Customer support is more important than ever. Here’s how social media can help.

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There was once a time when customer support was delivered solely via phone, but as our lives have become increasingly interconnected and digital platforms have evolved, we have all collectively come to expect brands to provide an easily accessible omnichannel customer service experience.

Social media is an excellent way to deliver efficient customer support in a digital landscape where customers want fast responses to their questions and queries. Marketplaces are competitive and if your business fails to deliver the support your customers need in a timely manner, they are likely to turn to one of your competitors which can have a lasting impact on the reputation of your brand.

It is also important to remember that, in addition to enabling consumers to interact with their favourite brands in an entirely new way, social media also provides a forum where they can share their complaints or concerns when they are disappointed. The fact of the matter is that, whether you like it or not, your customers will turn to social media to share their experiences of your brand with other potential customers.

They will also use social channels to share their thoughts and feelings with you directly and although you cannot control what your customers say about your brand, there is no need to be concerned that social media will negatively impact your business provided that you understand how to respond to every piece of feedback with thought, care and respect.

Here are a few of our top tips to ensure that you are using your social channels to effectively and efficiently deliver the first-class customer support your audience expects from your brand.

Optimise your social presence

Your brand needs to be visible and once you have identified the social platforms your audience interacts with the most, you need to ensure that they are optimised with customer support in mind.

In practical terms, this means activating the tools your customers can use to contact you, turning on notifications so that you don’t miss opportunities for interaction, creating a brand hashtag that you use solely for customer queries, and utilising available tools to collect customer feedback from which you can learn and use to refine your strategic approach.

As different customers will have their own preferred way to communicate with brands, offering as many contact options as possible will encourage more people to engage with you directly and provide you with more opportunities to implement your robust customer support strategy to both welcome praise and address issues.

Utilise quick replies

Consumers often use social media to ask brands common questions about their services or products. If you find that your audience frequently uses direct messaging to ask you the same questions, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have a quick replies feature which allows you to efficiently deliver accurate information automatically without having to manually type the same replies over and over.

Create a separate feed for customer queries

It doesn’t matter whether your brand is large or small, it can be helpful to create a separate dedicated customer service channel to ensure that all customer enquiries remain in one place and you don’t accidentally overlook an important question or query.

Analysing analytics data for your customer service pages will provide you with a deeper insight regarding the specific platforms your audience typically use when they are looking for direct support. This will help you to identify the areas in which to invest the majority of your attention.

Moderation is key

It’s one thing to set up social platforms and encourage your customers to engage with your brand, but it is vital to ensure that someone is consistently monitoring the feedback and questions you are receiving and responding when appropriate.

Whether you opt to manage your social channels in-house or choose to hire a freelance moderator, ensure that your team has customer service knowledge and the experience to deliver meaningful support digitally.

Remain proactive and demonstrate empathy

Social media platforms are unique customer support channels because they can be used to provide assistance before your customer has to ask for it. If you come across a customer sharing a negative experience about your brand, taking a proactive approach looks like apologising for their experiences and actively taking steps to show empathy and make amends.

Sending gift certificates or discount codes can be excellent ways to apologise and further enhance your customer experience, but whichever approach you take here should feel both authentic to your brand and absolutely sincere.

Maintaining a strong social media presence will have many benefits for your business and if you are able to use your chosen platforms to provide robust customer service, the opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and take your business to the next level are too numerous to ignore.