A disappointed customer takes to social media to express their hellish experience returning a product — the inflexible refund/return policy and the endless ordeal of explaining the issue to one customer support agent after another.
These days it's impossible to not come across instances where customers vent their frustrations about a brand and its offerings on social media. There are roughly 5 billion social media users globally, and if brands aren't listening to customers online, it's bound to hurt them.
In fact, 40% of customers expect that brands will respond to their queries on social media within an hour. If you want to be in your customers’ good books, having a robust social media customer service plan is a must.
In this article, we’ll tell you why effective social media customer service matters for your business' reach, brand value and bottom line.
What is social media customer service?
Social media customer service is the practice of providing customer service and support through various social media platforms. It involves actively listening to customers, addressing their concerns and resolving issues promptly on social media.
By providing customer service on social media, businesses can drive customer engagement and respond promptly to inquiries. This level of engagement builds brand loyalty and enhances the overall customer experience. Here's how it works.
Real-time responsiveness: acknowledging customer queries or complaints promptly to demonstrate attentiveness and establish a positive brand image
Engagement: actively interacting with customers by liking or sharing their posts, initiating conversations and fostering a sense of community
Personalization: tailoring responses to customer inquiries by addressing them by name and providing relevant, personalized solutions
Transparency: being open and honest with customers, especially during times of service disruptions or product issues, to uphold brand credibility
Why social media is crucial for customer service today
Social media’s growth as a communication channel in recent years has forever changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Here are a few reasons why you should adopt social media to deliver exceptional customer service.
Wider reach: Social media serves as a global platform for your business to connect with audiences far and wide transcending geographical barriers.
Instantaneous communication: Unlike traditional channels, social channels enable real-time communication, allowing you to promptly respond to customer inquiries, while building a good rapport.
Brand visibility and reputation: Establishing a strong presence on social media platforms not only increases brand visibility but also allows your brand to showcase its commitment to customer satisfaction. Plus, positive experiences shared by customers on social media platforms significantly enhance your brand's reputation.
Valuable customer insights: Social platforms offer a treasure trove of customer insights. Analyzing customer feedback, complaints and sentiments helps you understand your customers better, leading to improved products and services.
With the vast number of social channels present, tracking customer queries, opinions and feedback can be burdensome for businesses. Platforms that leverage AI can help agents monitor multiple channels simultaneously and analyze customer queries at scale. This helps agents provide quick and effective solutions to those queries.
Success stories of effective social media customer service
Here are some instances where brands used social media customer service to their advantage.
Zappos — delivering happiness through social media
Zappos, the renowned online shoe and clothing retailer, is known for its exceptional customer service. Its commitment to going above and beyond customer expectations extends to its social media channels as well.
Zappos actively engages with customers on platforms like X, formerly Twitter and Facebook, promptly responding to inquiries, providing personalized recommendations and resolving issues.
Zappos’s social media team demonstrates a genuine and empathetic approach, making customers feel valued and cared for. Its dedication to delivering happiness through social media has helped it build a loyal fan following and a strong brand reputation.
JetBlue — going the extra mile on X, formerly Twitter
JetBlue, a leading airline in the country, has set a remarkable example of effective social media customer service. It has embraced X, formerly Twitter as a primary channel for customer support and engagement. Its social media team actively monitors the brand’s X, formerly Twitter feed, responding to customer inquiries and providing real-time assistance.
JetBlue has surprised customers with personalized responses and unexpected upgrades and even sent handwritten notes to express its gratitude, which has further cemented its reputation as one of the most customer-centric companies around.
Glossier — building a community through Instagram
Glossier, the famous cosmetics brand, has successfully leveraged Instagram to build a strong community and provide exceptional customer service. It actively engages with its followers, responding to comments, answering questions and even reposting user-generated content. Its social media posts have a friendly and approachable tone, making customers feel like they’re part of an inclusive community.
