4 Basics Of Using Social Media For Customer Support

Angela Stringfellow

3min read

Social media is a powerful channel for businesses from virtually any industry. From its plethora of ecommerce features to its array of creative and unique ways to engage followers, it offers plenty for brands seeking to grow in 2020.

But beyond this, social media is about people, and it offers a great way to connect with your audience too. If you want to use social media for customer service in a way that delivers genuine value in 2020, read on to discover the basics.

Be proactive and agile with your responses

Customer complaints can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked. A proactive attitude towards customer complaints and queries gives you the edge, letting you take control of the situation on your own terms.

You know already that a core tenet of increasing your follower count on social is speed and frequency, both in posting and sharing content and in reacting to real-world events. The same applies to your customer service too.

A quick and responsive attitude towards customer complaints prevents other people from noticing it on social. It also helps you take control of the conversation so you can direct it to a more private channel.

Social media monitoring tools, such as Keyhole, are helpful here. These let you monitor and track mentions of your brand across social media so you can identify potential issues as they arise. These often let you spot social posts where you’ve been mentioned but not tagged, so you can rapidly resolve situations and move them over to email where you can discuss it privately.

Create a base of loyal customer advocates

A third of consumers have reached out to a brand on social media to complain at some point or another. While it doesn’t seem like a lot in itself, that’s still a sizable number of customers. This means you’ll likely be resolving a lot of complaints about your own brand.

But instead of just responding to complaints as they arise, focus on creating a core base of loyal customers who will, of their own accord, respond to critiques of your brand themselves.

A customer advocate base is a selection of repeat customers (and employees) who love and trust your brand. They are willing to praise your brand in public, often unprompted too.

When you provide stellar customer service, you also build a faithful advocate base of individuals who willingly praise your brand, often heading off criticism from other users as it lands. This creates a buffer that protects you against complaints before you even have to intervene.

This is achieved by nurturing customer relationships, providing a good service beyond simple customer support. Respond to queries and comments online swiftly and genuinely. Eschew automated tones of voice in favor of a personal touch.

Such an approach gives your brand a human depth, helping develop the relationship between you and your loyal customers so they praise your brand readily and willingly.

Let your customers know you are responsive and present

In the same vein as being proactive, savvy brands must also be responsive in their use of social media for customer support. If your customers are angry, you need to make it clear that you are attentive and responsive.

Chatbot automation is a good way to quickly placate upset customers. These allow for option trees that direct customers to the right channel and, most importantly, take them off social and onto private channels.

But this doesn’t just cover complaints or queries. This also applies to praise and positive comments, whether it’s directly addressed to your brand or not. Simply liking a tweet is enough to make customers feel acknowledged, but comments also go a long way towards assuring your audience that you are present and aware of them.

If a customer says something positive about your brand on social, send them a quick thank-you or ask them what they think about your product or service. It’s a small act, but one that nurtures a positive relationship between you and your customer that lasts and lasts.

Strike the right tone of voice

As with every customer interaction, striking the right tone of voice is vital. There are countless examples of brands making an ill-timed joke or inappropriate turn of phrase, only for the customer to become even angrier or upset.

Of course, this can be tricky to perfect on social. Character limits and a lack of facial or verbal cues make it difficult to convey the appropriate tone of voice to distressed customers.

A good way to circumvent this minefield is to tailor your tone of voice to every situation by watching how the customer themselves is communicating.

For instance, if the customer is using emojis or exclamation marks, it’s generally okay to use them yourself. On the other end of the spectrum, if it looks like they are not a native English speaker, you might need to avoid certain turns of phrase which might sound alien to them.

If your customer is angry, it’s important to immediately make clear that you are empathic for their situation.

Social media is a great way to resolve customer queries, nurture relationships with brand advocates, and show that you are aware and attentive to their input for your brand. Follow the tips above and launch a social media customer support strategy that works for you and your audience in 2020.

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