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Social Media Customer Service Best Practices: Treat Them Like They Are There

A customer walks into your business. They have a question. It could be curious, aggressive, interesting, ill-informed, etc. But it’s important, because it’s important to that customer.

What do you do? Ignore their presence? Consult a coworker without acknowledging the question exists? Hope that the customer will go away and you just won’t have to deal with it?

Of course not. That’s a terrible way to behave. And a fantastic way to lose customers. 

You wouldn’t do it that way in person, so don’t do it that way on social media. The value of customer retention and loyalty is high so make sure you're doing everything you can to be helpful to your customers and audience. Here’s how to do your best customer service work with your customers.

Social media customer service best practices:

1. Don’t Leave Them Hanging.

When they send the message, go ahead and respond. Even if that response is just to let them know you appreciate that they wrote in and that you are working on an answer. This will help the customer, and other customers watching your average response time.

2. It’s Not a Time-Suck. It’s a Customer Service Platform.

It’s tempting for some to look at responding to customers on social media as a time suck. It’s not a burden; it’s an opportunity to connect with your customers. They could be off talking about you without your knowledge on social (and chances are, not in a way you’d appreciate). But they’ve made the effort to reach out and tell you about their issue. Just like addressing an angry customer over the phone, taking the time to do it correctly can pay off in and result in an even more loyal customer than you would have had in the first place. So do it right.

3. Take Feedback Well.

The customer may or may not always be right. But there’s always something to learn. And most of the time, there’s a path to leaving the customer satisfied. So seek it out and deliver it so that the next time you interact with this customer you can say "Thank You" instead of "I’m Sorry." (It should also go without saying to always keep yourself from getting combative.)

4. Answer. Every. Person.

Check your mentions, your DMs (direct messages), your reviews, your inbox, and every other space someone could talk about you. Then respond. To all of them. Even if it means owning up to something that isn’t the best look.

5. Take it Offline, But Not Because You Want to Hide Your Response.

It’s tempting to ask someone to send you a DM or give you an email address so you can take a messy question offline. It’s not a bad strategy, and sometimes, it's the right course of action. If there’s personal information required (account numbers, phone number, etc.) get that information privately.

Just remember that you’re only a screenshot away from your words ending up right back where everyone can see them. So choose them carefully and don’t say anything privately you wouldn’t say publicly. Try to respond in a way you’d be happy for the whole internet to see.

6. The Person Asking the Question Isn’t Your Only Audience.

Chances are high that the person who reached out isn’t the only person who will read your response. The way you handle yourself (speed, helpfulness, tone, etc.) will say a lot to your other customers about how much you care about their business. Make sure you’re not losing the war while winning the battle.

What other social media customer service best practices do you have worth sharing? Don't be afraid to leave them in the comments below!


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Paul Berry

Written by Paul Berry

Paul Berry is the Audience Engagement Director at Swift Communications. An experienced digital journalist, Paul’s passionate about connecting communities through insightful, entertaining and timely content. You can find him on most social platforms @pauleberry.

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