Published: February 26, 2014 | Comments
The success of your social customer service efforts will depend, as ever, on the quality of care you provide. In this way, social care is a mix of old hat and new ways to connect and build relationships with customers. A proliferation of best practices are emerging as companies dive in and learn by experience what works, as well as what doesn’t, and as important as best practices are, they often don’t go as far as addressing the specific ways each platform can be leveraged for customer service by businesses large and small, or why a tactic that’s successful on Twitter may be less effective on Facebook.
Here at Zendesk, we’re also braving the social care world and learning along the way. We talked with our social media marketing team, to our advocates, and took a look at what our customers are doing to provide social customer service, and came up with some tips to help optimize a brand’s Twitter profile or Facebook page for support (because research has made clear that Facebook and Twitter are leading the social pack in terms of where consumers are turning for help). The following are just a few of our tips.
Twitter is about brevity and efficiency, and there is a serious art to the tweet. The goal is to get champagne on a beer budget: tweets must convey necessary information within limited real estate (perhaps even a resolution), while upholding the brand’s tone and all the tenets of a good reply.
Learn the language. As a good first step, check out the official Twitter glossary or Mashable’s Guide to Twitter Lingo, as well as TekSocial’s Anatomy of a Tweet if you’re new to Twitter. Knowing the difference between RT and HT, for example, is the difference between manually retweeting content and giving someone a “hat tip” as acknowledgment for being the original source of retweeted content.
Search for indirect mentions of your brand. One of the best practices is that social care must be thorough and consistent, but how can you be sure you haven’t let a question slip through the cracks? The @ sign or hashtag (#) call attention to your brand, but don’t forget to search for indirect mentions of your company by configuring an advanced search (and saving the search so that it can be regularly accessed). Social media monitoring tools can also pick up these indirect mentions.
Set up a dedicated support handle. Larger companies, in particular, may benefit from giving customers a dedicated place to ask questions. Use the profile summary of a dedicated Twitter handle to post support hours and promote alternate support channels. It may also be useful to tweet active support hours at regular intervals if there are windows when Twitter is unmoderated.
Set a resolution threshold. To keep a single customer issue from clogging your feed, set a resolution threshold, where you attempt to resolve the issue in, say, three tweets or less. Figure out what the right number is for your brand and, if an issue exceeds this limit (or you expect it might), have a plan in place for transitioning the customer to another channel.
Consumers frequently engage with brands through Facebook, though perhaps less often for customer service than for marketing promotions. Still, if you have a large customer base on Facebook, why send them to another location when they have a question? The customer’s experience is better when access to help is easy.
Enable private messaging. Enable private messaging through your page’s admin panel to give customers an alternative to posting something sensitive or negative directly on your timeline. If you’re integrated with a customer service platform, private messages can be turned into tickets, but if not, you’ll still have an archive of your conversation with the customer.
Add a custom Support tab to your Facebook page. Brands that see a lot of customer engagement on Facebook might consider adding a Support tab to their Facebook page. By doing this, you can promote your self-service options by listing frequently asked questions, sending customers to community forums, or you can save your customers a step by linking directly to another channel of support (e.g., live chat) or allowing customers to complete a feedback form that routes to email support. It’s a flexible option with a wide range of use cases.
Read the comments. Valid or important support questions can easily be buried in the comments of a Facebook post, particularly for brands that see a high volume of social activity. Every post or response to a post includes an option to reply, and direct requests for help can appear out of context.
Regular monitoring of your company’s social media pages combined with savvy use of the sites can elevate your customer service efforts from acceptable to exceptional. The better your social care, the more social traffic you can expect. This is a good thing!
Want to learn more? Check out our tips sheets for providing great customer service on Facebook and Twitter.