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Best Practices for Improving Customer Experience Through Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have evolved to become strong marketing, advertising, and customer service channels for businesses in every industry. Social media is typically one of the first channels customers go to when they are seeking advice or need to communicate with a brand. According to a J.D. Power survey, 67 percent of customers have used social media to resolve their customer service issues.

Improving your brand’s social media strategy can help take your customer experience to the next level. In fact, Ambassador found that 71 percent of customers who have a positive social media service experience with a brand are more likely to recommend it to others. Follow these tips to improve your customer experience through social media.

Be Present

Social media is constantly changing, and the rules are different for every brand. What works for one brand, might not work for another.

It’s important to be where your customers are. Some key findings for each social media site include:

  • Gen X and millennials are the most engaged audience on Facebook, according to Spredfast. Facebook also boasts the highest number of active users, with people engaging the most with the platform than any other social media site.
  • Over the past couple years, there has been a 2.5x increase in customer service conversations on Twitter, with the site reporting 80 percent of users mentioning a brand in a tweet.
  • Teenagers and millennials are most active on Instagram, according to Spredfast. More and more brands, like Nordstrom, Delta Air Lines, and Denny’s, are utilizing the site’s “contact” button to easily communicate with customers.
  • LinkedIn is a popular social network with Fortune 500 CEOs, per Spredfast, with the primary audience being B2B brands.
  • Pinterest’s audience generally trends female, with households with children ages five and under being the most active on site, according to Spredfast. Retail, automotive, and health care brands should give special focus to the messages customers leave on their pins.

Staying active on these different social media sites with new content and a high response rate will help improve your brand perception and customer experience.

Engage

Social media is a two-way street for customers and brands to communicate with one another, so it’s important for brands to hold up their end and interact with their audience. Conversocial found that 88 percent of consumers are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves questions unanswered on social media.

Generally, the same customer service tactics you train your associates on also apply to social media. A great social media response will:

  • Correctly identify the issue or problem
  • Provide links to additional information
  • Close the line of communication (even to a “thank you” comment or tweet)
  • Include a personal touch, such as including the customer’s and/or associate’s name
  • Maintain a consistent tone across all channels

Consider creating documentation or training your team on appropriate ways to communicate with customers via social media. Consider things like permissions and approvals for your associates before sending out messages.

Do Damage Control

While social media can be a great tool to improve the customer experience, it does open the door for criticism. The wrong messaging can generate serious backlash from your own social media posts, so it’s important for brands to have a crisis communications strategy in place.

In these unfortunate circumstances, it’s not about winning. A good crisis communications strategy will:

  • Acknowledge the issue. Ignoring negative feedback can decrease customer advocacy by as much as 50 percent.
  • Take responsibility when applicable. If your brand or one of your associate’s is at fault, own up to it and apologize.
  • Be empathetic in your response. Reponses that are worded in too much of a cold, “corporate” tone or simply direct customers to a press release will not be perceived as well.

A good rule of thumb for damage control, according to Hug Your Haters, is to limit your public responses to two posts.

Reduce Response Time

Whether it’s a rave review, query, or complaint, it’s important for brands to respond fast. It’s important to reduce response times on social media and train associates to provide quick and effective solutions to improve customer experience.

By fast, many customers expect companies to respond to social media mentions within one hour—even on nights and weekends. Social media monitoring tools can automate the process of searching for mentions of a brand name to help shorten response times.

Scale Responses

Keep in mind that you need to be able scale your social media interactions, meaning not every comment needs to be addressed. You’ll need to sift through the “noise” to find the top priority comments that require a response from an associate.

To automate the process, some brands find it useful to integrate customer service platforms within social media to turn posts, tweets, or direct or private messages into tickets. This allows brands to easily triage, track, and escalate issues behind the scenes, while responding to customers in the space where they contacted you.

Take It Offline

Not all issues can be resolved in a 280-character tweet. Take issues offline when a response would be too lengthy, there are too many back-and-forth replies, or sensitive personal data is required.

Rather than provide a phone number or email address for the customer to contact―starting the entire process back at square one―consider messaging your customers privately within the platform to continue the line of communication and quickly resolve the issue. After the issue is resolved offline, don’t forget to thank the customer for reaching out in the original, public thread to close the conversation.

Gain Customer Intel

It’s important to analyze the activity you’re generating on social media, so you understand the types of issues being raised by your customers. Consider how many comments appear to be written in response to exceptional and poor customer experiences, or how many comments are technical questions. This can help identify areas of opportunity to improve the customer experience and/or educate your customers.

You can also use the data to learn more about your customers, including their age and gender to hone your tone. Additionally, you can also see the days and times your followers are most active on social media. You can use this information to ensure that enough representatives are actively available during those peak social media hours.

Just keep in mind, storing any data that you collect from social media may need special considerations. Ensure that you’re complying with local, national, and international data protection regulations when associates are communicating with and storing data from customers.

Validate Customer Experiences

Simply having a social media presence is no longer enough. It’s important to ensure you’re delivering exceptional customer experience from the front desk to your Facebook timeline.

Customer experience evaluations offer the most objective way to validate your social media strategy. IntelliShop’s solutions include both in-person and online evaluations that assess social media, mobile, telephone, and everywhere else your customers are to provide a holistic picture of your customer experience, ensure consistency across your brand, and provide guidance for improving your customer experience strategy.

Contact IntelliShop today to request a quote and see how we can help your business improve your social media strategy.

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