Companies are under growing pressure to provide top-notch social customer service since 40% of customers expect companies to reply within an hour of contact on social media, while ~80% anticipate a response within 24 hours.1
Customers aren’t just using social media to express their negative feelings about a brand or a product, rather social media is quickly becoming the go-to channel for customer service. Thus, digital-first, fast-growing tech companies can use social media channels by leveraging social customer service software to differentiate their service.
This article examines the benefits and features of social customer service for companies that pursue a servicing excellence framework to deliver end-to-end customer experience on social platforms.
What is social customer service?
Social customer service is the procedure of providing customer assistance via social media platforms, beginning with an issue or inquiry and ending with a resolution. It entails actively listening to customers, resolving their problems, and rapidly addressing customer requests using social media.
4 benefits of social customer service
The way businesses connect with their clients has been transformed by social media. It has a significant potential to improve the customer experience and establish solid, long-term partnerships. Businesses may harness thousands of daily users across different social media networks to offer personalized service, robust communication, and a strong brand image.
Figure: JetBlue Airways responding to a customer queries
Even when JetBlue couldn’t solve the issue and provide the customer specifically what was asked for, they sent a direct message to discuss other alternative solutions related to the customer’s concern.
Some of the key benefits of social customer service are listed below:
1- Quick response time
Source: Sprout Social3
~35% of consumers will stop using a brand due to ineffective customer service.4Customers expect the brand to show up quickly. Having a quick response time in customer service has become a critical measure that companies must monitor and manage as failing to maintain robust service may lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction.
Social media services enable customer support teams to reply to requests effectively in real-time, increasing the response time ratio and satisfying customer expectations.
Companies can improve their social media response time by:
- Integrating social communications into a single platform (i.e., by using CRM software)
- Answering frequent customer complaints with canned responses.
- Directing clients to the appropriate support channels with automation.
- Leveraging chatbots to assist agents in routing queries
- Prioritizing mentions on social media by leveraging social media sentiment analysis.
2- Powerful brand awareness
Companies can increase brand awareness by building trustworthiness, transparency, and long-lasting impressions on customers, which may lead to higher client acquisition and retention.
Social customer service makes it easier than ever for customers to communicate with companies directly in a more genuine and valuable way. When companies offer social customer service, they can interact with a larger audience, increasing brand awareness and reaching new customers, which may enhance the degree to which buyers can recognize a certain brand.
Brand awareness on social media can be measured by:
- Brand surveys
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Website traffic analytics
- Social monitoring and listening
- Social media analytics
3- Strong customer loyalty
Businesses may use social media to display their products and services, emphasize their distinctive characteristics and advantages, and engage with consumers in a more personal manner, resulting in improved satisfaction and brand loyalty. Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty can result in a more secure audience, making social media a crucial tool for organizations.
4- Higher revenue
Source: McKinsey & Company7
Organizations can achieve an increase in sales by immediately addressing any concerns on social customer service channels and ensuring that customers are handled with respect. Customers who receive positive social customer service may become brand advocates and help companies expand their scope while increasing revenues over time.
Social media customer service features
1- Social media automation
Automation in social media customer service is the method of enhancing social connections through the use of automated technologies. This might involve things like pre-planning social media updates or republishing popular content.
Automating social media posting, engagement, and administration can help reduce the hours spent on managing and expanding brand accounts.
Social media automation can help:
- Post during high audience engagement periods: Post when your target audience is most engaged on social media to maximize your reach. For example, automated configurations can send out tweets when the response rate of your audience is at its peak level.
- Maintain a consistent posting schedule: Brands lacking an internal social media staff may struggle to publish social media posts or comment regularly. With social media automation, users may submit a content calendar to have a steady queue by setting publication dates days, weeks, or months in advance.
- Conduct social data analysis: Automated social customer service technologies evaluate data in real time and report critical metrics such as activity, impressions, conversion, and reach. Certain apps will also send personalized information to your shared mailbox on the timetable you specify.
- Configure customer responses automatically: Social media customer feedback automation can respond to queries or comments from customers by using customer service chatbots.
Figure: Automated social media publishing, schedules, and reports.
Source: Sprout Social8
A customer service chatbot is a conversational commerce platform that offers customer support through voice and text commands, or both. Chatbots are used by brands on their online channels and social media platforms such as Facebook and X DMs.
Chatbots and other self-service tools enable consumers to fix issues on their own time, allowing agents to concentrate on more complicated support requirements.
Customer service chatbots are classified into two types:
- AI chatbot: Utilize AI technologies such as machine learning to improve replies over time with natural language processing (NLP) to efficiently process user inquiries and correlate them to unique intentions in a more natural, open-ended manner.
For example, an AI chatbot serving on social channels can answer user questions such as “What’s the arrival date of my New Balance 505 brown sneaker purchase?” —the chatbot, correctly interpreting the question, says it will arrive tomorrow before 4 p.m.
