In this day and age, there’s no escaping the prevalence of social media.
Current statistics indicate that 4.62 billion people now use social media platforms – that equates to 58.4% of the world’s entire population.
Consequently, more and more businesses are using social media channels as a tool for marketing and customer engagement.
And as 80% of consumers now use social media to contact brands, it’s essential that all industries embrace this medium as a fundamental part of their customer service strategy.
Luckily, there’s a range of tools and technologies available to help contact centers succeed in the realm of social media customer support.
But which tools are the best for ensuring success?
And how can businesses and their contact centers fully reap the rewards of their social customer service efforts?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more. We’ll cover:
- The importance of social media customer service
- The best tools for social media customer support
- How to get the most out of social customer service
The importance of social media customer service
The rise of social media as a platform for customer engagement has granted it a crucial role in customer service.
In fact, around 70% of consumers have used social media for a customer service issue on at least one occasion.
With this statistic in mind, it’s highly likely that many of your customers will use their socials to contact your brand when they have a problem.
Therefore, it’s vital that you have social customer service channels available for them to turn to.
Take a look at the following areas in which the use of social media as an engagement channel can have a significant impact.
The demands of the modern consumer have shifted dramatically in recent years.
Customers are no longer content with the traditional contact channels of email and clunky phone systems.
Instead, they want the choice of various digital communication channels that are fast, effortless and convenient.
Case in point, 64% of consumers say they would prefer to message a business via social media rather than call them.
Having social media platforms available for your customers allows them to connect with your customer service team via their favorite channels.
It also enables a more personalized experience than writing an email to a faceless organization or waiting on hold in a phone queue.
This means a social media support strategy is essential for your organization - for keeping up with the times, and for providing the best possible customer experience.
Customer retention & brand loyalty
Interacting with customers via social media fosters lasting relationships by creating a sense of personal connection between them and your brand.
These stronger relationships boost brand loyalty and thereby improve customer retention.
In fact, statistics suggest that businesses with a well-crafted social customer service strategy can experience 92% customer retention.
Successful social media customer service can also increase brand advocacy through word of mouth.
How do we know? Well, research indicates that 71% of consumers who have a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to their friends and family.
So, by providing positive experiences and exceptional customer service via social media, you can improve customer satisfaction and keep them coming back for more.
An effective social media strategy isn’t just important for connecting with customers - it can also be a driving force for increased revenue.
By using social media to support customer service, businesses can gain up to 40% more revenue per customer.
It can also decrease the cost per customer contact by up to 83%.
This demonstrates that an optimal social customer service strategy can improve conversion rates and reduce costs, thus contributing to greater profit and business success.
Your brand’s presence on social media platforms is fundamental in establishing a positive public image.
After all, 54% of internet browsers use social media to research brands and products before they make a purchase.
This means that any negative customer opinions posted on your social media pages can be the difference between a successful conversion and an abandoned one.
By providing optimal social media customer care, you can ensure that you maintain a positive public image which will help you gain the trust of potential leads.
The best social media customer support tools
It’s clear that an effective social customer service strategy is essential in today’s market.
But in order to provide high-quality customer support via social channels, you need to implement the right tools to facilitate your customer service efforts.
Luckily, we’ve covered some of the best ones out there to help you get started.
1. Messaging apps
Messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, are the best place to start with social media customer service.
These apps allow customers to contact your business or contact center effortlessly, from their mobile devices, whenever it’s convenient for them to do so.
They can simply send a message to your support team and get on with their day, rather than wait around on hold or in a live chat queue.
This grants your customers the same ease and convenience of contact that they have when they’re messaging friends or family.
2. Live chat for social media platforms
When it comes to digital customer service, live chat is a must-have social media management tool.
It currently reigns as consumers’ favorite support channel, with a satisfaction rate of 73% (versus 61% for email support and 44% for phone).
Live chat is the ideal tool for social customer service because it provides real-time interactions with customer service team members via instant messaging.
It’s particularly useful for answering complex customer queries and for assisting virtual shoppers with purchases.
With Talkative technology, you can integrate live chat with all of your social messaging channels, including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and SMS.
What’s more, you’ll be able to handle all customer social media messages within one unified inbox.
One of the biggest challenges with social media customer service is that it can be difficult to scale in a contact center environment.
Especially if your customer service team has to constantly switch between multiple social apps.
