In the past, contacting customer support only existed in its most basic forms: calling a hotline number for help or physically going to the company's store. Nowadays, we find ourselves in a time when asking questions is at our fingertips. The popular approach? Reaching out to brands via their social media channels.
Due to the fast-paced nature of these platforms, a help desk software that can seamlessly integrate into these channels is a “must” for keeping up with your customers. And, to meet your existing and potential customers where they usually are. In fact, a recent study found the average person spends over 2 hours each day on social media platforms.
It’s true - customer service has gone through remarkable transformations, especially on platforms that once were meant only for personal use. And for businesses, understanding how to better connect with customers through social media is a superpower on its own. While it’s challenging to be witty and stay true to your brand voice with limited characters, several big names from different fields are constantly fine-tuning their social strategy for years.
Listed below are seven powerful examples from top brands that can teach us all about providing great social media customer service.
Most of us see customer service as a one-way ticket to ride. Clients ask questions and support agents answer. While this method works on surface-level, brands who want to stand out from the rest need to deliver that little extra to be perceived as the hero.
By using social media monitoring tools, Starbucks social team were able to view a tweet from a customer who was in dire need of their signature Pink Drink. The brand stepped in and used one of the most powerful tools, empathy, to relate to the customer’s emotions. In return, the client praised the brand for “fueling” their mornings, as they are employed in the busy and hectic healthcare sector.
Here are three ways Starbucks was able to provide top-notch customer service on Twitter:
Monitor mentions. Brands use social media monitoring tools such as Hootsuite to do more than just keep track of customer praises. These platforms also provide valuable insight on how your business is perceived by the public. As illustrated in the tweet, make sure to follow through completely - never leave a customer hanging.
Be proactive and reactive. Take a look at the image above. The customer was not complaining about anything. All they wanted was a beverage from their favorite brand. As a business, it's not always about fixing a bad customer experience. Sometimes, it’s the complete opposite (amazing, right?) and this is where you get to step in and save the day.
Build and maintain relationships. Brands that have friendly, empathetic customer service are more likely to be recommended than those who engage in unfriendly exchanges with their followers. This is one of the key tools for building customer loyalty.
The truth is, Comcast is not exactly known for exceptional customer service. Back in 2008, the company went through a rough patch regarding their poor service. They had swept their support department under the rug to increase profits. With no surprise, that move backfired.
One way the brand rose from the ashes was to do a complete 360 on the way they hear out customers and deal with complaints. One thing they do well is giving attention to people that mention them on Twitter. Take this tweet where one client switched from one of Comcast’s competitors, as well as blatantly called them out. The company proceeded to thank them and welcome them into the “family.”
Be personal. Whether you’re a corporation with support teams around the world, or a startup headquartered in your parents’ basement, personalization is essential on social media. Of course, it’s just as important be it an email, live chat or on a call. Signed at the end of Comcast's tweet is “Sami.” Not only will it help your internal team know who handled what interaction, it gives customers a sense of the human touch.
Don’t overdo it. You may have heard of the KISS principle in your education days. This age-old acronym stands for “keep it simple, stupid.” Other variations include “keep it short and simple” or “keep it simple and straightforward.” This rule states that most things work best if they are kept simple, rather than complicated. With Twitter, it’s all about how well you get your message across within its limited character count. While some brands use the GIFs to reply, others use a simple straightforward approach - no sugar coating needed.
Wix, a leading website builder platform with 150 million worldwide, must provide exceptional customer service on social media. As a B2C (business-to-consumer) company, focused on clients creating their own sites from scratch, you can imagine how many questions are received on a daily basis. So much so, they built their own in-house help desk software to support their users the best way possible.
Have a dedicated customer service account. Having a separate channel or Twitter handle serves multiple purposes. First, it creates a division between your main channel which mainly promotes marketing efforts, customer stories, product updates etc. Second, a dedicated customer service page lets you focus on customer complaints under one roof. Wix opened their own Wix Help Twitter page devoted to answering customer support questions. Remember to add your customer service account to the main account. Chances are customers will look there first.
Guide customers in the right direct. The worst thing you can do is ignore a customer’s question on social media. For example, a customer may ask a specific question regarding your premium plans. Your social media team, or whoever is monitoring the channel, may have no idea how to answer. The important thing is to guide the customer in the right direction. In the tweet above, our team provided a direct email to contact our Billing team for additional support.
Think 24/7. In our digital era, today’s customers expect instant service at any time. In the tweet, the customer was surprised that we work on a Sunday. This is why having a powerful help desk software is a must for improving customer service response times.
Zappos is the name of the game when it comes to customer service. They’re so serious about it, it’s in their company’s mission statement. Take a look at their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn “About” sections:
Facebook: We're here for you 24/7. Post a comment, Tweet, chat, email or Call us at (800) 927-7671! Let Zappos Social Team WOW you!
