5 Rules of Engagement for Social Media Customer Service

As more and more companies get in the business of actively marketing on social media, they are exposing themselves to an entire new market of customers. Businesses are also getting involved with the loudest group of consumers in history, who are capable of directing their complaints right out in the open to said business. When new methods of consumer interaction are developed, businesses must develop new methods of customer service to go along with it.

The following are ways in which businesses can properly engage with their following when dealing with various types of customer service issues.

Monitor Your Pages and Respond Quickly

Customer service for social media does not follow the same hours as a traditional business. While businesses might have phone lines available for customer service from 9-5, people expect to be responded to much quicker on social media when they can reach out online at any hour. For this reason alone, you should have an individual or team monitoring your social media pages from the morning until late in the leaving. This way when someone reaches out with a question or issue, they can be helped immediately. You wouldn’t have someone wait hours on a phone for customer service so why should they have to wait on social media?

Engage With Negative Comments

A major mistake businesses make with social media is tuning out the negative comments just because they can. If businesses don’t want people to see what they have to say, they can quickly delete or hide the comment. This is understandable to do if people are using vulgar language and acting explosive, but when someone is upset and making a legitimate complaint about a product or service, it should be used as an opportunity to engage in damage control. Rather than just toss the complaint to the side, show your following and the customer that you truly care what they have to say and that you’d like to fix the situation in a reasonable way. This may just rebuild your relationship with the customer instead of losing them for not addressing the situation.


The Customer is Always Right…Even on Social

When a customer has an issue they are the only side who should be acting defensive. The customers are the ones with the problem and the company must accept responsibility for their problem, rather than try to deflect blame. Since social media customer service issues happen in front of an audience(on social platforms), the surefire way to lose credibility is to engage in a he said/she said Twitter war with a customer. Just listen to the complaint and concede defeat immediately. This is one case where there will always be victory in defeat.


Talk One on One in Direct Messages

Anytime a customer service issue or question on social is getting too personal, such as when contact information is required or the questions you need to ask are personal in nature, request that they direct message you to continue the conversation. It’ll make the customer more comfortable engaging in the conversation and prevent any damage that could incur if outsiders continue reading the conversation. It also shows other followers that the business engages in social media customer service and that they will take things to the next level (direct messages), when necessary.

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Move the Conversation Off of Social When Applicable

Whether to make a sale or to resolve a serious issue, there will likely be a moment when you should move the social conversation to a phone call or in-person meeting. It could come right away in the conversation, after some back and forth, or never. Every situation is different and as someone involved with customer service you simply must read when the time is right. Once it is the right time to move the conversation off social, ask for their phone number, or when they would like to meet in-person, in a direct message. While customer service shouldn’t be overly aggressive, this is the opportune moment for the business to go on the offense and ensure further communication off of social media.

These are just a few suggestions for your brand to follow while engaging in social media customer service. Have any stories on how you’ve effectively interacted with customer questions or issues on Facebook, Twitter, etc? Leave them in the comments below!