to get help.
Why social media for customer service?
One of the benefits to using social media for customer service is the speed at which you can solve problems. Today, if a user has a question about a product and is looking for answers, they could engage with a business via Twitter most likely before they would get someone on the phone.
Besides helping resolve customer service issues and saving lots of time in the process, businesses can leverage social media not just for resolving issues, but also to help them learn more about who their most ardent customer are.
By identifying customers who are passionate about your brand via social media, businesses also now have the ability to leverage their customers to help promote and share their latest products.
The challenges of social customer service
While a lot of social media users are using social customer service to get help, what are the challenges?
For starters, 36% of consumers report having their customer service issues resolved via social media (tweet this).
This presents a big obstacle in helping improve social customer service. Fortunately, the reason why this percentage seems so low is because businesses have the wrong departments running social media.
Most businesses silo their social media – splitting it between marketing and PR. While this is great to help get the message out, chances are, those individuals won’t have the time or the resources to respond to customer service questions from social media. As a result, customer questions go unnoticed and this can become a turn-off for customers.
So what can you do to make social customer service better within your organization?
10 steps to better social customer service
As I mentioned, one of the biggest obstacles is getting your entire organization involved with social media. This way, social media becomes engrained in every facet of your business and no area goes unnoticed by your business.
To help get on the path to better social customer service, here are ten steps you can take to get better at social in your organization.
Step 1: Select your channels
Before jumping into social customer service, identify which channels your customers are on. This way you’re in the same location as your customers.
Step 2: Select the right tools
Most businesses think that social media is free. If you want to get quality information your networks, you’re going to have to spend some money on social-listening tools. I’m a big fan of Sysomos, Sprout Social, and HootSuite because they give the ability to see what’s happening on my social media channels and let me monitor sentiment, keywords, etc.
Step 3: Setup your listening program
Now that you have the tools, the next step to better social customer service is to decide on the keywords, sentiment, channels, that you want to monitor. This way you can keep your ears to the ground to find out what your customers need help with.
Step 4: Empower your staff
As I mentioned, marketing and PR handle a lot of social, while customers are using social media for customer service. As a business, learn to empower your staff so that they can think for themselves. At the same time, make sure you have policies in place on how you like your social customer services issues handled.
For example, anything that involves personal information, such as someone’s email address and credit card or order information should be taken offline. Your customer also should like this response, because it acknowledges their issues and shows them you want to help them.
Step 5: Connect multiple channels
Customer service isn’t just relegated to social media. It helps your business in more ways than one. If you see your business is getting a lot of inquiries via a social media channel, be sure that your phone support is aware of any questions or issues and their resolutions.
This helps create a cohesive social customer service experience within your organization.
Step 6: Prioritize
As I mentioned, you need a plan on how customer service issues are going to be handled. There’s nothing worse then having a customer reach out for help, only to get a response days later.
A few months ago, I sent a question to a business. It went unanswered…for two months. They did apologize, but the damage had been done. If you plan to use social media for customer service, be sure you’ve trained your staff on how to handle questions.
Step 7: Automation
Automation here doesn’t mean scheduling out updates. In this sense, automation means having a playbook on where certain types of questions go. For example, if it is a shipping related question, maybe your shipping department needs to know about the issue.
This can you improve your shipping times and streamline the shipping process if you determine that there are issues to address.
Step 8: Meet customer expectations
The average response time on Twitter is 257 minutes. The average response time on Facebook is 819 minutes. The average response time via phone is 2 minutes. Do you see a problem here?
If you determine your customers are looking to Facebook for social customer service, it might be time to switch around your priorities so that your customers needs are addressed in a more timely manner.
Step 9: Practice good etiquette
Once you have identified the right social media channels to be on, depending on how active your community is, some questions can be answered by your fans, such as what is the return policy.
Here, businesses can provide the proper links to these policies and encourage customers to share them with others. In the process, this helps streamline your customer service issues.
Step 10: Collect customer insights
Just because you’ve resolved a customer service issue, this does not mean you’re finished. Be sure your organization is working closely with customer service to learn about challenges your customers are having and then use this information to improve your process.
Next steps for a better social customer service experience
With customers demanding better customer service from their favorite brands, how do you address their needs without hiring too many people?
Depending on the type of business that you are in, social media isn’t necessarily a full-time job. The key is to have a plan and policies in place and to train your employees on where they should look and how they should respond to questions.
While it may seem overwhelming to have so many places to look to address customer questions, remember, it’s about getting better at social customer service. Start by creating a plan and then work to get better in all areas over time so that you can improve throughout your entire organization.
[Via Sentiment ]
Today’s question is a two-part question.
One, do you use social media for customer service issues?
Two, How fast should a business respond to a request sent through social media?