Spend enough time on Twitter and you’ll see your feed fill up with customer service requests from those you follow: @GetSpectrum My Internet is down, help! @AskTarget Why is my order late? Social media has become the modern-day customer service hotline. And customers are reaching out any way they can, even if it means clogging up their own timelines with those requests. Why? It’s easy and fast—who has time to actually talk to someone on the phone? But, how do brands provide the same level of customer service over Tweets? Or Instagram comments? Or Facebook reviews or … cue the human vs. bot debate.
Know Your Platforms
The first step in understanding customer service via social media is pinpointing the most-utilized social platforms your customers turn to. For most brands those social channels are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Know where your customers are having conversations about your brand and make sure you’re posting and maintaining a presence consistently on those platforms. Understand best practices and the nuances of interacting with customers on those platforms. In many cases, brands will be responding to customers via public-facing comments and direct messages.
Mind Your FAQs
The next step is identifying your customers’ frequently asked questions. Are there a lot of questions about how to find a specific location? Maybe tons of customers have complaints about promo codes? Or maybe, if you’re lucky, you have a large number of customers singing your praises and you don’t want to ignore those either. Start “bucketing” questions and comments and you’ll soon see themes emerge. You’ll need to comb through a backlog of past customer comments—a year’s worth is a great place to start—to categorize common questions and comments. Once you’ve built your FAQs, you can start scaling your responses.
Script It Out
After you’ve identified FAQs, it’s time to start scripting. By now (hopefully) you’ve already curated a brand voice and tone. Are your social posts fun and cheerful? Or are they more formal and informative? Whatever the tone, this should spill over into how you interact with customer comments and questions. Create a reserve of canned responses for those FAQs—you’d be surprised how these responses can answer questions that you haven’t even planned for. It’s a good idea to have several canned responses for the same question for variety and to add that human touch, speaking of which …
Be Human or Not
Yes, your brand has a lot of comments to respond to. Take a deep breath and remember you’re armed with a script. But … you, as a social media community manager, can go off-script. If it’s part of your brand voice and tone, add an emoji when appropriate. Throw in an exclamation point! As a good brand, you have to have empathy for your consumers and show it. Be apologetic when necessary, offer to find a solution, and always be open to listening to each and every customer.
your brand can opt to go the chatbot route. This is a quick solution, but you’ll miss out on the human element that goes a long way in building your brand. Customers can tell when they’re interacting with a bot. Some chatbots are just an endless cycle of queries, further frustrating the customer. Behind the scenes, a human community manager can identify rising trends—such as a product doing well or dissatisfaction with a particular location—and relay that information quickly to internal teammates so those insights can become actionable. When it comes down to it, nothing beats good old-fashioned human interaction.
Customer Service With a 🙂
Customer service over social media means taking the time to do the research, planning, and organizing to anticipate what customers need and provide your community manager with the script and general guidance. At the end of the day, it is still up to a person to implement what a bot cannot do (yet?!?).