Social Media Customer Service Plan – Why Is It Important to Have It?
⏱ Reading Time: 8 minutes
Being a customer today means you have a wide range of channels to choose from. You are no longer dependent only on an automated phone system. Ranging from AI-powered chatbots to messaging apps and self-service knowledge bases there are many services available to cater to different customers.
As a brand, using social media for marketing is different from using the same tools for customer support services. Although social media may only be a single source for customer care, since it is easily accessible and immediate, customers prefer reaching out to you whether or not you have a social media customer service (SMCS) plan in place.
Brands can improve relationships with their existing customers. And they can also protect their reputation by planning a social service approach.
In this article, we are looking at some of the most vital components of setting up a social media customer service plan for a brand. Keeping customers happy is the sole reason brands want to offer good customer support. These stats from Hubspot, emphasize the importance of having a social media customer service plan:
- 80% of consumers use social to engage with brands
- 54% of people that have social media use it to research products
- 54% of customers prefer social media for customer service over phone or email
- If you don’t respond to comments on social media, it can lead to a 15% increase in churn rate
Why Is Social Customer Care so Important?
Customer experience determines the success of any business. How your customers experience an interaction with your online business has a direct effect on brand loyalty, customer churn, sales. Moreover on customer retention rate and consumer advocacy.
Let’s say, you were working in a service outlet. You would never ignore a client who walked up to you and asked you about a specific service/product. Yet, only half of these messages are responded to by brands online. Which according to research, in the case of no response shows a 43% decrease in customer advocacy.
The way you address an inquiry online or interact with a customer shows how well your business managed public exchange. Answering all direct inquiries sends a strong message to your customers. It tells that you are not only actively watching what’s happening online but also participating in it.
Selectively responding to questions means, you don’t bother about all of your clients. Simply put, social customer care is like a springboard for brand loyalty and increased sales.
Picture 1. Favorable view of brands statistics
In fact, according to Statista, over 45% of US consumers have a more favorable view of brands who responded to customer complaints and questions on social media. Great social customer support not only helps build a positive brand image but also brand loyalty.
On the other hand, it is easier to criticize brands for not responding to their customers online. But it is important to identify why brands choose not to do so. Because at times, even when a brand does respond, an unsatisfactory response can trigger damage.
Are There Any Necessary Tools for Social Customer Service?
The type and number of customer service tools that are available depend on the size of the business. A single-location retail outlet might make things work with a free or low-cost set of tools. On the other hand, a multi-national brand would invest significantly into software and team.
Conducting a self-audit to determine how many of the messages you receive online are customer care related can help you figure out the right set of tools you will need.
Social Media Management Apps
Do you use any software or an online service to respond to customer inquiries? Are you using the native Facebook Messenger app and Twitter App?
Constantly rotating between social apps and navigating through them can be time-consuming. You need to find a way that will not only help you keep track of all the incoming messages but also respond to them more effectively.
For free options, each social channel has its own app. For instance, Facebook’s new inbox now compiles Facebook posts, Instagram Direct, Instagram comments, and Messenger into one view. In fact, if you are likely to deal with a high volume of the same type of questions, you can also set up a free chatbot to be used for your page’s Facebook Messenger.
If you are dealing with a large volume of messages from multiple social channels, apps like Hootsuite and Buffer can collect everything in one place. You can easily disseminate tasks between team members. And what else? You can manage inquiries from a single platform without having to switch between apps.
A Dedicated Team
Although help centers and chatbots are effective in handling FAQs and mitigating the volume of incoming messages, they cannot completely replace the need of a real person yet.
To offer a good customer support service you need to have a dedicated team or staff to manage and look after customer care. You need to make sure that your staff is trained in handling the specifics of customer care on social.
A Tracking System
Your customer care process needs to be a feedback loop that allows you to see improvement over products and processes. You need to have a robust system in place. Why? So that it would allow you to keep track of common issues that can be addressed at a company level to avoid future complaints from your customers. A system that will help you generate reports to ensure your social media customer service plan is working can be a great asset.
Social Media Guidelines
You are likely to get your brand voice diluted if you have multiple people managing your social media. To need to ensure your social approach is cohesive across all posts, promotions and service responses. You can create and document a voice strategy or social media guidelines to help everyone on your team understand how to represent the brand on social.
Make sure to include the following things as part of your social media guidelines:
How to Implement Your Social Media Customer Service Plan?
Customer care starts before the customer comes to you with service or product-related issues. When approaching these public service interactions, what do you think it’s important? Well, definitely to keep in mind that every potential customer out there is watching your responses. Even the direct messages can be screenshot and shared publicly.
It is vital to understand the social consequences of poor customer service. American Express Report says that an average American will tell fifteen other people when they have had a bad service experience.
Pro tip: In your social media customer service plan, document common service issues. Also, document scenarios of why customers tend to reach out to you on social. Include examples of how you would like to respond to that.
You Need to Know When to Take the Matters off Social
There are going to be instances when you are unable to resolve a situation in the public space. It becomes important that you ask for customer information, and move into a private communication stream. Which could be via either a phone call or DM.
Keeping Track of All Your Interactions
According to Marketing Metrics, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%. And it is very likely for you to interact with a customer on social media months before they book with you.
You must keep all this information in one place and ensure that your systems are interlinked. Help center software systems often come equipped with additional features that load in the order numbers and social handles that are associated with respective email IDs. This makes the whole process easier and removes the same requests for their details.
Measuring ROI for Customer Care on Social
To justify your initial investment, it is important to know how much time and resources it takes you to maintain the customer care protocols on social. You can measure the success rate by conducting customer satisfaction surveys. They are often automatically prompted after a conversion.
If you have more people managing your social channels, running a report that lists their responsiveness to customer interactions and what their performance is like can help you calculate success.
Lastly, you do not want to forget about off-social stats and metrics. Data showing the number of your website visitors referred from social along with repeat customer sales can be a good representation of your customer care performance.
If you aren’t already working on your social media customer service plan, use this guide to help you start with it. Let us know what you think works best for building brand loyalty.
Jamal Khan writes about the influence of social media on modern-day business activities. He’s best known for designing social media strategies for some of the well-known global brands. His recent interests are in helping a local footwear brand elevate their Peshawari Chappal sales using the power of social.
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