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In case you didn’t already know: social media is a big deal. This is particularly true for ecommerce companies that drive revenue through online sales.
Consumers spend a lot of time on social media — as of 2022, just over two hours per day. They use social channels to explore trends and products, shop, seek out customer service, and tell their friends about exciting new products and brands.
This creates a tremendous opportunity for companies that are intentional about using social media for marketing and beyond. In fact, using social media for customer support can not only generate additional sales while preventing churn or sales losses, it can also foster connections between early-stage customers and brands, reinforce brand affinity, and lay the foundation for a cycle of discovery, conversion, and long-term loyalty.
Let’s take a closer look at why brands need to be using social media for customer support.
Marketing vs. Customer Support on Social Media
Most companies are familiar with marketing over Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. And with ever-changing consumer preferences, new social platforms and features are constantly emerging. For example, TikTok, WhatsApp, Instagram Reels and Twitter Spaces are increasingly popular channels for both content discovery and online purchasing.
Social marketing is great, but only using these channels for marketing is a huge missed opportunity. Why? Although most businesses don’t think of social channels as customer engagement and support platforms, their customers do.
Shoppers expect customer support via social media.
Nearly 70% of consumers have reached out to customer service via social platforms at some point. And according to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service report, “Globally, 54% of respondents had a more favorable view of brands that responded to customer service questions or complaints on social media.”
The problem (and solution) are clear: Not only are customers using social media to contact brands when they have a question or problem, they expect those brands to be responsive. As Lindsay Patton-Carson, the social media supervisor at Evoke KYNE, noted: “If your brand has social media profiles, you are absolutely going to have to perform customer service on social media. There isn’t a way to get around it.”
Combining the power and potential of customer support and social media is an excellent way for support teams to level up. Why? Let’s recap:
How to Establish a Social Media Presence for Customer Support
1. Discover the best social media platforms for your support team
Most brands will have their marketing or dedicated social team running their social media accounts, usually across a combination of multiple platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, or Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, and so on. Start by discovering which social media platform(s) your brand is active on. Then, select the best-fitting social media platform(s) for your support team to be trained on.
For example, you may notice comments on your Facebook posts with questions regarding the product you’re promoting. In this case, you may want to give your support team access to your brand’s Facebook account.
2. Identify common areas of customer outreach on social media
Take stock of the types of customer outreach you receive over social media. Are your customers asking you about missing orders? Or perhaps they have questions regarding product sizing, ingredients, or dimensions?
Depending on the type of customer inquiries you’re receiving over social media, you may want to use that to create, update or improve your FAQ page, as well as offer other self-service options to shoppers.
3. Ensure the support team is trained and equipped to handle inquiries on social media
Once you know the most frequent or common types of questions or inquiries your support team will receive over social media, you can use this data to guide your team’s training.
One way to do this is to create templated responses for support agents to use when responding to customers. By using templates, you create a consistent tone and experience, no matter the platform the customer is coming from.
Using Instagram to Drive Customer Service-Attributed Revenue
Templated Responses for Social Media Support
One such offering from Gladly is Answers, a tool that allows support heroes to access a company’s expansive knowledge base in a matter of seconds – without ever having to leave the customer’s profile! (Answers can also be accessed via Channel, via language, and via brand, which comes in handy for multi-brand companies with support agents who work across multiple product lines.)
Consolidating Tools for Customer Support and Social Media
Social media channels have greatly improved the tools available to sellers over the years. Customer support technology, however, is way behind. If your customers are buying across multiple platforms and are reaching out to your customer support via social media messaging, how do you keep track of the interactions? Investing in the right tools should be a priority for support teams with customers who are active on social media.
The Struggle for Integrated Support
Many companies designate one team for phone service, one team for email resolutions, and a separate team for social media marketing. Unfortunately, this creates difficulties when the marketing posts receive comments from curious or dissatisfied customers.
In the past, tech integration has also presented challenges, and third-party software hasn’t always worked smoothly when applied to multiple social channels.
This means that too often, instead of utilizing the instant, friendly interactions that social networks provide, companies either ignore the feedback (yikes!), or comment with instructions to take the interaction off the platform. The problem with this is that “Call our customer service number” or “Reach out to this email address” frequently doesn’t elicit a response — and when it does, customers can be frustrated by the need to reach out on a different channel instead of from right where they already are.
Use One Tool for Happier Customers — And Happier Support Heroes
Many customers prefer to resolve their entire interaction on the social platform. Luckily, with the right tools, your support team can be prepared to make this possible.
As a company, look for integrated social media and customer support platforms. These tools will be intuitive and streamlined so that your customer service heroes can keep up with loyal customers no matter where they are.
Pro tip: Approach ticket-based social media support with caution. Every customer support team has seen this scenario unfold: something has gone seriously wrong for one of your customers. To get urgent help, they contact your team on as many channels as possible — including social media.
In this scenario, a ticket-based platform will generate a ticket for each customer outreach. Suddenly, your support team is handling 3, 4, 5, or more tickets rather than one conversation with one customer.
Explore a Ticket-Free, Customer-Centric Support Platform
It’s true: You can’t connect with customers using tickets.
That’s why Gladly is a people-centric customer support platform that combines all customer interactions into a single, lifetime conversation view between the customer and your support team. This all-channels-in-one approach not only improves the user experience, but it also improves the experience of support teams by simplifying and streamlining their work. Want to see what your customer service strategy could look like on Gladly?
Take a tour to see how Gladly works — all without tickets.