Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 | 8 min read
Customer service is no longer limited to phone calls and in-store visits. Buyers can now follow up with companies in real time via social platforms, chat apps, and direct messages—all of which are accessible right in the palm of their hand.
Brands just have to be ready to respond. According to Convince and Convert, 42% of customers expect a response within an hour. And Twitter found that a customer’s willingness to pay can increase by nearly $20 if they receive a response in less than six minutes.
If businesses want to build loyal audiences and deliver positive experiences, they need to engage people where they’re already active online. They can start by learning from those who are already doing it right. Retail companies, in particular, set a high bar for delivering great customer service on social media.
Here are five winning customer service strategies they’re using, and what marketers can learn from them.
The Nike+ Run Club has over 16 million followers on Facebook—more than it has on other major social platforms like Twitter and Instagram. With this massive audience in one place, Nike took the opportunity to set up a Facebook Support app for its members. This app is also connected to Nike’s main Facebook Page, which has 27 million followers.
Through the Support app, Facebook users can browse FAQ, discuss products with the community, and ask their own questions in private or in public.
Take this post from one customer who needed help with his GPS tracker. A Nike representative offered a helpful response with instructions on how to reinstall the program, and a suggestion for the customer to follow up about his experience.
With this dedicated hub, Nike can remain accessible to its audience and easily keep track of conversations with its customers.
According to Twitter, 77% of consumers who had personalized interactions with a brand were likely to recommend that company to others. To personalize your discussions, start by including the customer’s name in your responses.
Bed Bath & Beyond does a great job at this. With this one tweet alone, the brand manages to convert a new customer:
This tactic is extremely effective and easy to implement, since many social media users include their names in their handles and profiles. By making this simple change, you can give your service a personalized touch, and help ensure that the customer feels valued and heard.
Zappos, the Amazon-owned shoe retailer, was born from a desire to offer better customer service. Founder Nick Swinmurn wanted to make buying shoes easier, so he set up a digital shop “with the goal to be the company that provides the absolute best service online.”
That commitment to customers shows through the company’s interactions on Twitter. While it’s easy to get caught up in responding to negative comments and doing damage control, Zappos representatives are sure to acknowledge each mention—including the positive ones.
Just look at this buyer’s tweet. She raves about the service she received over the phone, shares it with her followers, and receives a quick follow-up from the brand online.
This engagement pays off. Zappos Customer Loyalty Team Manager, Jeffrey Lewis, told Social Media Today: “When we provide a customer with a really great experience … they actually end up shopping with us more frequently and they end up spending more money with us on average.”
Social platforms frequently debut new tools that help brands and buyers connect. One of those tools is Instagram’s “contact” button. Launched in August 2016, this feature allows customers to message, call, or email a business directly from the app.
Retail companies were some of the first to try the new option. Here’s how the “contact” button looks on Nordstrom’s Instagram profile, for instance.
Image belongs to author
Garnier also jumped on board. As Digiday reported, Garnier’s brand representatives used to manually find comments from people who needed service, and then reply to them with their 1-800 number. With this button, however, Garnier customers are now able to access the call center right from the brand’s account.
Tools like this don’t just make it easier for customers to find the help they need; they also enable brands to drive and track leads from their most important social platforms.
We’re in the middle of a messaging app revolution. According to eMarketer, messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and WhatsApp were used by more than 1.4 billion people in 2016; more than one-quarter of the world’s population are expected to be using these apps by 2019.
To communicate with customers directly on messaging apps, brands have started to launch their own chatbots. H&M and Sephora, for instance, built custom chatbots on Kik. The bots ask customers a few questions to get an idea of what they’re looking for; they then send recommendations for suggested products. If customers want to purchase an item, they can just tap it to go to the brand’s retail site.
Image belongs to author
These chatbots aren’t just limited to messaging apps, either. Twitter recently launched two new features—welcome messages and quick replies—to help automate customer care on the platform. Companies like Pizza Hut, Spotify, and Airbnb have already jumped on board.
These automated solutions make it quicker for brands to help customers at scale. They also allow customers to get service with convenience, speed, and comfort. Since people don’t have to switch to another app or make a call, it’s easier for them to ask a question without interrupting their messaging experience.
If your customers are active on social media, you should be prepared to meet them there with a robust customer service strategy. Find out where they’re discussing your products, and make it as easy as possible for them to reach you.
To truly delight your audience with superb service, take advantage of new options like chatbots and contact buttons. Reply to positive comments as well as negative ones. And give people the tools they need to get help and feedback in an instant. With these tactics, you can deliver memorable experiences that leave customers coming back for more.