Whether a customer contacts you through email, phone, chat or a support ticket, they want a fast response. At that moment in time that's the only thing they desire.
Therefore, a speedy response time should always be your primary objective when establishing a support system. After that the customer is going to judge you on the quality of support. This ties into how knowledgeable you sound, if you resolve their problem on the first try and if you're accommodating to any problems they have encountered on your site.
Luckily, social media is perfectly setup as a customer service outlet. Think about it: You don't have to configure your own chat system through a website, and places like Facebook and Twitter are where your customers are hanging out most of the time anyway.
What Do Customers Really Want From Social Media Support?
Studies show that ecommerce customers actually care about the type of customer service they receive. They want to be treated like people, while also talking to people who are showing care for them in return.
Customers see social media as somewhat of a middle ground between chat and phone support. They don't necessarily expect an immediate response to a post or question, but they certainly want it fast. And that's a huge part of the equation. What else do you customers want from social media support?
- Honesty and care – Customers want to feel like they're being respected. This is where you can have a huge advantage over large companies with support techs who use scripts.
- A super fast response – Although customers quickly switch to wanting great support, your first order of business is to respond in a reasonable time.
- Assistance through the outlet they contacted you through – If the customers contacts you through Facebook, they're not looking for an email or phone call in return.
Understand Where Your Customers Are, Then Take it One By One
Choosing Facebook or Twitter as your primary social media support center may work out okay. However, it's prudent to complete some research beforehand to actually figure out where your customers are interacting online.
The first action to take is to browse the prospective social media outlets to see if anyone is talking about your business. If you're not a big enough brand yet, then you can look into your competitors and see exactly where they interact with fans.
Many ecommerce brands like to create multiple social media accounts to cover all bases. Unfortunately this usually leads to customers getting neglected since you're spread too thin among the many options. Once you establish a presence online your users expect to be able to contact you through there, and studies show 88 percent of your customers are less likely to recommend your brand to others when they don't get a response on social media.
Learn How to Effectively Respond to Messages with Speed
Whether you're utilizing Zendesk, Zoho, Sprout Social or Hootsuite, you must find a tool that allows for management of all your social media outlets. I once had a client that left all of its Twitter messages unanswered because they had linked up an old email account to Twitter. Therefore, they never received a notification when someone had a question.
I would assume that each one of those customers either completely forgot about the business or at least thought it strange they never received a response, neither of which are good to put in customer minds.
Since speed is key with social media customer support, selecting a multi-channel support tool comes into play for seeing all of the messages in one spot. Not only that, but you get a ping whenever someone has a message for you.
If Someone Gets Mad, Follow These Three Steps
- Address the problem.
- Apologize for the inconvenience.
- Find a way to resolve the problem.
It sounds simple to follow these steps when reading it. After all, we're all calm when someone isn't berating the company you've worked so hard to build. But occasionally you'll encounter people on Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets that seem like they're hell bent on letting the world know about your shortcomings.
Whether you think it's justified or not, follow the three step process. Don't try to explain or defend the company. Simply reply in a reasonable time period, apologize for the inconvenience, then figure out how you can resolve the problem with that particular customer.
Some resolutions include offering coupons or a complete refund. The good thing about this three-step process is that other reasonable customers get to see the interaction. If you look like the level-headed party attempting to make things right, everyone else is going to see your brand in a good light and write off the customer as either a regular customer who had their needs met or an unreasonable troll.
Although you can complete your social media support through places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even Instagram, the new Facebook Messenger app gives you a unique opportunity to engage customers with chat boxes, while also providing details for your products they might want to buy. After that, a link can be provided for the customer to checkout with a product directly from Facebook.
Social Media Examiner has a wonderful guide for getting all setup with Facebook Messenger. Shopify also has an app that instantly integrates with your store and configures the ultimate social media support platform.
Some Things You Should Never Do
- Never swear or get aggressive towards a customer.
- Don't engage a customer who clearly wants to get a rise out of you.
- Don't post comments or messages that are too long or confusing.
- Don't forget to respond to customers. You might as well not have social media if you can't respond on time.
- Don't get defensive about your company.
- Don't ever hide or delete comments that you feel are going to make your company look bad.
Using social media for customer service starts with finding where your customers interact, then responding promptly to messages, then using the right tools and knowing exactly how to resolve problems.
If you have any questions about ecommerce customer service through social media, let us know in the comments below.