Social media as a customer service tool

While social media is primarily considered a marketing tool – at least in the first instance, brands that are switched on to their audiences know that these platforms are so much more than that.
Emily Conradi
Senior Strategist & Copywriter

While social media is primarily considered a marketing tool – at least in the first instance, brands that are switched on to their audiences know that these platforms are so much more than that. Not only are they a great space to interact with customers and build communities but social media can also be your most powerful customer service tool.

In a world where ‘TikTok brain’ is rife – the term coined to describe people’s short attention spans and need for instant gratification – waiting ‘on hold’ to speak to a customer services advisor is, quite simply, archaic. The power of social media is such that if you’re willing to air your thoughts in public, you’re far more likely to get a response – and quickly.

In fact, many brands have dedicated teams whose sole job is to monitor and respond to social channels around-the-clock, 24/7. With mobile media consumption at its greatest, now, more than ever, it’s crucial to be supporting your customers via the channels they know and use.

With the number of social media users predicted to hit 5.85 billion by 2027 (DemandSage), and the average user frequenting six to seven different platforms every month, social media has become a convenient and accessible first point of call when customers want to contact a brand – and from personal experience, brands nearly always get back to you quicker than via email or other routes.

The easier it is for your customers to reach your support team, the more opportunities you have to turn a negative into a positive – and in the instances when this is done publicly, it can transform crisis management into a serious brand win.

If you’re looking to up your game and utilise your social channels for customer support, here are some important factors to consider:

1) Social media never stops

Social media is 24/7, so if you’re going to commit then you need to be consistent. Replying to ad hoc messages here and there isn’t enough – it’s all or nothing. And, unless you have an endless army of customer support staff, you’ll need to have a strategy in place. Set up monitoring streams to check for comments and tags, draft a list of FAQs and answers, and build a system that gets enquiries answered in a timely manner.

2) Know where and when

Hone in on where your customers are and when. Don’t risk spreading your resources too thinly. Instead, select which channels you’re going to monitor and do it well. Analytics will help you decipher what times your users are most active so you that can ramp up monitoring accordingly. Alternatively, set up an auto response to manage expectations and provide a timeframe for when they can expect to hear back from you.


3) Keep it personal

There’s nothing more annoying than receiving a ‘copy and paste’ answer in response to a query. While you might be time pressed, if you’re going to go to the effort to provide a personal response then make sure it is just that, personal. While it’s efficient to have drafted answers for certain topics, be sure to relay them in a human way, taking into account the individual’s situation. You don’t want them feeling like just another number.

4) Invest in tech

There are plenty of tools available to help manage your customer service through social. Freshdesk, Sprout Social and Hootsuite are just three of the well-known ones to look into. From monitoring relevant conversations, keeping track of customer support queries and offering AI-powered chatbots, each has its different capabilities and features. Do some research and find the right one to suit your business.

5) Don’t forget to listen

While responding and finding a solution is all well and good, don’t forget to feed back and address the route of the cause. Monitoring mentions and tracking trends enables you to highlight areas that need to be further addressed at company level. If you’re doing the hard graft, make sure you’re putting this intel to good use, pre-empting future issues and saving you time and resource in the long run.

Emily Conradi
Senior Strategist & Copywriter
Marketing, media and PR specialist with a background in retail, hospitality and publishing. Foodie, wordsmith, crafter and theatre enthusiast.