Before telephone calls, the postal service was the quickest way to communicate customer complaints, feedback etc. Then came the telephone and before the internet, a telephone call was the most effective and easiest way for customers to seek help from companies. Then along came the internet and with it the facility to send electronic mails after which nothing was ever the same. It’s true because after that the internet became the hub for rapid customer service. Social media changed the game for customer interactions as the medium made real-time communication possible in less than a second with faster resolutions.
Source: Sprout Social
How can you become a social media support expert?
As a customer support agent on social media, you will be responsible for providing customer support through various social media platforms. It covers services before, during and after purchase and also includes activities such as addressing concerns, answering queries, issuing returns or refunds, providing guidance etc. A survey conducted by JD Power stated that of over 23,000 online consumers, 67% of respondents reported that they contacted a brand’s customer support via social media for help. This is why it is important to listen to these social media requests for support and know exactly what to say and how to respond. While that is easy to say, it is certainly not very simple to put into action.
Social media and support service
If you have ever complained to a brand publicly via social media, you will know that even before the resolution of that issue takes place, it is how you respond to that comment that primarily matters. A social connection AKA two-way social interaction has been the long intended purpose of social media. Just by listening to your customers, you can not only demonstrate your care towards your customers which impacts the stickiness of the brand that you represent. Ultimately, your primary goal as a social media support superstar is to provide your customers with an easy and enjoyable experience that will translate into customer retention and business growth and all this because you went the extra mile to understand your customers meet their needs and expectations.
Let’s check out some stats from some of the top brands and businesses:
Listed below are some customer service stats that will help you understand the importance of being on top of your game in the world of social media where everything happens in an instant.
- According to Facebook, 69% of users say that they are more confident about a brand that they can message and have a conversation with.
- According to Brad Cleveland, 46% of customers will jump ship if they think agents that they are interacting with are not knowledgeable enough.
- According to Gartner, 9% of support representatives don’t reply to comments on Instagram, and 16% do not respond to comments on Facebook.
- Go Globe reports that 60% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within an hour or less.
- According to Convince and Convert, answering a customer grievance or complaint on social media can improve and increase customer advocacy by 25%.
- Gartner reported that not responding or a substandard quality of response on social media can lead to an increase in churn rate by 15%.
Upskill towards Social media Support
1 . Identify and know which social media post or comment needs to be resolved in public or in private
An important aspect of successfully managing social media complaints is by knowing how to react to them. Before you sit to respond to every negative comment or feedback rolled at you, determine which comments should be resolved publicly. That would mean that these comments and interactions would be available for everyone to view on:
- Instagram posts
- Google reviews
- Facebook reviews and posts
- Tweets on Twitter
Then outline the kind of comments or interactions that need to be had in private so that they would be moved to direct message, phone call, email etc. This process may look significantly different depending on the business or the project you are a part of but the general framework is more or less the same. If the customer has chosen to communicate with you via a message or a direct message then, replying to them in the same format is not much of a problem.
For instance, on Twitter, you could reply in private if the matter required it.
Sometimes a message may not seem like a question therefore that would mean that it does not need a response but always make sure to reply as you don’t want your brand’s response rate to be affected in any way. For example:
Customer: “I couldn’t find the ‘check out’ option earlier but now I found it.”
Agent: “Hello there [customer name], thanks for contacting us and letting us know. Let us know how else we can assist you.”
Sometimes if you receive a message that would require you to take time to research it, then let the customer know that their message has been received and that a solution will be sent soon.
Customer: “I am not able to check the replacement details for my product.”
Agent: “Hi [Customer name]! Thanks for reaching out to us. We are sorry about the inconvenience you are experiencing. Let us look into that for you and get back to you shortly.”
By segmenting your conversations you are more likely to influence the purchase decisions of potential customers who are looking for a brand on social media or just make it easy for them to choose between your brand and a competitor. Therefore, in addition to responding, taking your conversations privately or publicly is a crucial component of effective social media communication. Your action followed by the type of response you craft outlines the improvement of the service and compensates the customer for the problem he faced.
2 . Reply as quickly as possible
Customers are aware that with support calls they would have to wait a while before they get in touch with a representative and with emails they are aware that an instant response will not be possible. But when it comes to social media, there exists an expectation that customer service is always active. Due to this, Convince and Convert have reported that 42% of customers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes. This would mean that to be an effective support agent you would need to reply to questions, complaints, reviews, etc as quickly as possible.
Let’s take Best Buy as an example. Because of a quick response time, they managed to make a successful sale.
This goes to show that social media response time is an important metric to focus on when it comes to creating a rapport with a customer online. In addition to strengthening the relationship, it also boosts sales and helps in creating a customer-centric image for the brand you are representing.
3 . Combat negativity with positivity
A mistake that most support agents of brands seem to be making on social media is gearing to defend themselves when a negative comment is posted. It may be that or to ignore the comment or have it removed altogether. While some may or may not be done upon the direction or instruction of the brand, it may not be healthy in the long run. In such cases, make sure to be the kind of voice that meets negativity with positivity. You are after all the bridge between the organization and the customer, therefore it is your duty to please your customer while also making the brand you represent look good.
Let’s look at it like this, when a customer complains about something in a store, there will be two or three people around to overhear which means that the range of damage will be minimal. But when a customer complains on social media, every one of your customers or followers or your potential buyers and your competitors will be able to see it on their news feed. While you or the brand cannot control what your customers are going to say, what you can control is how you react to it. Therefore an amazing approach is by staying positive. By remaining positive you will help to reduce online customer anxiety and help in breeding support from your loyal customers.
Let’s take a look at how Atomic Burger and Applebee’s handled their customer complaints with positivity and suave.
It is impossible to escape criticism or negativity on social media, so when a business is on the receiving end of social media negativity as an agent you can brainstorm positive responses and meet backlashes with optimism and positivity. The important thing here is that you need to focus on showing your customer that you value and empathize with their position and respect their opinion regardless of whether it is positive, neutral or negative. Demonstrating positivity and empathy can go a long way in making you an efficient support agent in the social media sector.
4 . Respond to all social media comments, questions and feedback
Acknowledgement is key when it comes to social media. Letting someone’s opinions, thoughts, etc go into a black hole imprints a black mark on your performance as a support agent and the overall attitude of a company towards its customers’ opinions. A customer uses social media to be heard therefore not replying to your customer is rarely the solution here. Since comments and tweets on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be viewed by the public, you need to be extremely careful and attentive so as to not miss a single comment or client opinion.
Conversocial reported that 54% of customers prefer social media over email and phone. Gartner reported that not responding to customers on social media can lead to an increase in customer churn rate by 15% while Convince and Convert stated that responding to a customer complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by 25%. With so many stakes riding, diffusing customer anger or frustration must be priority one. If one customer is ignored, another hurt customer will add to the club forming a mob of angry customers with unresolved queries and issues which is something neither you nor your company wants. Answer each query or complaint and make sure none are missed out. That way, you are not only improving your knowledge and your skill as a support agent but also making the brand or business look good to its customers and making it stand out from the rest!
If you think you are game for handling social media for businesses? Register as a professional with VOIZ and land a project within hours.