Why building a Social Customer Service Strategy is Crucial for Your Business?

January 07, 2021

When you open a new business it is very important to make your brand recognizable, reliable, trustworthy, and highly useful. How can you achieve that?

By setting up a social customer service plan and online reputation management strategy. Have you recently had an experience with the customer service of a particular brand? I am sure that everyone had some positive or negative experience. Today, with marketing digitization, the brands can establish very strong connections with their customers through their social media service departments.

It is very likely that the customers will have questions, complaints, or simply they will want to reach out to you for any kind of help. One way to help them out is to create an online customer service page. Your social customer service interaction will help the customers understand your brand in the form of actual human beings who stand behind it, and not just products or services. You want to be perceived as an attentive and supportive company and stand out from the rest, which will make you a hero.


What is social customer service?


Simply put, it is a customer service conducted via social media channels. Social media is the preferred customer support channel for those under 25, with 32.3% of them saying it’s their top choice. Moreover, 81% of Twitter users who don’t get a response from a company, will not recommend that company to their friends. Also, customers will spend 20-40% more if you engage and respond to them through social media.

Having in mind these statistics it is very clear that brands need a strategy and a team that is trained to offer guidance, deal with complaints, and review services online. It is all about making it easy for the customer. 

Here are several tips on how to properly use social media for customer service:

1. Use a separate social account to offer social media customer service solutions

This is important for filtering out the support and service issues from the primary channel. Moreover, it is convenient because it assigns the right teams to handle the specific types of incoming public messages. Your ultimate goal is to have customer satisfaction, but the social media marketing team is not always able to address their requests and answer sensitive questions publicly. It is obvious that customer support can look at their problems, isolate the root issue, and propose solutions. They can do that faster as this is what they are trained for. Every time you have a service request into your primary channel, you would preferably pass it along to the team assigned for that issue.

2. Be able to find and monitor messages about your business without being tagged on any of your social accounts

You don’t want to wait to be tagged in order to respond. You should be able to monitor conversations about your brand and be able to offer assistance about an issue even if you were not reached out directly. You can monitor your brand mentions by using different tools for brand listening and monitoring. 

3. Create recognizable social media guidelines

Boost your brand’s reputation on social media by aligning with your company values and with the social marketing team. They should cover things such as:

  • Tone of voice
  • Response time for each channel
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Protocol for escalations or other customer issues
  • A message approval procedure and a permission management system
4. Be proactive by helping the customers to learn how to get the most from your products or services

This is a way to help the customers resolve some of their own questions before deciding to order your products or buy your services. Your social media customer service channels can share educational content and post updates about any known service issues and this would save a lot of time energy for both parties.

5. Make your customers feel more connected to your brand and more comfortable buying, using, and recommending your products or services

6. Set customer expectations appropriately

It's a good practice to provide information about the availability of your service team, and how long it might take them to respond. Additionally, you should inform the customers if there are other resources that they can use in order to get their answers faster such as knowledge base articles, Q&A section on your website, etc.

7. Always respond and do it quickly

Nearly half of people expect a response within an hour and 83% of users expect companies to respond to a social media question or complaint within a day. 

That’s why you should always provide your customers with a fast answer and solution to their issues. Answering every single issue proves that you care about your customers and their needs.

8. Offer a chatbot for common service requests

This is a tool for offering basic social customer service 24/7, which perfectly meets the customers’ needs for simple questions that you often get, and most importantly, your customer service team is free to focus on more technical questions and troubleshooting.

9. Use the channels where your customers are most active

This will give you a good sense of what channels to prioritize for your social media customer service.

10. Use built-in tools to take the public conversation private when needed

Not all answers have to be public and this is why you always have to include the possibility of a private channel.


How does social media help customer service?


Remember the time when social media was only for personal use? We were maintaining our personal interactions and the popularity was increasing very fast. This growing popularity and fast development have led to much wider use, especially for business purposes. Now, it is a very important tool for building a community around brands. The fact that everybody has easy access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and many others, benefits all of the parties. From one side, the businesses save a lot of money and time in building their brand, and from another, the customers can easily communicate and engage through closer communication with the brand. Customers are able to choose their preferred form of contact, and that increases the effectiveness of social interaction with the brand.

Every customer has a perception of a particular brand, especially for the one that he/she is loyal to. This perception connects both the brand and the customer.

But how can one business manage to connect with the customer in a way that it becomes and remains unique, recognizable, and trustworthy? With all the competition and the challenges of the online world, social media management must not lose the human touch that it has been known for.

Here are the 5 most important skills for every customer service:

1. Responsiveness

You should always seek ways to help your customers by responding to them on a daily basis, which already makes your brand trustworthy. At the same time keeping the promises you give, even if you need more time to fulfill them, makes your customers happy and keeps things fair for the whole customer base.

2. Availability

What does it mean to be available? Well, this is very important because a good social media manager should be able to react fast and manage every communication channel the company uses. Also, when customers are well informed and on time, they will have no reason to contact your competition.

3. Tone of voice

A clearly defined brand voice connects you properly with your audience. Either you choose to have a more formal tone, or decide to be friendly and casual, you must be consistent.

4. Simple communication

In order to be able to give the answers your customers need, the social media management team has to listen to what customers say and give simple instructions that anyone can understand. In some cases, you can prepare answers in advance which should be approved by your manager. 

Also, the best way to make communication more successful is to encourage feedback and suggestions for your service or products. Provide methods that allow your customers to write constructive criticism, comments, and suggestions.

