Tips for providing great customer service on social media

Getting customer service is no longer just about ringing a business’ call centre. One new study revealed that 67 per cent of people have used a business’ social media page in order to request service or deal with an issue.

Another study by Nielsen showed that one in three social media users prefer obtaining customer service via social media than by contacting businesses using the telephone. So how do you provide great customer service on social media?

1. Respond quickly

Speed of response is of utmost importance on social media.

People expect much quicker responses on social media than they do an email. Most expect a same day response, with nearly half expecting a response within a couple of hours of posting.

2. Prioritise issues

If you have a large social media following it might not be possible to respond to every query within a couple of hours. This is where prioritisation comes in.

Your highest priorities should be technical or account-related questions, complaints, urgent service or product requests, outages in services or anything which left unattended could result in a PR crisis.

In the event of a mass issue or outage remember that you don’t have time to respond to every person individually. When many customers are having the same issue you can address everyone’s concerns with regular public status updates on the matter.

3. Be positive when addressing complaints

Have a “can do” attitude when addressing complaints and avoid being reactive or defensive. Your entire customer base can see these public complaints and your responses and will be forming impressions of your brand based on how you react.

Your prospective customers need to see that you are paying attention, have a genuine interest in solving problems and that you respond promptly.

That being said it is important to know when to take the complaint ‘offline’ to avoid consumers being affected by others issues with you, or to avoid customers who complain having to disclose personal information in a public forum.

You can simply send a message saying, “Apologies for the inconvenience. I am happy to look into this for you. Please send me a private message with your client number so I can investigate further”.

4. Like your customers’ brand mentions of you

Promote your customers’ mentions of you. They are giving you free publicity after all.

By liking their mentions of you and responding you show you care and it makes your customers feel appreciated and more likely to recommend you to others or use your service again.

5. Share self-service tips

If you receive many questions of a similar nature on a regular basis it might be helpful to write some blog posts responding to these FAQ’s and post these across your social media.

This allows customers to solve their own issues and avoids having to answer the same questions continually.

6. Train your staff on social media customer service

Active use and understanding of social media can be a challenge for some staff, especially those of an older generation who have not grown up with social media and may not use it in their out-of-work life.

Cross-train your staff on social media usage and etiquette. There is often an overlap between marketing and customer service and it can be helpful to come up with some guidelines for best practice and encourage marketing and customer service staff to work together.

7. Follow through

Your word means everything. If you promise something, make sure you deliver.

8. Go the extra mile and be proactive

The best customer service is not just reactive. Don’t wait for customers to come to you with issues. Identify the wants and needs of your customer and go out of your way to provide a memorable experience.

A good example of this is New York’s CitiBike, who delivered a gift card for a new pair of jeans to an unfortunate customer who had a nasty crash while riding one of CitiBike’s bikes. The customer was so impressed with the company’s thoughtful concern for him that he immediately took to Twitter to thank CitiBike.


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