- Virtual agent: Virtual agents are a component of an AI chatbot that can self-improve over time by frequently combining conversational AI and deep learning technologies with robotic process automation (RPA) in a single interface that responds directly to the user’s intent.
If an issue arises during the order management process, the virtual agent can not only anticipate the delivery date but also recommend to the customer the quickest action to take.
For more on chatbots, please read our data-driven and transparent article on chatbots and intelligent virtual assistants.
3- Social media feedback
Social media is an effective channel for gathering useful customer feedback. With millions of customers currently participating in various social media groups throughout the world, organizations can develop profiles that offer customer service requests through their company.
Social media feedback features help businesses:
- Leveraging social monitoring and social media analytics
- Gathering product feedback while scheduling online surveys
- Organizing marketing research surveys
- Conduct sentiment analysis on user feedback
Figure: Domino’s Pizza replies to customer feedback on X.
Domino’s social service team was able to observe customer messages posted by a dissatisfied consumer who thought she’d had her pizza with no toppings. The brand utilized empathy as a response to connect with the customer’s sentiment and further asked for information to investigate the situation in detail.
4- Social Media monitoring & listening
Social media monitoring and listening are used interchangeably; however, there is a distinction between them: While monitoring tells you what, listening tells you why.
Social media monitoring: A method of evaluating and responding to social interactions such as relevant mentions, posts, feedback, hashtags, and keywords connected to your brand. Social monitoring is the first step in fueling customer connections, assisting companies in finding topics in which they may engage.
With social media monitoring, companies can:
- Monitor their brand name.
- Mentions about their competitors.
- Hashtags or keywords created by customers maintain a specific discussion or search for a product or service.
Figure: Havaianas Europe customer using hashtags to share her experience and social media customer service team relying on the tweet and sending a DM.
Social media listening: A method for analyzing your audience and optimizing your advertising approach by having access to the whole spectrum of conversation surrounding your industry, company, and any themes related to your brand.
For example, examining your business’s hashtags on Instagram over a set period and uncovering commonly used keywords may help you measure sentiment and comprehend what consumers feel about your campaigns or brand. All of this is feasible by simply listening to what is being stated in conjunction with your brand mentions.
5- Internal knowledge base
A knowledge base is a self-service repository that contains information on a product, service, or concept to assist customers in finding explanations and solving issues on their own without assistance.
Users can browse for a specific issue or filter by common content on social media networks to discover new topics (e.g., “deployment types”, “agent scripts”, “tutorials,” “maintenance documentation”).
Figure: Apple Support shares a tutorial about how to leave a message using FaceTime on X.
6- Shared inbox
A shared mailbox is a feature that offers multi-platform compatibility in which numerous users can view and forward email messages. Shared mailboxes can also serve as a shared calendar, allowing several users to book and see vacations or work assignments.
With a shared mailbox, businesses can use several social media sites and service channels through a single interface, enabling users to access customizable communication history, filtering, and tag on real-time customer or agent interactions.
7- Canned responses
Canned responses are pre-written statements that can be used by support teams while responding to customers. With canned responses rather than starting from scratch for each customer inquiry, customer service reps can use email themes to solve specific problems, such as sending an email like “Thank you, your product has been shipped!” to a customer who has made a purchase.
Why is social customer service important?
Excellent customer service is vital for both customers and brands; however, physically replying to every post is not feasible, particularly if your business has thousands of customers.
Enabling a social customer service strategy in your organization to manage multiple social media accounts may help to:
- Increase customer engagement: Social media allows for immediate assistance and compensates customers for appreciating your products and services. You may also interact and reply to customer feedback quickly, increasing consumer engagement.
- Create customer connections: Your social media profile helps you improve brand recognition and allows your consumers to gain insight into your business. If you continuously offer quality content on social platforms, customers can readily obtain crucial information about your products or services and receive answers to any queries they might have.
- Customize service: You may use social media to tailor your interactions with each consumer based on their specific needs. You may gather insights on your customers’ preferences and provide specific services, and launch promotions on personalized websites or apps that correspond to their interests.
- Receive precise customer feedback: Consumers share their impressions with your business freely, allowing organizations to see if someone likes or comments on their social media postings.
Where do social media users make purchases?
Social media has evolved into an online marketplace where users can connect with others, companies, and influencers while shopping.
Customers intend to buy on the apps with which they are most familiar. Gen Z buyers are especially thrilled about visually appealing platforms such as Instagram or TikTok, while Gen Y and X intend to increase their spending on Pinterest or WhatsApp, and Baby Boomers are hoping to find their next item on Facebook (See the table below).
Figure: Social platform where users make purchases in 2022
Source: Sprout Social13
Read our transparent, up-to-date articles to learn more about social customer service alternatives and customer engagement automation.
- Social Customer Service Software: Top 10 Vendors
- Top 5 Tools for Customer Engagement Automation
- Top 4 Zoho Desk Alternatives for Customer Service
- Top 5 Intercom Alternatives for Customer Service
For more on customer service, check out our data-driven list of customer experience software.
Contact us to find out more about social customer service:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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