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eCommerce Marketing

The Do's and Don'ts of Customer Service on Social Media

The Do's and Don'ts of Customer Service on Social Media

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

9 years ago

The Do's and Don'ts of Customer Service on Social Media

Increasingly social media is being used a vehicle for customers and businesses to communicate. Although in some ways it’s advantageous and valuable to use social media to have conversations with your customers, it seems that some communication is more beneficial than others. 

One often questioned aspect of customer and business interactions on social media is customer service. In fact 47% of customers in the U.S. prefer using social media for customer service over other methods. However, while customers may enjoy divulging their issues or questions about your company on Twitter or Facebook, as a merchant this many fill you with dread. So we are providing a list of the do’s and don’ts of customer service on social media so that you can do it with confidence and style. 

Do respond to complaints & compliments

Of course on social media you are going to get a mixture of complimentary comments, questions and queries and just people looking to grumble. Even if you’d rather ignore the bad and push up the good it’s essential that you make sure you respond to an assortment of all comments both good and bad. 

Responding to varying comments keeps customers assured that you are actually reading and enjoying comments from both sides. Also if you just continuously respond to just either positive or negative comments, it can become one sided giving an impression that you are either ignoring any possible complaints or being quite a downer by just responding to complaints. So mixing it up will make your customer service look particularly good and aware of your customers wants and needs. 

Address, Don’t Answer

Although some questions and complaints can be easily rectified for customers on social media it isn't always best to do this. Trying to explain and rectify a problem within a couple of sentences doesn't look particularly great within your social media feed and also could catch more attention to the post. Instead it’s best to address the customers issue with a simple answer thanking them for getting in touch. Then give them your email, contact details or the appropriate information to contact you so you can deal with it one to one, away from inquisitive eyes. 

Doing this avoids long drawn out back and forth's and extra queries that will fill your Facebook and Twitter feeds up. It will also help satisfy your customers better as they will feel you are giving them a special treatment and personalized service. 

Be honest & sincere 

Social media can be a scary place for merchants and marketers. Any misstep or dishonest sentence could be potentially twisted, altered and taken as a slight on the customer. Therefore when answering consumer queries and complaints it’s best to be honest and sincere. Don’t try to conceal or place blame elsewhere. Instead it’s advised to apologize and say exactly what you intend on doing.

In fact, being transparent about errors and mistakes on social media can make customers trust your company more as they see you recognize a problem and are willing to fix it.

Be Quick

Customers want to be answered fast! And we mean fast. One recent study has remarkable findings as it suggested that 25% of customers expect a response within an hour, 12% expect a response within 30 minutes and 9% expected a reply within 5 minutes. 

Although it seems like an impossibly small time period to anticipate a reply, it is what customers expect. Social media is all about instant connections so customers want and expect that from the stores they contact. So make quick replies a priority or else you could end up with further complaints.

Don’t Argue!

Most of the time a customer just wants to be helped and is gracious when you respond however, every once in a while a customer will come to vent. In this situation, no matter how much gruff and dislike they throw at you, it’s in imperative that you retain your social media cool.  

On a public platform, arguing and disagreeing with customers is too much a risk as your followers will view you as an unsympathetic and obnoxious brand that is careless about its customer’s complaints. So avoid being argumentative and defensive and retain that smile at all times.  

Don’t use a generic responses

On social media, it is important to consider your customers will see your previous interactions so it’s best not to have a standard response. This becomes tedious and uninspiring. Instead it’s best to approach each customer service query individually. Answering customers with a personal, tailored response means they see you have read and understood what they are asking rather than just tried to placate them with a generic response that makes customers feel like just another number in the crowd.

Monitor your brand

Although customers could have complaints about your store, this doesn't mean they will complain to you directly. Often customers will post comments about your company without directly messaging you. Therefore it is essential to be vigilant on social media. Monitoring what is being said can help you see problems with your store but also allows you to step in and offer customer service when it’s unexpected to remedy a problem and hopefully appease a customers in an unanticipated way. 

However, don’t over step your boundaries. It’s not always best to step in an interrupt customer conversations. Read the situation accordingly to avoid prying and unwanted interference .

And Remember… 

When dealing with social media customer service, don’t be afraid to ask are your customers satisfied. Continuously brands believe they are delivering what they think consumers want but are actually under-performing and not living up to what they expect. So ask your customers were they happy with their customer service experience on Facebook and Twitter so that you can deliver the best service you can and build a strong, reliable brand.


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