Glossier now has a powerful brand advocacy network, thanks to its satisfied customers who also double as the company's enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
Warby Parker — seamless omnichannel support
Warby Parker, the eyewear company, exemplifies effective social media customer service by seamlessly integrating its online and offline channels. It offers personalized assistance through social media platforms like X, formerly Twitter and Facebook, ensuring a consistent and convenient customer experience.
Customers can switch from social media interactions to in-store visits without any friction, resulting in high customer satisfaction and repeat business.
Lego – engaging 1:1 with customers
Lego has time and again demonstrated its creativity and responsiveness on social media. When a young boy lost his Lego Minifigure, he wrote to the company expressing his sadness. In a heartwarming response, the toy giant replied with a personalized letter and included a replacement Minifigure, along with a few surprise goodies.
This interaction went viral and showcased Lego's dedication to its customers, especially children who cherish its creations.
5 best practices for social media customer service
To master social media customer service, follow these best practices.
1. Strive for consistency
Establish consistent response times by ensuring all customer queries receive timely attention.
Use a social media management tool to organize and streamline your interactions. Such a tool will help you stay organized, track customer inquiries across channels and ensure a high level of responsiveness.
2. Train your team
Equip your customer service team — provide comprehensive training to your team members to enhance their skills and knowledge in handling social media interactions.
Focus on areas such as brand voice, customer empathy and problem-solving to ensure a unified approach to customer support.
Also Read: 10 customer service coaching tips
3. Monitor brand mentions
Monitor social media platforms for mentions of your brand. Regularly check for brand mentions to identify customer feedback, both positive and negative.
Address customer reviews and feedback promptly, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Responding professionally and proactively demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.
4. Leverage social media automation
Social media automation can help handle routine queries and tasks, freeing up your team's time to focus on complex issues that require human intervention. Implement automation tools to efficiently manage high volumes of customer inquiries while maintaining a personalized touch.
Customer Story: Telefônica Vivo Brasil scales customer service on social channels with Sprinklr AI
5. Maintain transparency and authenticity
Foster transparency in your communication with customers. Acknowledge mistakes if they occur and take ownership of any issues that arise.
Transparent communication builds trust and strengthens customer relationships.
Tips to create an effective strategy for social media customer service
Looking for a winning social media customer service strategy? Consider these easy and actionable tips:
Check where your customers are: Identify the platforms frequented by your customers. An effortless way to do this is to monitor the channels from which you receive most queries or mentions.
Set clear expectations: Let your customers know when the support team is available. While round-the-clock support is what bigger brands strive for, the option may not be viable for smaller businesses. Mention the working hours of your support team clearly in your bio. (Don't forget to mention the time zone!)
Use tools with sentiment analysis capability: In the age of AI, your social customer service team can be empowered with smart tools that not only track mentions but also detect customer sentiment and intent in social media posts. Use these tools to your advantage and help your agents fast-track urgent queries.
Harness channel deflection: Not all customer interactions on social media are pleasant. A long thread of exchanges between your agent and a miffed customer is a ticking PR time bomb. What's more, some queries may require the exchange of confidential information that's best restricted to secure platforms.
Empower your agents: Train your agents to take customer conversations to a different, more secure platform where the resolution can be delivered effectively. AI-powered tools also help with seamless channel deflections.
Maintain a uniform brand voice: To ace your social media customer service game, ensure that all your responses, posts and customer interactions have a consistent tone and style.
Social media customer service has become an indispensable tool for businesses that want to impress customers and build lasting relationships with their audience. By using the power of social media channels and implementing best practices, companies can not only resolve customer issues promptly but also gain valuable insights to improve their overall offerings.
Sprinklr offers a comprehensive social media customer service solution that allows you to converge more than 15 social media channels, ensuring you reach customers on their preferred platforms.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your customer service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Social media customer service is crucial for businesses because it allows businesses to provide convenient and immediate support to customers, enhance their brand reputation and build stronger customer relationships.