​How to make social media one of your best customer service channels

Learn tips and tricks from the experts at Playvox on mastering customer care through social media

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Playvox Team

Social media

If there’s one CX trend that has intensified during the pandemic, it’s customers looking for service via channels that work best for them. While chat, email and phone remain default preferences for many companies, social media is taking on a new level of importance given people’s increasing reliance on convenience.

Couple this with the fact that customers are trying new products, services and subscriptions to suit their mostly stay-at-home lifestyle and companies have an even greater need to delight new customers in those first few critical touchpoints. ​Industry research conducted at the end of last year shows that​ ​80 per cent of consumers expect better customer service​ due to the pandemic. Expectations are at all-time highs across the board.

Social media has been a viable channel for ​providing customer service and meeting expectations​ for several years. Long enough, in fact, that there are countless ​stories about brands delighting people​ who are looking for help or just airing general grievances.

While the practice has been in place for some time, there are a number of ways social media can improve customer service over and above what many companies do today. And the time is right: ​72 per cent of people have increased their usage of social media​ since the onset of the pandemic.

​​​​Think of these best practices as ways to meet your customers where they are.

Listening and Monitoring

The first consideration in being able to effectively handle customer needs on social media is to have a polished presence on the channels your company chooses to engage on. This goes to the heart of your brand identity and reputation. Look to your marketing or communications team for guidance on elements such as voice, images, and video.

Then it’s the CX team’s responsibility to think through process management and quality of interactions. Customers will look at a company’s social media channels for evidence of how past issues have been handled. This will affect their perceptions coming into an interaction and will inform how satisfied they are with their own experience.

All of these elements taken together reflect on your company’s brand, so having a collaborative relationship with other market-facing functions inside your business is key to how customers ultimately think, talk about, and interact with your company.

It’s a best practice to assign at least one agent -- possibly more depending on the size of your organization and customer base -- to monitor activity on social media, watching for unhappy customers or other issues that could negatively affect reputation. Questions, cases or complaints that arise can be addressed efficiently and with empathy. Customers usually tag or name companies in their posts, and there are a wide range of​ ​tools to use for monitoring social media​ channels.

F​rom a service standpoint, customers expect social media to be a one-stop shop. As you listen for custome​r issues, ​ensure agents are prepared​ with the suite of tools, knowledge and resources needed to resolve an issue on the first interaction.

Responding and Managing

Once you’ve accounted for your customer service team’s presence on social media, it’s important to consider the logistical and operational realities of social media and how they feed into your call center’s processes. This is where metrics such as time to respond, first contact resolution rate, and time to resolve come into focus.

To enable the service processes your organization has in place, train agents to address customer issues raised on social media in a similar way to how they would do so via your company’s website. Of course, social media posts are available for others to see, but this shouldn’t change how agents respond. All interactions should meet quality expectations, regardless of where they happen.

Blurring the lines between channels also helps your agents improve the customer service experience. After all, customers don’t see channels; they see companies and how people treat them. In a recent study, ​social media emerged as the most preferred method of customer service​ for 50 per cent of people between 18 and 54. This underscores the importance of viewing your branded social media channels as an integrated part of your customer service operations.

Consider having a dedicated customer service account on the social media channels your customers use. Having a unique Twitter handle or even just providing your service team’s contact information in the about section of your company page creates a visible place where customers can feel heard -- and it builds good will. A social media account or page dedicated to customer service also lets you focus on complaints in one place and shields your main social media presence from negative experiences.

Just as important as following existing processes, agent optimization and continuous improvement are essential to the health of your customer service organization. This includes incorporating QA and performance improvement tools into your workflows. Coaching and incentivizing agents goes a long way to motivating the right behaviors and inspiring the best possible interactions with customers.

Social media will continue to transform customer service and improve CX, especially as people look to get their needs met across a range of channels. Over time, the social media channels themselves may diversify. Millennials brought ​Instagram into the customer service realm​. ​Gen Z may come to rely on​ ​Snapchat​ ​and TikTok for help when needed. The best approach is offering support where your customers are active, so your business can accelerate purchases, issue resolution, customer satisfaction, and advocacy.

Discover how Playvox can equip your business with the most comprehensive, collaborative, and insightful agent optimization tools at ​www.playvox.com

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