Social Customer Service: The Time is Now

Customer Service is the latest to be revolutionized by social media.

“Your call will be answered in the order it was received”

Sound familiar?

Soon those recordings may be coming to an end as companies are starting to heed the call to serve customers on the same channels they use to engage them. In today’s day and age, a quick post on social media via Twitter or Facebook is bound to get someone’s attention. Social listening tools such as Hootsuite, Simply Measured, Salesforce’s Radian6 and countless others have made ‘social listening’ an easier task for social media customer service representatives and social media marketing departments. No longer is social media a place where marketing teams ‘push’ sales pitches and marketing campaigns to the masses. Social media has leveled the playing field, so to speak, and naturally consumers have started to reach out to companies for their customer service concerns via social media.

Capitalizing on this trend, many social networking sites have recently begun to market their sites as platforms for customer service or what many have begun to call, social customer care. Recently, Twitter published a 122 page Customer Service on Twitter playbook containing guidelines and best practices for brands looking to enhance their customer service via the social media networking site. In a move that should help brands achieve this goal, they recently abolished the 144 character limitation for direct mail on the network which should make taking a conversation off the public channel and customer care a bit easier for brands.

Facebook is undoubtedly, the winner in social customer care although there is much room for improvement. According to Social Bakers, brands on Facebook, are answering 76 percent of the 1.5 million questions posted on their Facebook Pages in Q2 of 2015. In a move designed to strengthen their position in social customer care, Facebook recently introduced Pages, an app that helps brand managers manage up to 50 brand pages via their smartphone or tablet, as well as, many other enhancements that will make Facebook an ideal place to engage in social customer care.

In the infographic below I have included some tips on how to effectively handle customer complaints via social media, the return on investment (ROI) of companies who invest in social customer care, and Pew Research Center’s latest findings on social media usage from 2005-2015:

Social Customer Care

Social Customer Service’s time has come and those companies that deal with customer service issues effectively on social media stand to reap the rewards. To learn more about social customer care, I recommend the following articles:

4 Social Customer Care Rules You Can’t Ignore

How is Social Media Use Affecting Customer Service?

Providing Great Customer Service through Social Media

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Social Customer Care is not your ordinary Customer Service

Most recently, I have been assigned the task of responding to customer service complaints via social media. Now, in all honesty, I have been doing this for 5 years via phone, letters and email but there is a learning curve when it comes to providing customer service via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

For one, the customer that reaches out to a company via social media is not as willing to wait a week or so for a response. Given the immediacy of the internet, most customers expect a response within 24 hours if not sooner.

Secondly, there is no time for elaborate, formal responses when responding via social media channels; the tone is, typically, less formal and authenticity is especially valued by the social media savvy consumer.

Last, but certainly not least, you must take action to solve the customer’s issue and do so quickly. This is not the medium to make promises you do not intend to keep as the very nature of the internet makes it easy for any mishandled issues to go ‘viral’ taking your company’s hard-won reputation down with it.

If you would like to learn more about providing customer service via social media channels, I suggest the following post from the Social Media Examiner that has some tips for providing great customer service via social media.

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