As of 2020, there are 2.6 billion monthly active users on Facebook and over 1.2 billion on WeChat. Instagram has over one billion, and Twitter has 330 million.
Chances are high that some of these users are your customers. And whether you’re aware of it or not, those customers are actively seeking support via social media. The numbers back this up: in a study by J.D. Power, 67% of respondents said they had reached out to a company via social media.
When approaching social media support, it’s important to keep in mind why your customer is using that channel in the first place, and how they use it. Customers may be hopping on social media as a simple preference. But other times, they air their grievances on a social platform because they want to discuss something your company did (or didn’t do!) publicly.
Social media allows customers to reach out to companies easily, without going out of their way. Research from OpinionLab shows that 66% of customers prefer to give feedback by actively reaching out – not by taking surveys. Instead of scouring a website for a company’s contact info, or spending minutes filling out a survey, customers can tell companies what they think within seconds, as easily as tagging them in a status, tweet, or post. How your agents respond can be the difference between long-term retention and immediate churn. Here are some social media customer support tools structured by the key best practices.
Best Practices for Social media
1. Respond quickly
Social media is a channel that was designed for communication between friends, families, and social groups. When customers invite brands into their social spheres, they do so wanting the same quick response times that they would get (or hope for!) from their closest friends.
According to influencer and author Jay Baer, 32% of consumers expect a response on social media channels within 30 minutes . The same report found 57% of consumers expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.
For companies, speed on social media is critical to not only providing good customer service, but to establishing and maintaining a brand image that is centered around attentiveness and care. Use these tools to keep your social media customer service quick and competitive.
- Unified platform
- Custom views, tags, and filtering
A big pain-point that companies have with social media is that it isn’t just one channel: it’s a series of platforms that share a few commonalities. Not only does juggling platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger create internal friction that slows down customer service – it’s also easy for incoming queries to fall through the cracks. To nail quick responses on social media, the first thing you need is a unified inbox for processing social requests.
A unified platform keeps all incoming customer queries in one place, eliminating the need to toggle between social media accounts. Agents can seamlessly tackle requests no matter which social channel the customer is engaging from, increasing operational efficiency and bringing about faster resolution.
Unified platforms increase speed by making workflow management simple and intuitive. When a new social media request comes in, a ticket is created and can be flagged with the necessary tags to indicate priority. Agents can filter through tickets and see which incoming messages need to be addressed first – keeping response times fast and your team on top of social media requests.
This can be aided by a features such as custom views, which allow you to create custom filters that group and display tickets. If a customer reaches out to your company on two different channels, such as email and social media, those ticket will be grouped. This keeps agents from doing double the work and prevents two different agents from being assigned a task they might inadvertently give two different answers to.
Ticketing makes it easy to route incoming social media requests to the appropriate department, such as sales or billing. Just like with email, routing can be done automatically, ensuring fast response and resolution times. Social media inquiries can be assigned distinct SLAs depending on the department they belong to and even the platform that they originated from.
For example, your company might assign an SLA of one hour to first respond to incoming Tweets complimenting your brand, and an SLA of 15 minutes for private Facebook Messenger requests. This helps your agents prioritize and respond quickly to the most pressing social media inquiries.