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Social Media: Your Most Important Customer Service Tool

Social media can be an extremely powerful tool when it comes to providing excellent customer service. In this week’s post, we’ll cover:

78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience (via Help Scout).

And yet, of these dissatisfied customers, only 4% of them will actually tell you what’s wrong.

Dissatisfied Customers
image from Help Scout

More stats? How about the fact that 3/5 Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.Better Service Experience

If you’re not catching my drift yet, we’re talking about the value of customer service.

It’s a make or break for current customers.

It’s a top priority for potential customers.

Whether you have a dedicated customer support team or only answer the occasional support email, you’re likely missing opportunities to support, engage, or re-engage customers.

The best part?

These opportunities are within reach for just about every business who has any social media presence.

One of the key goals for marketing is to make people who aren’t your customers wish they were. Customer support can have the same goals. And according to Gary Vaynerchuk, “Social media gives businesses the tools to [make people who aren’t your customers wish they were] for the first time in a scalable way.”

Like most businesses, you have a social media strategy in place. Social media strategy and advertising make up 20% of the $100 billion digital marketing industry.


While ad campaign how-to’s, growth hacks, and hidden AdWords secrets are more our style, we want to address the all-too-common practice of social media engagement as a B2C, one-way street, AND give you a few reasons why free, engaging, and open communication with consumers over social media can transform your business.

How to dominate social media customer service:

First, you’ll want to equip your social media marketing team with a few core skills of an effective customer service rep. For more on this, here are some great guides from Help Scout on building your customer support dream team & 75 facts, quotes, and stats.

  1. Be where your customers are. So, everywhere! If you’re spread thin, make sure you’re properly set up with push notifications to make sure you’re getting every request.
  2. Listen. Ask questions until you fully understand the problem. Do everything you can to answer their question succinctly or help troubleshoot until the issue is resolved.
  3. Track volume and create a hierarchy for prioritizing messages. Existing customers are far more valuable than potential customers, because you’re 60%-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer over a new prospect.


Facebook Customer Service

In a recent report, Forrester found that 87% of consumer’s messages are ignored by Facebook Page administrators.

In other words, 9/10 people who go out of their way to contact a business on Facebook get ignored.

If these people didn’t have a problem before, they do now.

Free from the formalities of email, contact us, and consumer survey mediums, social media messages can be aggressive, pointless, and sometimes completely absurd.

It should feel like your duty to respond to all requests, big and senile.

Here are some ways to do more customer support with less on Facebook.

1. Facebook now rewards the most responsive, engaging Page administrators.

Here’s a snapshot of our Page. As you can see, though we have responded to all messages and posts, we fall outside the “90% within 5 minutes” threshold needed for the  imagesVery responsive to messages badge.
facebook message responsiveness

AdHawk: images[Almost] Very responsive to messages

Just as Top Seller, 5-Star Driver, and Superhost badgers mark the most dependable and trustworthy Ebay sellers, Uber drivers, and Airbnb hosts respectively, this responsiveness badge clearly displays a passion for the customer and his/her needs.

AdHawk Protip: You can create saved responses to quickly address commonly occurring questions. Check out a step-by-step here.

2. Promoting the Human Element of Your Business

Preserving the human experience is one of our guiding heuristics here at AdHawk, so anything that allows us to engage on a one-on-one basis is essential to our business.

Social Media, especially Facebook, eliminates any communication funnel of web or phone, thus encouraging more users to interact.

These interactions allow a company to build relationships with the consumer to both answer questions and learn from the consumer herself.

* If you are going to use saved messages as suggested in #1, consider leaving space for personalization to hasten the process without destroying the human element. Facebook’s guide walks you through it nicely.

3. Direct engagement leads to increased spend, brand loyalty

It has been found that when companies engage and respond to a customer’s service inquiry over Social Media, the customer ends up spending 20% to 40% more.