Twitter: Zappos is our name and service is our game! #Zappos
LinkedIn: We've aligned the entire organization around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible. Internally, we call this our WOW philosophy. And, we believe that it’s our unique “fun and a little weird” culture that drives the WOW.
Surprise and delight. Mistakes happen for all businesses. It’s what you do to make it right. In the case of our Facebook post example, the customer received the wrong size shoe for her bachelorette party and contacted their support team. Not only did they send her the new size through overnight shipping, they added an additional “wedding survival kit” and personal note from an employee. We’re not saying you have to do this for every customer. But as the results show, going that extra-mile can lead to loyal and satisfied customers.
Use the right tools. Zappos is known for providing speedy support on social media (less than 20 minutes to be exact!). And that’s not to mention their 100% response rate. This is where customer support software plays a vital role in delivering answers fast. Not only does this software sync with your social channels, it creates a seamless, organized flow for you and your support team to manage.
Read my personal Zappos customer experience story.
Remember the last time your flight was delayed? Or you lost your luggage? With airlines, so many things can go wrong when you’re dependent on the weather or travelling for hours at a time. Many flyers turn to airlines’ social media account to vent their frustration, hoping for something in return. In this tweet, the customer was shocked to find there was no WiFi on their 3+ hour flight. To diffuse the situation, Southwest Airlines promised the client they’d soon be able to board a plane with WiFi.
Use the right tone. Some brands roast their followers publicly on social media channels, while others have a more down-to-earth approach. It’s important to note that when dealing with difficult customers, the way you come across in tone and voice can make a problem worse, or better. In the case of Southwest Airlines, each of their social interactions are personal, humble, informative and honest. Every tweet is written as if they were standing face-to-face with you.
Choose the right social media channel for fast solutions. In recent years, travellers have skipped the customer service hotlines and have turned to social media to get their pressing questions answered fast. If you compare a phone call to a tweet, it can actually be more effective, as the brand is able to send links to rebook a flight or send a direct link to collect your mileage points. In fact, according to a study by Conversocial, the average Southwest Airlines response time is six minutes. That’s a whole lot shorter than waiting at the airline counter, or waiting to be connected to a call center agent.
Remember when you used to buy cassettes or CDs and listen to them on repeat? Fast-forward to today’s technological era, where we are able to freely stream music online or offline via mobile devices, computers and SmartTVs.
One of the leading brands taking over how we consume music is Spotify. Not only are they good at what they do, their support is music to its customers’ ears. Heck, they even won a Webby Award for social media customer support.
Leverage your product or service on social media. Spotify customers who reach out to their dedicated Twitter handle @SpotifyCares, like in this tweet, will often receive a thematically appropriate song handpicked by their support team. Many brands do not have the opportunity to use their product on another platform, especially social media. As musician Roy Ayers once said: “The true beauty of music is that it connects people.”
Share knowledge. Think about this scenario: A customer asks a specific question on your Twitter account. You don’t know the answer. You then ping 10 colleagues from 5 different teams. The clock is ticking and after 20 minutes you’re still waiting for a final answer. This is where a knowledge base comes handy. A library filled with up-to-date content about your product or service. In the tweet above, Spotify has created a knowledge base article specifically for the question “Why can’t I find the music I’m looking for?” This is because Spotify, a company that supports millions of users, probably receives this question more than once a day.
If you think of the word “binge-watching,” Netflix probably jumps to mind. A company drastically changing the way we consume shows and movies. How? Instead of having to wait each week for your favorite TV show, Netflix releases series all at once. It’s the perfect recipe to stay in bed and have your eyes glued to your television.
While Netflix is known for providing affordable streaming prices, great recommendations and an abundance of content for all walks of life, their social media game is also one to watch.
Provide speedy support. There’s an expression that goes “the sooner the better,” and Netflix jumps on any opportunity it can to immediately solve customer issues on social media. Take this tweet, where the user’s problem was solved in less than ten minutes through a straightforward help center article. Fast support doesn’t mean you have to pull a rabbit out of a hat, though. Use smart tools such as a knowledge base or helpful blog articles to help out those users who need it.
Be transparent. No product or service is perfect, even Netflix. In the tweet, the customer was complaining about an error when connecting Netflix to a device. Some companies are embarrassed when problems are public, while others choose to deal with it in the best way possible. If you know you’re experiencing a critical bug that affects your customers, don’t hide it. Create a known issue article, for example, that explains the issue and allows people to be in the loop when it’s fixed. Without transparency, you lose trust.
While these top brand may also have higher budgets to train and build powerful support teams, the real investment to pay attention to is in your social strategy. In the end, social media is customer service. If you’re not actively present, you’ll risk falling behind and losing your clients to your competitors.
Ready to meet your customers where they usually are? Integrate your social channels with the best help desk software today!