Sometimes when I'm scrolling through social media, I'll see a comment from someone asking a company where their order is.
Sometimes, if I'm on Twitter, I'll even see complaints and customer requests.
As social media has evolved, customer support has evolved with it. Now, customer support specialists aren't just talking on phones or answering emails. They're also responding to comments and posts on social media.
If you're on a customer service team, it's important to have a strategy in place for these kinds of comments or complaints.
Below, let's learn from HubSpot's customer support team on how to develop a customer service strategy for social media.
How to Develop a Service Strategy for Social Media
- Recognize that social media customer service will look different.
- Communication is key.
- Make sure to have a plan A, B, C, and D.
- Lead with empathy and understanding.
- Strive for growth.
- Acknowledge all of your customers, even the angry ones.
1. Recognize that social media customer service will look different.
If you're developing a customer service strategy for social media, it's important to remember that it looks a little different than your typical call center.
Emma Ogg, a senior customer support specialist at HubSpot, says, "Supporting customers on social media means the world is watching. The initial interaction will look a little different than if you were able to hop on a 1:1 chat or phone call, but the quality of the support should never be impacted by this factor."
So, what will you do differently? To start, you'll need to acknowledge the customer request publicly, but then invite that customer to continue a conversation in private.
Ogg says, "If you need to ask the customer for their email and account number over a tweet or in a public comment, be sure to offer them a location to privately message you that information and immediately ‘follow' them so they can do so. This acknowledges the customer request/question publicly and allows the support interaction to continue in a 1:1 location where you can get the necessary, private information that will likely be needed to investigate further or arrive at a resolution."
2. Communication is key.
Developing any customer service strategy relies on communication. However, this is especially true when you're working on social media.
Cristina Aiello, a senior customer support specialist at HubSpot, says, "It's important to have open dialogue and transparency so that both customers and team members alike feel included and part of a larger team. It's important that everyone feels like they are on the same page."
This is important because it acknowledges that everyone is on the same team. We all want the customer to be happy and feel understood and listened to. The relationship between your team and your customers shouldn't be a combative one, but a collaborative one.
3. Make sure to have a plan A, B, C, and D.
When you're working on social media customer support, it's essential to have several different plans in place for various requests. This is especially true if there's a critical situation.
Aiello advises, "Things can change at the drop of a hat, and sometimes that can create chaos. Always make sure to have more than one backup plan. Just because something broke and it was unexpected doesn't mean that you need to stay blindsided. Work with your team to have steps and plans for any occasion or situation. This will allow you to de-escalate different scenarios quickly."
Additionally, all of your plans should include clear and concise communication between your team and your customers.
4. Lead with empathy and understanding.
Customer support is all about empathy and understanding. Social media support is no different.
"Always try and meet your customers wherever they are. Whether they are experienced or it is their first day working with your company, work to understand where they are starting from and how you can best support them," Aiello recommends.
"Leading with empathy also reminds customers that there is another person on the other side of the computer. It can take a very cold and detached social interaction and transform it into a very human moment," she adds.
While it might feel hard to connect with your customers on social media, it's crucial for them to understand they're talking to another human being on the other side of the screen.
5. Strive for growth.
Social media strategies and tactics are always evolving. As a customer support specialist, it's important to recognize that your plans may need to change and evolve with the times.
"The strategies created and implemented today might not be relevant a year from now. Be open to grow, expand, and challenge your team to work outside of their comfort zone. Whatever the case may be, strive for growth," Aiello says.
For example, this might mean that your customer support team takes continued training on various social media platforms and new features as they roll out. If your team is always learning about social media, your strategy will be easier to develop.
6. Acknowledge all of your customers, even the angry ones.
Your customers are the most important people in your company. They are the ones that keep your company growing.
In general, you should always acknowledge your customers. But on social media, it's even more important.
"I know it can be daunting and difficult to respond to a customer that reached out quite upset. Don't shy away from these customers. Sometimes, these are the cases we learn the most from," Aiello says. "Engage with your angry customers, listen to them, ask them questions, and try to understand what their pain point is. Help them to understand that you are all on the same team and that ultimately their success is your success."
Creating a social media strategy for your support team is all about connecting and talking to your customers. If they're upset, empathize. If they need to address an issue, address it. Social media plays an important role in customer service, so it's important to have a plan in place for your responses.