The same report found that 45% of U.S. consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. Capeesh?

4. Leave a lasting impression with a gift

Even if you’re able to resolve customer support requests on Facebook or Twitter, the customer may leave a little stung by the experience.

This depends on your business both in terms of type and budget, but you may want to leave the conversation with them getting more value than they started with.

Once you’ve answered all their questions, ask nicely for their mailing address and tell them you’d like to send them a token of your appreciation. MailChimp does this very well, sending long support clients to a hidden merchant store where they can pick out free shirts and hats.

5. Here’s what Facebook Page Management level 1,289,945,100 looks like: MaxiPad


Twitter Customer Service

1. Increased brand mentions, awareness.

When consumers reach out over public Tweets, your customer service reputation is open for all to see. It is important to both respond, for fear of being labeled as unresponsive to consumer needs, and see that the problem ends in a positive resolution. With this, users and viewers are more likely to share an exemplary consumer service experience.

*Smart-Tip: Don’t just track @Mentions. Search your brand name, URLs, and relevant terms in Twitter search. You may have people praising or bashing you without getting a notification. Check out the Notify Slack Hack to keep track of this for you.

2. So good, you go viral

A common attribute of social media and various digital communication channels is the lack of humanity as mentioned above. By communicating in a personal, engaging way, customers are oftentimes amazed that there is a human on the other end.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Taco Bell’s Twitter PR squad via Imgur:

Dear Taco Bell, you are awesome.

3. Use Emojis and Gifs for Added Personalization

Although you will be engaging with users directly on Twitter, there are a few awesome ways to add a more personal touch to your messaging. Our favorite methods to add some creativity and a personal touch are:

  1. Emojis. Here are 20 of the best examples from top businesses
  2. Gifs. You can now add them directly from your Tweet text box

Obviously, we would be silly to discount the efficacy of paid advertising through social media; however, knowing the power of these massive consumer-driven social platforms on the PR side of the coin will add value off the charts in terms of its minimal investment and potentially massive returns.

Dealing with the Haters

Even if you run the most charitable organization in the world, you will inevitably be faced with haters and trolls. Let’s be real here – it’s the internet.

When faced with a public complaint, you can take the easy way out and simply ignore them. It’s not such a hot strategy if you’re actually trying to preserve your brand, though. In Jay Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters, he outlines exactly how to react to haters and how to create a brand that puts the customers first. Here are two key takeaways:

1. Having great customer service is a competitive advantage

According to Jay, 8% of customers believe companies provide adequate customer service. This is made evident by the fact that businesses spend $500 billion on marketing but only $9 billion on customer service. Having a direct relationship with your customers and taking the time to care for each complaint is a strategy that not many companies will not be able to emulate.

Now you might be wondering where to start. To simplify the process, Jay made this infographic called “the hatrix,” which helps visualize different forms of complaints (depending on the medium). It indicates which types of customers expect a reply the most, which ones effectively boost advocacy, and how detrimental ignoring a complaint can be to your brand.

Credit: Jay Baer


2. Respond no more than twice

Respond to every public complaint in a timely manner, but not more than twice. By responding twice, it indicates that you’ve made a genuine effort to resolve an issue. If the customer continues to complain profusely without acknowledging your effort to take the conversation offline, you’ve done your part and are on record. At that point, it’s time to move on.

Jay further suggests responding in a timely manner, which doesn’t necessarily mean responding instantly. Responding to a heated customer right away could result in you being dragged into an emotional situation, rather than a logical one. We all know how that could turn out!


Further read: Jay Baer’s 6 Step Playbook for Handling Social Media Complaints

Let’s chat!

Whew – that was a long post, but we hope you enjoyed it! Let us know about your latest customer success or horror stories in the comments below or tweet at us @AdHawk. We’re looking forward to hearing from ya!

About the Author

Marketing and Growth Director at AdHawk. Helping business find confidence and success online, one hefty article at a time.