Talkative’s live chat for social media rectifies this issue and allows your agents to effortlessly provide exceptional chat support through all of your customers’ favorite social apps.
Undoubtedly, live chat and messaging apps are fantastic tools for social media customer support.
But they rely on an agent being available to respond to customers - and this is not always possible.
There will be times when a customer reaches out while all your customer service agents are busy or outside of your operating hours.
And that’s where social media chatbots come in.
Customer service chatbots have the advantage of being available 24/7 to consistently provide instantaneous responses to all customer messages.
They’re especially useful for handling common problems and FAQs.
These simple queries can be quickly resolved by a chatbot alone, freeing up agents to help the customers who really need them.
Chatbots can also easily escalate more complex issues. That way, they can be addressed by a live agent once one is available.
With Talkative, you can deploy an AI-powered chatbot to assist customers via the most popular social media platforms including:
- Facebook Messenger
By doing this, you’ll up your social customer service game by offering automated yet premium service and ensuring that no customer message ever goes unanswered.
4. Data & analytics
If you want to optimize your social media customer service, it’s worth using social customer service software to track your performance data.
You should analyze key performance metrics, such as:
- Average response time
- Average resolution times
- Customer satisfaction scores
- First contact resolution rate
By measuring and monitoring your performance, you can ascertain the overall success and effectiveness of your social customer service strategy.
You’ll also be able to identify the areas in which you excel and those that need improvement.
How to get the most out of social customer service
Once you’ve got the best tools for social customer support, it’s crucial that you use social media strategically to ensure you make the most of them.
At the heart of your social media strategy should be the aim to provide exceptional service and positive customer experiences.
Here’s our top tips on how to do just that.
1. Gather customer feedback
You need to be sure you’re making efforts to learn what matters to your customers.
This can be achieved by encouraging engagement and feedback through surveys, polls, or comments on your social media pages.
You can use this information to explore customer perceptions of your brand.
You can also identify pain points in the customer journey. These should inform your strategy and shape your social media customer service goals.
Through this approach, you can continuously improve and elevate your customer experience.
2. Research your competitors
One great thing about the publicity of social media is that it allows you to see what your competitors are doing.
Through research, you can gain insight into their strategy and observe any new product updates or launches.
You can even read through comment threads to get a sense of how they interact with customers and the experiences they provide.
This will also reveal what their customers are saying about them and any areas of weakness.
This information can be utilized to shape and develop your own practices. You can even identify what they aren’t doing and use this to stand out from the crowd with a competitive edge.
3. Be where your customers are
The most successful brands are present and available across all social media channels.
As such, making sure your organization has a strong social presence will enable you to reach a wider audience and make it easier for customers to get in touch.
Customers will have more confidence in your brand if they can seek support through their preferred social channel too.
For the best results, be sure to provide consistent customer experiences across all platforms.
4. Provide fast responses
In this era of digital transformation, customers expect brands to be constantly online and available.
They want efficient customer service, and they want it fast.
In fact, 75% of consumers consider a quick response time to be the most important part of the customer experience.
Therefore, it’s critical that you always respond to customer social media messages, and that you do so as fast as possible to keep them happy.
Frustrated customers who haven’t received a reply are likely to take to the keyboard and leave a negative comment on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page.
This must be prevented at all costs - after all, no brand wants to be known for poor customer service.
5. Establish guidelines for your social customer service team
As with any customer support channel, it’s imperative that you have guidelines in place for social media channels to ensure your customers are getting the best service possible.
These should align with your brand narrative and values. They can cover things like:
- Answers to common queries
- Procedure for escalations
- Maximum response time for each platform
- Guidelines for style and tone of voice
Having these guidelines in place will boost efficiency and help you provide better customer experiences.
There’s no doubt that social media has become a vital customer support channel for all businesses and their contact centers.
With the right tools and strategy, you can use social platforms to provide excellent customer service that is fast and extremely convenient.
You can also enhance the customer experience, build brand loyalty and shape your public image.
But in order to truly make the most of your social channels and support tools, you need the right customer service software to facilitate them.
And that’s where Talkative comes in.
With our Consultative Service Platform, you can empower your business and contact center with the best tools and technology for optimized social media customer service.
Want to learn how? Book a demo today, and you'll discover how your brand can increase both sales and satisfaction with Talkative.