For many customers, social media can be the first point of contact with a business. As such, it’s important to treat enquiries and feedback on your social media channels with the same level of importance as you would if the customer were standing in front of you.
Regardless of the nature of the comment – be it a complaint, query or message of thanks – all should be answered in some fashion as quickly and as effectively as possible. Within this document, we have outlined the best ways to handle any type of comment to your page to ensure your ongoing social media success.
Hi @Waterstones I’ve been locked inside of your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now. Please let me out.
— David Willis (@DWill_) October 16, 2014
Do people actually expect customer service on social media?
Short answer? Yes.
You already know that social media is hugely important in our society thanks in no small part to smartphone penetration or … mobiles! Take a look at the information below.
This shows us some very interesting statistics from 2016. The planet’s population currently exceeds 7 billion. Of those 7 billion, there are more than 2 billion active social media accounts. Further down again, there are more than 1.9 billion active mobile social media accounts. That’s a lot of potential pitch customers, right?
As social media has evolved, its users expect much more from brands. Customer service is an absolute necessity in order to maintain a healthy, happy relationship with users. According to a recent report, if the growth of digital customer interactions continues at the current rate, it will overtake telephone contact as soon as 2017, with 35% of all interactions already digital. Twitter has also reported a 2.5x increase in customer service interactions within the last 2 years.
Those are a lot of figures, but what should they mean to you?
A good level of service means a better relationship with your existing customers and view-able social proof for your potential customers.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Research indicates that it takes on average 157 minutes for brands to respond to their customers on social media
- Of people surveyed, 32% of customers expect a response to their social media message within 30 minutes
- A further 10% expect a response within 60 minutes
- 57% of people asked expect a good level of social media customer service at night and on weekends
- Not responding to a negative comment can be dangerous and escalate the situation
Good customer service on social media can also have a positive impact on your overall sales. According to the table below, 70% of users would recommend a brand based on their social media customer service experience if the response is quick and effective.
Ok, we’ve made our point. So what should you do?
How you respond to a customer on social media depends very much on the context.
— Connaire Wallace (@wallace92hfc) June 28, 2016
— Caerley Hill (@EffrtlsslyGEEK) June 22, 2016
— Hannah Lunn (@hannahelunn15) June 19, 2016
The above are all positive customer experiences which have been published by various account holders on Twitter.
These are social proof. Social proofs can be more effective than any piece of advertising as they come from like minded people who have already used your service. These people are not paid nor bias, if they feel that they have been treated well, they want to let others and yourself know.
These messages are a great incentive for potentials to enquire about your services, as well as the perfect opportunity for you to gauge how your customers feel about you. These messages should be championed, like them, thank the customer for their review, even share them on your main feed for others to see. You could even offer an incentive for leaving a positive review by selecting customers on a random yet regular basis and offering them a money off voucher to thank them for choosing your business. This will not only further cement the customer’s positive impression, but also act as a reason for others to leave their own reviews.
— Skye Rory (@skyenotscott) 27 June 2016
— Durecia Moorer (@VirtuousLily) 25 June 2016
These are also examples of social proof. However, this is proof that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. These particular account users have had negative experiences and have not had the resolution they expected within a reasonable timescale. As such, they have felt the need to publicly comment. It is very important in these scenarios to ensure the customer knows you have heard their complaint and are committed to finding a resolution for them. Showing that you understand the customer’s complaint can also go a long way to defusing the issue. It is also important to try and take the conversation offline as quickly as possible. Here are some examples of good online customer service:
@HipsterMom Hi Shira, could you please send in further details on this via DM and I’d be happy to take a look.
— HubSpot Support (@HubSpotSupport) June 24, 2016
@Eastside_Davin We’re closing up in a few, but if you DM us your gamertag, we’ll happily continue with you tomorrow when we’re back in! ^AK
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) June 29, 2016
@deborahparryuk Oh no! Please speak to a Partner in store, they can find out when more is coming to their stock – fingers crossed it’s soon.
— Waitrose (@waitrose) June 28, 2016
Ok, so what are the main things you should think about in these cases?
At the end of the day, a comment on social media is just as – if not more – important as someone talking to you within your centre. Remembering these key points will help ensure a positive customer experience:
- The people commenting either are, or potentially could be, your customer
- Even if their experience has been negative, there is still time to resolve a problem and turn it into a positive experience
- Social proof is important to any business. Potential customers will make note of the good comments as well as the bad
- In the cases of bad comments, users will then look to see how Goals have responded and handled the situation
- Time is key. If a user comments, you should respond quickly whether the comment is good or bad
- If a comment is negative, take the conversation offline as swiftly as possible