Customer service expectations have changed. Not only do customers expect your brand to listen and solve problems fast, but they also want to communicate on a channel that's convenient for them.
The days when providing care on Facebook and Twitter was enough to keep your customers happy are far behind us. Today, more people are taking to Instagram to communicate with brands and obtain solutions to their problems. And, although 25 million businesses use Instagram for promotion, few have incorporated customer service into their Instagram strategy.
In this post, we'll explain why you should provide customer support on Instagram then look at different companies that have successfully leveraged this platform for social media customer service.
Instagram Customer Service
Instagram has over one billion monthly active users with 90% following at least one brand on the app. And, over 150 million people have a conversation with a business every month on Instagram. With engagement like this, it's no wonder that brands are promoting on this app as it's an ideal channel to reach a target audience.
But, like with any social media platform, you can't reap the marketing benefits of Instagram without investing in the customer service side as well. As soon as you start using Instagram for promotion you'll start receiving customer inquiries as a byproduct. Your followers will either have questions about your products or want to provide feedback about their experience.
When this happens, you don't have much choice but to respond and support their needs. Word travels fast on social media, and you don't want to be known as a brand that neglects its followers. This is where you should consider integrating customer service reps into your Instagram strategy so marketing personnel can focus on promotion, while service focuses on delight.
Many growing brands have realized the power of Instagram customer service and have perfected their approach to providing it. Let's take a look at a few of these businesses and highlight some lessons you can borrow to succeed on this platform.
8 Instagram Customer Service Examples
1. Mention customer service in your account bio. - AirFrance
Your bio section tells visitors about your company, products, views, and values. If you want to start using Instagram for customer service, it's important that you also include a way for people to contact you if they need support.
Since your Instagram bio is limited to 150 characters and one bio link, it can be difficult to tell everything about your business with a limited amount of space. However, it's important to save room to write about your customer support within the bio section.
Below are a few tips that will help you write about customer support when given this word limit:
- Make it clear you use Instagram for customer service. Write something like "We solve customer queries on Instagram."
- Use hashtags related to #customerservice in the bio.
- Give visitors several options on how to contact you--Direct Messages, comments, etc.
You can also include alternative ways to contact you for customer service. For instance, AirFrance uses Instagram messaging for customer service, but the company writes about other contact options in the bio section as well.
2. Offer a variety of direct contact options. - Talkable
When customers need assistance, they'll typically search for contact information on your website or use an email finder to get in touch with your company. Since this takes time and effort —which can turn customers off — you can provide direct ways to contact you through Instagram.
By using a variety of contact options in tandem, you offer better, more consistent customer service. With an Instagram business account, you can add your email, live chat, phone number, and even business address to your page.
Let's take a look at an example from Talkable. When visiting its account, it doesn't take much time or effort to tap on the "message" or "email" buttons to contact the company in-app.
3. Create a separate Instagram account for customer support. - Gnarcotic
Not all brands provide customer support on one business profile. If you're receiving a high volume of comments and direct messages from your followers, it can be daunting to keep track of what's being posted and who your team needs to respond to.
Thus, you can create a separate account for customer service, like how Gnarcotic did below.
Although the username speaks for itself, Gnarcotic uses the bio section to tell visitors about the company's customer service as well as actionable ways to contact their support team without exiting the app.
4. Reply to all comments and direct messages. - SPD Load
Customers crave two-way communication, and when people share their pain points with you, they want to be heard and feel valued.
If a customer communicates with you on Instagram — whether in the comments section or with a direct message — they want to establish a connection with your brand and start a conversation. If they don't get a reply, they lose interest in sharing their experiences.
Here's an example from SPD Load.
SPD Load always replies to comments, even if it's with an emoji.
It establishes a connection with followers and acknowledges their engagement. This encourages other visitors to voice their opinions, giving the brand an ample stream of customer feedback to analyze.
5. Address negative feedback immediately. - MADE
Handling negative comments is difficult. In fact, 49% of customer service professionals say dealing with upset customers is their biggest challenge.
However, when customers share negative experiences with you, they want to make your business better. You can't ignore these comments and you certainly can't hide from them, either. You need to confront them head on so customers know you're putting their needs first.
Let's take MADE, for example. This company has realized the importance of handling negative comments instead of ignoring them. It replies to all comments and tries to solve customer requests to increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Whether you choose to resolve the issue in the comments section or via direct message is up to you. While it's great to showcase your customer service skills on a public forum, some cases will require the exchange of sensitive information and will need a private channel to work on. Prepare your team for both scenarios and encourage followers to use a medium that will best support their needs.
6. Feature FAQs on Instagram Stories Highlights. - BaliBody
500 million people watch Instagram Stories daily and stories grow 15x faster than account feeds. Simply put, customers spend a considerable amount of time watching short-lived content.
For brands, this means providing visitors with answers without clogging the main feed up with content. Moreover, you now can keep all stories in one place which will help visitors and followers find relevant information with greater ease.
In 2017, Instagram introduced Stories Highlights, which is a feature that allows you to keep your stories active for more than 24 hours. With Instagram Stories Highlights, you can group and feature previously-shared stories on your profile, right below your bio section.
The image below shows how BaliBody uses Instagram Stories Highlights to group and feature FAQs.
Not only does Bali Body feature FAQs under its bio section, but it also divides them into several albums to help visitors learn more about certain products.
7. Monitor your brand mentions. - Walmart
When sharing customer experiences, not only do people want to help brands improve their products and services, but they also want to inform other customers who are browsing the same products. This makes Instagram a great source of truth for customers that are looking for honest feedback, especially when considering a new product or service.
In fact, everyday people share around 2.1 million negative brand mentions on social media and most of them go untagged. "Untagged" means you won't get a notification that the customer is talking about your company and you can miss out on important conversations about your brand. In fact, 96% of posts with untagged brand mentions get ignored by the company they're talking about.
Just take a look at this example below from Walmart.
Providing excellent customer service on Instagram means knowing what your customers are saying about your company even if they don't directly tag you in their posts. To do this, you'll need social media monitoring tools that track all your tagged and untagged brand mentions.
8. Stay proactive. - Made in Nature
If you want to keep your customers satisfied, it's important to proactively ask for feedback. Whether you communicate with individuals via direct messages or use the question sticker in Instagram Stories, there are plenty of ways you can use the platform to better understand your customers.
When you ask followers to share their thoughts without being prompted, you offer proactive customer support which improves customer satisfaction and increases customer retention.
For example, Made in Nature invites its Instagram followers to fill out a customer survey. To encourage customers to share their thoughts, the company gives them the chance to win branded freebies in exchange for their efforts.
Read on for some more ways to provide excellent customer service on Instagram.