7 Tips for Delightful Customer Service on Social Media

These days, pretty much everyone is on social media. 73% of Americans have a social network profile. There are many people who find social media to be the easiest way to contact a company or service. In 2013, more than 67% of respondents to a survey said they’d contacted a company through social media for support.

So, use social media! But always, and I mean always, be aware of what you’re posting for everyone to see.

Here are seven tips to help you make the most of your brand’s social media presence.

1. Respond to Your Customers Immediately

People are using social media because it’s designed to be a fast, two-way channel of communication. In fact, 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes. If your brand receives a lot of traffic on your social media accounts, it may be a good idea to set some guidelines to prioritize responses.

In fact, some companies, like Nike and Xbox, have set up separate Twitter accounts just for customer support. By doing this, these companies are encouraging their customers to reach out to them.

Xbox Support Customer Service Twitter Feed
Source: Twitter

Ignoring the customers who contact you through such a public medium can be devastating to your brand. Studies have shown that the customers companies engage with on social media can spend over 30% more than those who receive little to no engagement.

Don’t just use complaints or questions as a reason to engage with customers. You should interact with your audience regularly. It makes your brand seem more human and approachable for when your consumers have a concern or question. Plus, it gives you the extra opportunity to delight your customers!

2. Keep It Personal

No one wants to feel like they’ve been given a generic response to a question or concern. It makes the customer feel less important. Consider putting the person’s name in a response and be sure to use creative and different responses for each person.

As an added plus, have the response signed by the person who sent it. If you want to see a great example of a company who keeps it personal, check out Buffer’s Twitter replies.

Buffer Customer Service Personalized Twitter Replies
Source: Twitter

3. Empathize With the Customer

No, the customer is not always right. Anyone who has ever worked a customer service job will tell you that. But does it matter if they’re wrong? Nope. You are serving them, so even if you disagree with what the customer is saying, you still need to keep your cool.

We all make mistakes on social media. Even NASA. Sometimes, these mistakes go viral, like this company below. It was featured on the show Kitchen Nightmares and went viral for the way it responded to the negative comments about the owner’s behavior, ultimately causing the business to close.

Source: Facebook

You should never negatively address customers, especially online. It’s customer service 101. Customers want polite, fast, and convenient communication with businesses, and if they’re not happy, they’ll let the world know.

4. Don’t Always Auto-Respond

Sometimes, auto-responses work. Sometimes, they don’t

Auto-responses can defeat the purpose of social media being more personal. If customers are all getting the same response for their individual problems, then it makes it seem as though the company doesn’t care about each customer.

However, you can create different templates for the most common inquiries and issues. Just make sure they’re relevant. American Airlines, for example, probably shouldn’t have thanked a complaining customer for his support

American Airlines Bad Twitter Auto Response
Source: Spokal

5. Set Up Alerts

Customers aren’t always going to tag your brand in a post when they’re talking about you, so you need to make sure you’re tracking every remark. You can do this through Google Alerts, sites like Mention, or a simple Twitter search. This way, you can respond to a customer even if the message was not directly sent to you. Starbucks wasn’t tagged in the tweet below, but they still responded.

Starbucks Twitter Mention Alert Example
Source: Twitter

6. Stick to the Same Channel

If a customer is reaching out to you on Twitter, chances are they want the response that way, too. Even if it’s an angry comment or complaint, respond on social media and make the suggestion to move the conversation to a private message or phone call, such as what Bank of America does below (although the three hours they took to respond doesn’t follow other best practices).

Bank of America Social Media Response
Source: Facebook

7. Use Humor!

Humor on social media creates a sense of unity (though you don’t want to joke with an angry customer), because it’s a language everyone speaks. Plus, laughter is social. We laugh more around others than when we’re alone.

Humor can trigger an emotional response that will help the customer remember your brand better and associate it with positive feelings. Remember Kmart’s “I Shipped My Pants” commercials? Kmart isn’t exactly a thriving brand anymore, but people talked about those commercials for months.

Twitter is a great place to find brands interacting not only with customers, but also with each other. Because of Twitter’s short and witty environment, it’s often humorous.Taco Bell and Old Spice are great examples of this.

Taco Bell and Old Spice Twitter Humor
Source: Blue Soda Promo

Brands who aren’t afraid to use a bit of humor seem more human and approachable, which can help with customer service.

Need more convincing? Just go to Old Spice’s Twitter page and see for yourself. Their humor is consistent throughout every post, so they’re making their customers laugh even if it isn’t relevant to their products.

Old Spice Twitter Humor for Customer Delight
Source: Twitter

Embrace the Social Life

Overall, people who use social media are, well, naturally social and more likely to want to talk about their experience. Some active users can have hundreds or thousands of followers who would see a positive review about your brand. Plus, using social media makes following up with customers so easy, and then the whole world will know just how great your company or brand is for customers.