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10 tips for automotive brands on how to supercharge your social media customer service

10 tips for automotive brands on how to supercharge your social media customer service

Read time: 3 minutes

  • The Facebook community of automotive brand followers grew 20 per cent in 2017
  • However, automotive brands cut their activity on the platform by 5.2 per cent and reduced Twitter activity by almost 20 per cent
  • Evidence shows that excellent customer service on social media can deliver tangible commercial benefits – many brands are missing opportunities to boost revenues

The story of automotive brands on social media is a curious one. While they were generally early adopters of using the new channels to promote their cars, many have been slow to explore the potential of social media for delivering first-class customer service.

This is surprising, as there is real evidence that brands that use social media effectively can benefit significantly when it comes to up-selling and cross-selling, as well as retaining customers. In fact, research by McKinsey & Company shows that brands that have developed social media customer service capabilities have seen revenue per contact increase by 6.7 per cent.

It’s clear that consumers are keen to engage with brands through social media channels. Our research shows that in 2017 the global Facebook community for automotive brands grew 20 per cent, and 560,000 public questions were put to car brands on Twitter during the same year.

However, it seems that many automotive brands have taken their foot off the gas when it comes to their social presence, with a 5.2 per cent decrease in overall activity on Facebook and an almost 20 per cent drop in activity on Twitter over the same 12-month period.

At the same time, many customers of automotive brands are reaching a dead end when it comes to receiving service via social media. In fact, only 30 per cent of brands have a dedicated service account for this purpose.

As a result, customers receive patchy responses that can be slow to arrive. Recent social benchmarking reports by Socialbakers found that just 12 per cent of Twitter posts about automotive brands were responded to, and customers were waiting more than 12 hours on average before queries on the platform were answered.

But this is not the story for the whole industry, and some brands are much further down the road than others.

Racing ahead

For example, one leading French multinational automobile manufacturer realized that, due to the growing popularity of social media as a way of interacting with companies, it needed to begin delivering customer service on social media channels across the UK and Ireland.

The company was seeing large numbers of posts from social media users, with more than 5,000 customer contacts and around 500 customer complaints each month.

Given the volume of activity, the company realized it was missing sales opportunities and could risk damaging the brand if it didn’t establish robust customer service via its social channels.

So, in partnership with Arvato, the brand created a dedicated team to handle social media customer care. This was backed up by a specialized training program for team members, as well as a custom-built quality model to track the brand’s social media performance.

It also created a tool to aggregate the feeds from all of the brand’s social media channels, allowing the team to deliver a true omnichannel approach, monitoring and responding to customer contacts on the scale required to give every user a good experience of the brand.

In the first ten months, the team processed more than 40,000 posts on social media, bringing the average response time for an incoming contact to just 17 minutes.

Partly as a result of its social media responsiveness, the UK operation is now recognized as ‘best in class’ for customer service within its international network, and has been named a finalist in a number of UK customer service awards.

So, if you want to maximize the benefits of social media, here are our top tips for tuning up your team to deliver an outstanding experience for customers:

10 tips to supercharge your social media customer service

1.     Consider your goals – Identify what you want to achieve with social media – in terms of brand awareness and as a customer service channel.

2.     Centralize your processes –  Unifying the platform you use to manage all your accounts means you can track requests and manage responses consistently across every point of contact.

3.     Clarify responsibilities –  Confusion over who should respond to incoming queries will always cause delays. Be clear about which team is responsible – brand/marketing/PR or customer service –  and make sure they have the resources they need.

4.     Tell people you’re open for business –  Let your customers know they can reach your customer service team via social media once your service is up and running.

5.     Be responsive – Quick answers are vital for effective customer service. This means minutes, not days.

6.     Manage expectations – Communicate clearly when your team is available and how quickly they’ll be able to respond.

7.     Let your people shine – Social media is all about human interaction, so let your people use a relaxed tone and style that’s right for the channel while remaining aligned with your brand.

8.     See every interaction as an opportunity –  Always look for ways to impress your customers by offering additional information and support, cross-sell new products or services to interested customers, or to gather feedback to help improve your products or service.

9.     Hire the right people –  Delivering excellent customer service via social media takes a particular skill-set and the right attitude. This means recruiting the right people and providing ongoing training.

10.  Test, measure, improve – Only by tracking key indicators like response and resolution times, customer satisfaction and sentiment can you be sure you’re having the right impact and are constantly improving.

Read our ultimate guide to social media customer service here

Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.


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