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10 Simple Changes to Refine Your Customer Service on Social Media

Posted on March 15th, 2016

1. Sign off tweets and messages with your name.

Your name is reassuring. It tells your customers that an actual human is sitting behind the keyboard. It says “your problem is in my hands and I will deal with it”.

Customers are wary of anonymous brands – putting yourself out there can reduce that. You become a safe haven for your patrons.

Best of all, the benefit here isn’t just for customers. It’s a benefit for you too.

Signing off your name makes customers happier, it makes them more trusting and waaaay more likely to compliment you specifically on your service. Meaning your boss is 100% more likely to know it was you who gave the stellar customer service and who doesn’t want their hard work acknowledged?

2. Don’t be ‘stiff’ on social.

Businesses with great customer service on social act like people using social media – they use emojis, images, gifs, comedic hashtags (#fail #daymaker), they make jokes. It’s great.

Social’s a new world, and you can’t play by old rules.

If you want your business to be likeable, if you want customers to think of you and smile (yes it’s possible), then this is what you need to do on social. Because it’s ok! In fact, it is more than ok! It’s what your customers want.

Yes, be brand-appropriate, but don’t be afraid to flex your social muscles. Figure out how your brand would speak if it could and harness that.

3. Solve it on social.

Here’s the scenario, Rachel, a devoted user of your services, contacts you on Facebook for help.

“Hi,” she says, “I’ve forgotten my password, how do I reset it?”

The wrong thing to do here is to tell her to contact the team. She’s already contacted the team. The right thing to do? Resolve it on social.

You respond with “Hi Rachel! Oh no! *emoji* Don’t worry, that’s not a problem, I can reset it for you. – Matt” and you solve it there and then, on Facebook. If you’re concerned about privacy, you can redirect them, but you should still be doing the legwork! It might look something like this:

“Hi Rachel, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. *emoji* Please send me the email address associated with that account and I’ll message you pronto with the reset link. – Matt” And of course, you should follow that up on Facebook by telling them when you’ve responded.

Ahh, isn’t that great. You’ve got a happy customer, you’ve solved a problem, you’ve got this great big smile on your face and you’ve freed up loads of time to make extra cups of tea. Well done you, you’re superb at this customer service thing.

4. Use short responses.

When someone tweets you, they don’t want War and Peace. They want a quick response. That’s why they tweeted you. You know that, though, but just in case you don’t…

Here are the rules:

If you can answer it in one tweet, that’s great, do it.

But, if it isn’t a quick fix, don’t tweet your T&Cs.

Instead, tweet them asking them to direct message you or private message you a number so you can call them or message them. This way, you’re staying on the platform of their choice to resolve the issue but providing them the depth and attention they deserve.

5. Check back in.

A tweet takes seconds, so if you’ve solved a problem for someone, send them a tweet a few days later to make sure things are still running smoothly and they are happy with the service.

This is a pretty sweet human touch and it prompts customers to reflect back on the service you gave them. They may even compliment you publically which is always a bonus.

6. Keep your identity.

When you initiate a conversation, make sure that the same person continues the discussion until the problem is solved – or appears to.

It might be the case that it’s a different person responding, but by using the same name the customer feels like they’re talking to the same person. The back and forth of call-centre culture means that customers in this day and age place value on having one person handle their needs. On your account it will show you that both Helen and Tom have responded, but to the customer, it seems like this is a conversation with just Helen.

keep your identity
7. Ready, set, respond.

People using social media want lightning-fast real-time responses – this isn’t always possible to do, though, so it’s a balance between being poised to reply and managing expectations.

Implement a system where you and your support team check social regularly.

And, manage expectations by telling social media users your office hours. Pop something like this in your bio: “Hi, need help? Got a question? Ask away and we’ll respond pronto Monday through Friday 9 am – 5 pm!”

When you’re away at lunch or out of hours, set your page to ‘away’. This keeps your response time intact and prompts your automated response system to manage expectation in your absence. In case you’re not familiar with Facebook’s ‘away’ feature. It’s here (see the screenshot below), all you do is tap it to activate it.

ready set respond

8. Respond, even if you don’t need to.

Occasionally a customer will use social just to say something general about you or compliment you. Which is nice. Be sure you don’t leave it at nice, though. Capitalise on it to nurture your online community.

This the time to show that your brand listens, that you’re not just trying to diffuse problems but you’re on social to be social.

So, always respond to a compliment. You could go in for a simple ‘like’, a fun emoji or a conversational reply. Just remember to keep it human.

9. Help customers before they ask.

Your public comments, posts and tweets are seen by other customers. So consider every public post an opportunity to resolve future issues.

For example, if you’ve got customers frequently asking about which product or service is right for them, try to answer their question in a way that reveals to more than just that one customer the BENEFIT of that product and service. This is an essential writing skill that marketers and copywriters use to make their responses customer-centric.

Let’s put that into practice.

Imagine you own a beauty salon and you have customers asking you on Facebook, which treatment is right for them. Holly, a potential customer, tells you they have combination oily skin and they’re looking for a treatment after a stressful period. You could respond with ‘Hi, Holly! You’ll be wanting our S.O.S facial!”

And that’s ok. It’s friendly, you’ve answered their question. But it’s not as good as it could be.

If you expand on WHY it is right for them, in theory, you cut down on the need to keep responding because other customers will see the resolution to their question and find out for themselves what is right for them.

“Hi, Holly! Hmm, I think our S.O.S facial sounds right for you. It’s our yummy purifying treatment for face and eyes. It’s ideal for oily, hormonal or acne-prone skin. We use a mask filled with ingredients that regulate oil control and promote skin health to help heal any scarring you might have. While this mask is at work, we do a deep scalp massage to rebalance the health of your scalp and promote a deep sense of AHHHH relaxation!”

On Facebook, you can also add ‘tabs’ or ‘apps’ to your Facebook page that answer FAQs. On here you can have some fun, attach videos or pages that explain to customers the answers to your most frequently asked questions.

10. Have fun with it, and don’t do it badly.

This bit is vital, so much so that I’m going to go ahead and underline it: if your company restricts you from doing social media well, don’t do social media badly.

If your business doesn’t know how to play the social game, take control and pitch the benefits of authentic social media.

Tell your bosses how to win at social and you’ll get to have more fun, increase your customer satisfaction levels and spend less time constrained by rigid rules that just don’t work.

Here’s how to go about that. First, make a presentation or hold a meeting where you can show them examples, write up a set of guidelines for social – this is your tone guide.

Your guide should make your bosses feel confident that you’re preserving the brand’s identity but extending it too, making it human.

hannahAuthor Bio: Hannah Spruce is a Content Author at High Speed Training, a UK-based online training provider that offers a popular customer service eLearning course, amongst others. She writes about a variety of topics for their blog, the Hub. Hannah holds a Master’s degree in Contemporary Literatures and has a passion for poetry as well as coaching athletics in her spare time.

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