social media customer service

Social media customer service: best practice for 2020

It may be a new decade, but what people see as excellent customer service remains the same.

Customers are looking for speedy and effective solutions to their problems. They want to be assured any problem they experienced was taken seriously and the business will try to improve. They also want to see brands appreciating their custom without having to be taken to task for getting something wrong first.

Social media remains one of the most efficient ways for brands to manage customer service issues, but there are always areas that brands need to pay close attention to. In 2020, brands need to ensure they do these five things to create the best customer service experience on social media.

Have the right coverage for the business. 

Some businesses may not need 24/7 customer service coverage on social media, but those that do operate outside standard business hours must provide adequate coverage on the social media customer service team.

For example, an airport will need social media specialists on hand 24/7 to monitor and respond to situations and questions. Whereas a garden centre may have less need for someone to reply at 2am. 

Gatwick Airport (a Social Element client) uses social media to spot problems and solve them quickly. All customers must have a great and consistent brand experience, no matter what day or time they’re using it.

Provide proactive customer service.

A good level of reactive customer service is a basic expectation these days, brands that really want to make a great impression need to also focus on proactive customer service on social media. 

Brands need to use social listening tools to see what people are posting about the brand – without tagging them – and respond in a way that makes the situation better so the customer doesn’t have to wait for a solution. Or the brand can contact a happy customer and surprise them with a gift.

Proactive customer service helps to show that the brand cares about customer experience, not just about protecting its reputation when something goes wrong.

Make good use of dark social. 

One of the advantages of customer service on social media is that other people often get to see how quickly and satisfactorily a brand resolves a customer service issue. Dark social removes this benefit, but it’s the best place to exchange the personal data needed to resolve an issue.

Dark social – private messaging on public apps or using private messaging apps to communicate – is growing in popularity as a way for brands to talk to their customers quickly and securely. Vitality health and life insurance found that it was able to respond 71% faster on WhatsApp than it could using other customer service functions. 

Consider using chatbots alongside traditional social media channels. 

Research has shown that one of customers’ biggest frustrations is the inability to get answers to simple questions. This is where chatbots can supplement customer service specialists. 

Customers can go to the brand’s website, app or Facebook page and get their questions answered promptly by a chatbot, leaving customer service agents free to focus on the more complicated queries and reducing wait times.

As chatbots continue to become more mainstream, we’ll see more brands start to use them to support their customer service teams.

Brands will need to navigate data and privacy.

For years now, big data has been hailed as the Holy Grail of customer service and experience, but in 2020 we’re likely to see people becoming more concerned with who has their data and what they’re doing with it. 

There’s a fine line to tread between providing a personalised service and being seen as invasive or creepy. SmartInsights research shows that 72% of people just engage with  marketing messages that are tailored to them, while 86% say that they’re worried about data privacy. 

When Oracle Retail asked people what made personalisation too creepy, one of the takeaways was when brands targeted them with information that they didn’t recall disclosing. Piecing together a person’s interests through data can be useful, but brands have to be careful not to alienate the customers they want to appeal to.

To read more about our take on social media and customer service, download our free whitepaper.

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