Two Tips to Instantly Improve Your Social Media Customer Service

2 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Social Media Customer Service

By: Alison Meineke

 If you’ve spent any time managing social media for your business, you’ll know your customer service game needs to be top notch. This is especially true as we start interacting with a younger and younger audience. Your consumers are not going to be forgiving about how many people are actually running your social team. They are only going to care (and share) about how they were treated on social media by you. So make every interaction count!

Don’t Ever Use “Copy-N-Paste” Responses

Please do not use carbon-copies of your responses on social media. That includes both private messaging and publicly. This is my biggest pet peeve as a both a Public Relations professional and a consumer. Why? If you’re not taking the time to put thought and personality into your brand, your customers are going to notice, and they may just post a screenshot to prove it. Here are some quick tips to keep it personalized: 

  • Always address them by their name. For example: “Hey there, Sally!” or “Thank you for your feedback, John.” Just as it’s a nice feeling when you meet an acquaintance who remembers your name, having a business do the same will give them that same feeling. 
  • Refer back to what they said, so they know you heard them. Example: “Hey, Sally! We understand you received the wrong package, and we would love to resolve that for you.” This is a much better message than: “Hey, we received your message! We’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks for reaching out!”
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. For example, if you know you won’t be able to get back to them in a business day say: “We will contact you within 2-3 business days on this matter.” Don’t use vague terms like “soon” or “in the near future”  when you don’t need to. It may be tempting to try to satisfy the customer in the moment with what they’d want to hear, but being as honest as you can with them will lead to a better, more satisfactory outcome for both parties.

Your messages don’t need to be long, and they don’t have to be drastically unique every time you respond. However, they should meet each customer’s needs and leave them feeling heard instead of disappointed. 

Stay Calm Before Carrying On

Like I said before, there are customers out there who forget there’s a real person behind the other screen. I’ve been privy to some nasty outbursts both publicly and privately on social media. It can feel demoralizing, especially after a long day of work or if their issue is out of your control. More often than not, most customers are looking to blow off steam, so showing you’re listening and willing to help is appreciated. However, there will be times when these types of comments or actions will get under your skin. Here’s how you handle it: 

  • Never ever handle negative feedback or complaints completely in the public eye. Address that you’ve heard them and ask to discuss more in private messaging or by a customer service email. You don’t want to be the one who continues to air out dirty laundry in front of an audience!
  • Take a breather! You don’t need to handle that feedback right this second. Getting up and walking away for a few minutes will help you get a clearer head on the best response. Just don’t let timely feedback take too long. 
  • If you’re feeling stuck, ask a coworker to help! You may need them to read the feedback for their interpretation or have them re-read your response to make sure it fits your business’s tone. You’re probably going to have to write a response, then rewrite it to get the tone and content just right.  

With the social media climate changing, like cancel culture are becoming more prominent, you’ll find more and more that the consumer is thinking harder and reading between the lines. Ask yourself this: Is your brand authentic? Are you incorporating and instilling the values of your business?

Act authentic! I grew up experiencing customer service as a consumer my entire life. I’ve understood as a customer how I would like to be spoken to and have my issues resolved. I have also seen and noted how certain wording and tones can make or break social interactions. It’s amazing to be acknowledged, even through a like on Facebook, through someone’s favorite store or business. Don’t underestimate the power this has!