On social media, community management overlaps with customer service like Pret overlaps with lunch.
Like Pret is your go-to lunch spot, social media is where your customers go to talk to you.
And the way you talk back influences the way they feel about your brand.
And the way they feel about your brand? That is everything.
So, how do you give great social media customer service?
1) Holistic listening:
Not every customer with a problem is going to search for your social media account, and then get in touch directly. They are too busy eating lunch. Complaining is a lot of admin. So a lot of people just vent in a tweet then forget it.
But you are practising the art of holistic listening. You carefully pick up every mention of your brand on every platform where your customers are, so you can put things right even when the customer hasn’t directly asked you to.
Tip: Only engage here if you have a quick, easy solution. The venting customer doesn’t want any extra admin to get their problem sorted.
2) Ask questions:
Social posts are short, and contrary to popular opinion there is a limit to what you can express in three emojis.
That’s why complaint tweets can be as hard to unpack as a haiku.
Forget trying to work it all out. Reply with a question:
The great thing about replying with a question is that it makes people feel listened to.
Someone great at customer service once said:
When we complain, we don’t just want things put right. We want to feel listened to.
3) Make it personal:
Most people have their first name in their profile. Simply click on their account to find it, then you can address them as 'Caroline' rather than 'cheezmonster365'.
Similarly, you want to sign off customer service responses with your first name, so you and the customer know who’s talking:
4) Be SASy:
Nobody wants a lengthy excuse about what went wrong.
Just apologise, explain the next action you or the customer must take, then sign off.
Sorry > Action > Sign off
5) The formality dial:
It’s social media. It’s informal. So your response needs to be human and in plain English. Deliver it in your brand’s tone of voice - it can even be funny.
The more serious the message, though, the more formal your response becomes.
6) Don’t be a copy-paste cowboy:
Some complaints drop in regularly (like you drop into Pret). Don’t just copy and paste the same old response every time. Put a twist on things, for your own sanity as well as the public’s.
Copy. Paste. You’re dealt with!
7) Track and check back:
Track each complaint or query, make sure it’s followed through, and check back to see that everything has been resolved. Simple.
Now, go out there and give great customer service.
And get yourself a sandwich, you deserve it.
Sonja Todd is a Copywriter and Community Manager at Cubaka.
Sonja is a digital and marketing freelancer who regularly steps in on copy and community management. She combines creative and technical skills to deliver results.