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Why social media customer service is key for growing etailers

Social media customer service

Picture this: A customer is about to buy a product from your small online retail shop, but wants to understand your refund policy before checking out. They can’t seem to find the answer on your FAQ page, and you don’t have a support phone number or live chat feature on your site. So, where do they go next?

For many consumers, the answer is social media. In fact, 80% of consumers are now using social media to engage with brands. With this in mind, small and growing etailers can’t afford to leave social media out of their customer service strategy.

In this post, we’ll discuss why social media customer service is so important, how to incorporate it into your strategy, and how to measure the performance of your social media support.

Why etailers should prioritize social media customer service

The purpose of social media has shifted significantly over the past few years – it’s not just for viewing curated content anymore. Now, consumers are using it to discover new products or services, purchase items, and more recently, receive support.

According to a report by Conversocial, 54% of customers prefer customer service via social media and SMS. Additionally, 58% of consumers prefer to interact with brands on social rather than their storefronts. What these numbers tell us is that social media customer service is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a necessity. Here’s why it’s time to put more support effort into social.

Meet customers where they are

In 2022, customers want to communicate with support in any channel, at any time. But for many retail shoppers, social is their preferred channel.

Having a support solution like Wix Answers that integrates with Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, makes it easy to meet your customers where they are. And if you ever need to switch from social to a different channel during your interaction, you can seamlessly carry over the conversation without missing any context.

Foster brand loyalty

Customer loyalty matters for many reasons, but it’s especially important when you’re building your retail business online. Over half of customers said they were ‘very likely’ to become a repeat customer of a brand that answers their questions on social media. Having good social media customer service will not only encourage repeat purchases but will also help transform customers into brand advocates. Research by Convince and Convert found that answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%.

Decrease operational costs

Providing support over social isn’t just convenient for customers, it’s also cost effective for your company. Brandwatch found that handling customer service requests via social media channels is up to 12 times cheaper than handling the same requests by phone. Additionally, engaging in social media customer service requests can bring in 20-40% more revenue per customer, and reduce cost per contact as much as 83%.

Boost brand identity

As a small online business it can be hard to compete with larger, more established retailers. But, interacting with your customers on social can help your brand stand out. Since most social media interactions can be viewed publicly, the way you respond can have a significant impact on how your current and potential customers perceive your brand.

That’s why it’s important to make all your customer service conversations meaningful. It can be as simple as saying “thanks” for a praiseful review in your comment section or penning a humble apology to an angry user in your direct messages – any response is better for your brand identity than none.

Adapting your customer service strategy for social media

While you may already be sold on investing in social media customer service, setting a solid foundation for your social support can directly impact your long-term success. Let’s review some of the key steps you should take to effectively bring social media into your customer service strategy.

Run an audit of existing social media support interactions

For small etailers, an audit of your social accounts shouldn’t be too time-consuming. This audit should include all of your public social accounts and detail all of the ways customers are communicating with your brand. Additionally, make sure you’re using a search engine alert tool to monitor your brand keywords (including any frequent misspellings) to monitor how users are talking about your brand when you aren’t tagged.

Establish a workflow and process owner

Once you’ve identified the areas of your social presence that are most active among your followers, it’s time to document a process for managing your social media support.

One of the first and most important distinctions to make is when your social media or community manager will step in versus your customer support agents. For example, your community manager may have the bandwidth to respond to all of your positive Instagram comments, but your support agents likely have the expertise required to handle any disgruntled customers or direct messages.

Use this checklist to help map out the different tasks to include in your social media support workflow:

  • Reply to DMs

  • Reply to negative mentions

  • Reply to positive mentions

  • Reply to product or brand inquiries

  • Reply to user-generated content (UGC)

  • Monitor community platforms, like a private Facebook group

Leverage automation

As your business builds a bigger online presence, you’ll be faced with two options: Either increase your agent headcount or invest in automation. While hiring additional customer support agents may seem like the obvious choice to meet growing demand, it’s not always necessary.

With a customer service AI solution like Spotter, even the smallest support team can provide exemplary service to customers on social media. Spotter is an AI customer care manager that operates in the background 24/7, identifying support inefficiencies and acting on them in real time.

Spotter can follow up on unresolved tickets, auto-route tickets to the best-suited agent, provide personalized knowledge base article suggestions, and more. By leveraging automation, frequent social inquiries like “Where is my order?” (or WISMO) can be resolved without taking up any agent time.

Social media support best practices

Before you get started on your strategy, let’s review some best practices for social media support:

  • Know which social media sites your target audience is primarily spending their time on and focus your efforts there.

  • Meet users wherever they contact you first, but don’t be afraid to take it to DMs or a different support channel where you can better assist them.

  • Have agents sign off on public responses with their name or initials, it provides personalized service and lets users know who’s supporting them.

  • Consider creating a support-specific social media profile on your most active platforms to meet growing demand.

Measuring the success of your social support strategy

The most important part of any strategy is the followthrough, both in execution and regular evaluation of your performance. Once implemented, measure the success of your social media support strategy with these key metrics.

CSAT and NPS scores

Two of the most common customer experience metrics are customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS). The easiest way to measure these scores is through customer surveys. Wix Answers has a built-in CSAT tool that allows you to ask for feedback directly in your social channels, so customers can stay within their flow.

Average response time

Average response time measures how long it takes for your support team to respond to a ticket. When it comes to social media, customers expect somewhat speedy responses. Forty-two percent of social media users expect a response to a complaint within 60 minutes, and nearly one-third expect a response within half an hour. If you want to keep wait times down, you can have Spotter automatically notify a team lead when a social support ticket has been sitting unanswered for too long.

Average handling time

Average handling time (AHT) tracks how long an interaction takes, starting from when a customer reaches out to when the issue is resolved. AHT can have a significant impact on your CSAT scores, so it’s important to solve issues as quickly as possible. Having a support platform that houses all of your internal knowledge in one place can help with this. With information easily accessible, your agents don’t have to waste precious time sifting through documents to find answers.

Ready to kick off your social media customer service?

Social media customer service is a no-brainer for small etailers. As social commerce traffic continues to grow, these tactical changes to your support strategy can help you continue to scale successfully. Get in touch today to see how Answers can help improve your social media customer service.


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