5. Accountability

When you deliver your promise, and at the same time your customers are informed on how you are committed to supporting them, you will certainly succeed.

Understanding customer expectations and continuous improvement in customer experience will definitely become key brand differentiators.

Crisis management in social customer support


When can we say that the brand is in social crises? In short, it is any social media activity that potentially hurts the brand’s reputation or ability to do business. No matter if the company is big or small, or its popularity, it cannot avoid complaints. At some point, there will be a moment when you face the fact that some customers are not satisfied with their experience.

When we say “crisis”, that means that there is not just a single complaint or a negative comment, but a real bunch of negative comments and expressed dissatisfaction of a product or service and even boycott of the products or services. No brand is immune to social media crises. You, as a marketer, cannot always control all the crises and they can happen no matter how careful your brand is with its messaging.

The most important thing after identifying the crisis is to make a social media crisis management plan to avoid escalation of the situation. At this point, there is a major issue that impacts a significant group of customers and requires a special response.

A solid crisis management plan can prevent and limit the impact of these happenings. Here are six steps for preventing a social media crisis:

1. Create a social media policy

This policy would provide guidance for how employees should post on official accounts and mention the company on their personal profiles. Employees should be given a detailed description of how they should handle customer inquiries that come through social media and guidelines on how to address questionable content like misinformation, leaks, or confidential information. They should: get approval for company-related posts, comply with copyright laws on social media, include or withhold company information on social media profiles, and react to PR crises on social media.

2. Secure your social media accounts

The main risks of holding social media accounts are weak passwords and limited account security, or former employees who are more likely to cause a cybersecurity crisis than a hacker. The most secure solution would be limiting and tracking employees’ access to social media accounts, making sure to revoke access for employees leaving the company or moving into an unrelated department. Luckily, it’s easy for businesses to add an extra level of protection to user accounts in the form of two-factor authentication, also commonly referred to as 2FA. 2FA increases the security of your account. Even if somebody guessed your password, they won’t be able to access your account. 

If you work in a large team and you need to share all the passwords safely and securely, it is definitely time to start using a password manager. Also, the password manager will generate a secure random password for every new account.

3. Create a social listening program

Monitoring the industry trends, relevant hashtags, exploring what people are saying about your brand can respond to issues before they develop into crises. As social media crises don’t observe office hours, you should have your social media team members monitoring day and night, including the weekends.   

4. Be proactive about hashtag campaigns

Hashtags can be catchy and a great way to bring your social audience together, but also sometimes misinterpreted or misconstrued. That is why we should be careful when we choose them. A great hashtag is narrowed in context to limit the “creativity” users might have if they’re looking to complain or troll, and well understood by the creator to avoid the wrong expression.

5. Don’t capitalize on an external crisis

In times of external crises, it is important to remain restrained of controversial or sensitive topics unless there’s a good reason not to. This doesn't mean that you shouldn’t communicate at all, but make sure that you don’t sound deaf during a crisis and address the situation appropriately if needed. Make sure your posts are brand-appropriate and nonconfrontational.

6. Define what a crisis is for your business specifically

The crisis mode should not be turned on every time there is an issue or an incident that can be resolved by contacting the customer directly. However, the earlier you can identify a brand crisis, the better situated your company will be. 


How can you implement a customer service strategy?


1. Create a Customer Service Vision

The first step in creating a customer service strategy is to introduce the customer service vision to employees. The vision and the organizational goals have to be well communicated between the employees so that everybody can understand each other’s responsibilities which will help achieve that vision. If the customer support team has the proper skills, they will provide a better customer service experience.

2. Assess Customer Needs

The whole point of doing business is to figure out what the customers really want. When brands know what their customers want, they can put together plans to meet those needs. The customer support team has to talk to the customers and find out what their expectations are. This way the businesses won’t waste their resources on wrong outcomes.

3. Hire the Right Employees

Employees have to have the right skill set to present positive and helpful interactions. Not all employees can work directly with customers. Besides the right skills, they have to possess the appropriate attitude and personality to help support a strong customer service environment.

4. Set Goals for Customer Service 

Once we know our customer base and its needs and expectations, it is time to create goals for achieving customer satisfaction. The targets have to be well understood by the employees, so they can reach their corporate objectives. 

5. Train on Service Skills

Training must not be left out as everyone can benefit from practical teaching on the organization’s approach to customer service. Employees need to know how to behave in every particular situation. 

6. Reward and Recognize Good Service

The work of employees who are great service providers has to be always rewarded. Companies must have a well thought out system for acknowledging and rewarding employees for providing great service.


Final thoughts


We have to bear in mind that today everything happens fast, especially in social media. If you achieve a positive social media customer service experience, 71% of your consumers will likely recommend your brand to others. What is most important is that the business world and social media customer service are strongly related. Today, customers pay more to do business with companies with a great customer service reputation.

Every company has to have a suitable plan and tools at its disposal. Without a plan, your social customer strategy will lack proper goals and cohesive execution. Without the right tools, you will be missing the mentions of your brand that might cost you many new customers.

It’s time to start working on your social customer care plan and put everything into practice. Let us help you become an expert in giving the best possible social customer service. If you think we missed something, let us know in the comments. 

Let’s work together!

Author: Milena Kostadinova

Milena Kostadinova

Milena is an experienced content writer. She enjoys reading and constantly learning new things. She is addicted to watching movies and TV shows, but one of her main daily routines is exercising.