Top 5 tips for providing customer service via social media
• Personalization, authenticity and responsiveness are essential to all customer service strategies.
• 79 per cent of US consumers only consider shopping with brands that understand and care about them. 
Read time: 6 minutes
Social media is now part of everyday life, and the average person spends 30 per cent of their day using it to voice their views, post pictures of their food, or scroll through the latest news from their friends.
But social media isn’t just about brunches, animal videos and boasting about holidays. With more than 3 billion people across the globe now having a social media profile, and a new user joining a platform every 15 seconds, our reliance on social media is only set to increase in the coming years.
That means that brands need to place social media at their heart of their customer service strategy or risk losing people’s custom forever.
Here we look at the top 5 tips to successfully providing customer service via social media, and some examples of how it works in practice.
1. Take a human approach to social media customer service
More than 6 million tweets are sent every single second. With volumes continuing to rise many brands are concerned that interacting with customers on social media will lead to such high numbers of inquiries that they simply don’t have the capacity to respond to.
This worry has led to some businesses using automated responses to engage with people’s posts. But customers aren’t looking for robotic answers to their inquiries, and instead are craving meaningful human interactions with brands.
Firms should instead look at how they can use technology to filter out the noise, freeing up representatives time to concentrate on the interactions that matter.
Simple steps such as using a conversational tone, the customer service representative signing off by name and providing a nonscripted response that actually addresses a customer’s question will also help to build a relationship with customers. These steps may seem obvious, but they’re the ones that many brands miss.
2. Personalize social media customer service responses
Customers don’t want to be forgotten about as soon as they’ve bought their product or used a service. Instead, they want to know that a brand cares about their opinions and views.
Now they don’t expect a company to know about every aspect of their lives – in fact, they would prefer it if they didn’t – but addressing a person by name in responses and creating a rapport with them by engaging directly with their posts can go a long way.
A great example of this was when a social media customer service representative at an international grocery brand went the extra mile for a customer, checking stock levels in all the stores in her local area to see if they had the only type of toothpaste her son would use.
The representative’s actions made the customer feel valued, as well as grateful that a temper tantrum could be averted. By showing the customer that they care, it’s now more likely that the mother will shop with them again or recommend the brand to friends and family.
Which brings us to our next point…
3. Create a social media community
People (particularly those of a younger generation) aren’t shy about voicing their opinions about brands online, and customers now regularly write reviews about businesses and their products.
So with conversations about their company already taking place, it makes sense for brands to get involved – or they risk missing out on a huge opportunity to build a relationship with their customers.
Businesses can create a community feel by making it known that if someone mentions them on social media they will get a response, even if they’re not expecting one. Brands can also engage customers by starting conversations themselves, asking people for their views on their latest products or to get involved with an event that might be taking place.
A leading automotive brand, for example, asked its followers to share their memories, images and videos of its cars ahead of its anniversary. This created a rapport with consumers, making them feel included and part of a special event – not just the owner of a car that gets them from A to B.
4. Take an effortless customer service approach to problems on social media
As the saying goes, you can’t please everyone all of the time, and all brands will experience a disgruntled customer or two at points. However, it’s the way a situation is dealt with that often sets the best brands apart.
Responding quickly is the first step in winning back a customer’s trust, and it’s essential that representatives demonstrate that they are taking control of the situation in their reply.
Just saying sorry is not good enough. Any apology needs to be detailed and sincere, showing empathy for the customer’s situation. It should also outline the next steps to rectify the problem, with actions that don’t require a lot of effort from the customer.
With 79 per cent of US consumers only considering shopping with brands that understand and care about them, if a company isn’t there when the going gets tough, then it’s likely that they’ll lose their custom forever.
5. Create an authentic customer service voice on social media
All brands and products are different, and there is certainly no one size fits all approach when it comes to dealing with customers. That’s why it’s important that companies make sure that their social media tone and approach reflects their brand’s core values.
Among the sheer volume of information and content that’s put out on social media every day, it can be easy for a brand to get lost in the chatter. But by having a strategy that centers on authenticity, community and responsiveness, brands can successfully engage with their consumers, making them feel part of an inclusive group rather than just a number on a call waiting list.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
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