The way you interact with customers can truly make or break your business, whether it’s in person or online. The internet has provided another outlet to build your brand – your logo, tagline, products, etc. – that customers can engage with.
The increase in businesses' technological use has created a necessity for digital marketing. It has also provided a way for you to extend your customer support beyond a phone call. If you establish a social media presence, that will allow you to respond almost immediately to any customer questions or concerns. It's important to determine a social media strategy for how and when you will respond to customers, and what to do if you receive negative feedback. Your business's reputation rides heavily on how you interact with customers.
Facebook pages and Twitter accounts can be a great place to not only share content, but to make a platform where your customers and readers can feel comfortable reaching out to you (whether what they have to say is good or bad), knowing that they'll get a response.
Not sure where to start? These 10 companies do a great job of managing customer service on their social media accounts. Follow their lead, and you'll be rocking social media in no time.
To maintain your brand, you should keep your social media consistent. This way, customers can visit any social media platform and easily recognize your business. Since your customers use this channel to engage, it is crucial to post content that is relevant to them. On your social media channel, you can provide information relevant to customers, directing them to certain departments, staff members or webpages.
Shutterstock does a great job of sharing engaging and relevant posts on Twitter – especially photography – but the stock image company's social media presence is more than just a feed of clickable content. Shutterstock's social media team makes it a point to interact with others who share relevant content, and it handles both negative and positive feedback quickly and with grace (and even a sense of humor when appropriate).
Shutterstock also lets users know what department the company is sending their feedback to, so they know they're contributing to change. For example, in instances when users find mistakes in photos, Shutterstock's social media team responds and then passes the information on to the artists so the images can be fixed and resubmitted. The company has also been known to respond to users with amusing stock images, the way other Twitter users might share GIFs or memes.
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2. Social media monitoring
Monitoring hashtags (#businessnewsdaily) and mentions (@BNDarticles), you can track how often customers talk about your business and engage online. You can also search for relevant keywords, which allows you to track customer responses that are not tagged.
JetBlue understands how important it is not only to engage with happy customers, but to quickly problem-solve and respond to customers who are dissatisfied with their service. Sure, it's easy to share good feedback on your page, but a few wrong moves can do serious damage. JetBlue makes it a point to respond not just to customers who @mention them, but to customers who talk about the brand in general but didn't tag it in the post. This means that the company's social media team is likely tracking and monitoring keywords and relevant hashtags as well, so they can find and respond to more customers – a key strategy that every company should be using. [Related: How to Use Social Media for Customer Service]
3. Responding to customer feedback
Customers have the opportunity to tweet out their personal experiences with a company, leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram, and even send direct messages on any of the platforms. It's important to acknowledge every customer's feedback, whether it's positive or negative. You want to create an online community where customers feel valued and cared for. This is done by responding to the customer with information that either answers their questions and concerns or directs them to the person or place that can best serve them.
Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, reported that 42% of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes and 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. Responding as soon as possible will increase the chances of a positive customer experience. If a customer has a negative experience with a company, the word spreads quickly. A customer can post a bad review, recommend a competing company's products and services, and complain about the company on all social media platforms. So, it is crucial for you to respond in a respectful and timely manner.
Another challenge that comes with customer feedback is knowing whether a concern should be addressed publicly or privately. Some companies tweet or comment back to customers, while others use direct messages (DMs) to get in contact. According to brand agency FreshSparks, you should determine which posts should be considered a public matter and which require a private reply. The private reply could take the form of a DM, a phone call or an email.
When dealing with direct messages, you should respond to each one, even if it requires you to do some research or it's about how a customer now understands how to navigate your website. Even if your reply is as simple as "Thank you!" or "Glad we could help," it's important to keep your response rate high.
T-Mobile is known for engaging with customers across its social media platforms, and for having a pleasant and personable social presence. A 2012 study by social media insights company Socialbakers showed that T-Mobile responded to 86% of the questions it received on social media (over 2,500) over a three-month period. This means that T-Mobile makes it a point to respond to the majority of the customer inquiries it receives.
The mobile phone carrier is also known for taking advantage of its social media fan base when it comes to searching for new employees, taking T-Mobile's social presence far beyond simple customer service. Also, members of T-Mobile's social media team sign their Twitter replies with their names, letting customers know they're talking to a real person.
With more than 4 million followers on Twitter, to say Nike has a huge social following is an understatement. The company recognizes just how important customer service is, especially on social media, which is why it created a separate Twitter account just for responding to customer inquiries and issues: @NikeSupport. Nike Support is dedicated to all things customer service, making it easier for customers to reach out when they have a problem or question. Nike Support is very active and, like other companies with great social media customer service, quick to respond. If you look at the account's Twitter feed, you'll see replies every few minutes. This shows customers that they can trust Nike to provide them with the help they need when they need it.
As one of the leading music streaming services, Spotify is tasked with providing top-notch customer care. According to Dan Gingiss, chief experience officer of Winning Customer Experience, Spotify is "really protective of tone of voice," which is something it monitors often. Anyone interested in working in social media customer service for Spotify "must submit to multiple writing tests and have high quality scores from their email work before being considered."
Its Twitter support account, @SpotifyCares, has a timely response rate and updates its followers with information about common issues. It even has another account, @SpotifyStatus, that updates followers on the current status of Spotify. With these accounts, followers have multiple places to turn for assistance. Also a part of Spotify's customer care is what it calls its Random Acts of Kindness, which is when it surprises customers by sharing a song or playlist based on their individual music interests. Spotify aims to keep its customers happy, and what better way to do that than to share music they like?
Xbox may be all about gaming, but the company doesn't play around when it comes to its social media strategy. In fact, Xbox (which also has a separate Twitter account for customer service purposes, @XboxSupport) holds the Guinness World Record for most responsive brand on social media – yes, that's a thing now. Xbox's Twitter team really knows what they're doing. In the account's "about" section, Xbox clearly lists the hours during which the team is available to respond so that users know when they're more likely to get an answer. With nearly 2 million tweets sent out to date, there's no question that this brand takes pride in its quick and efficient response times. But just because Xbox Support is efficient doesn't mean it's not fun too. The Twitter team knows how to be friendly and helpful in tandem.
4. Customer engagement
Want more people talking about your business? Want to get more reviews? A great way to engage customers on social media is providing calls to actions, inviting them to provide feedback through online surveys, and even tweeting out discounts and promos.
Airlines are no stranger to customer complaints, so it may come as a surprise that AirAsia (and JetBlue) made this list. However, AirAsia's Facebook presence is outstanding, and the company goes the extra mile to reply to as many comments as it can – and, with close to 3 million likes, that's a lot to keep up with. AirAsia responds to customer inquiries with helpful links and advice, and it's always friendly and personable in its replies, whether it's the middle of the workday or the middle of the night. The company also runs a lot of fun promotions, like its Free Seats Challenge, which gives 12 winning customers a year's worth of free seats on flights.
If you're not already following Seamless on Twitter, you should change that right away. The popular online food service company has one of the best social media strategies out there. Seamless' Twitter account is fun, amusing and foodie-friendly, sharing everything from mouthwatering food photography to hilarious food puns and memes. The company also frequently shares discount codes on its feed.
Beyond that, Seamless has a stellar customer service strategy and is very quick to respond to complaints or website errors. Your lunch order is an hour late? Not to worry – tweeting at Seamless will almost always garner a response, and the company will help you figure out where your food is as soon as it can. Website down? The company's social media team lets all of Twitter know when it will be back up, or at least that they're working on it as fast as they can. If you have positive feedback to share, Seamless will also respond with a great sense of humor – it'll probably even follow you back.
Starbucks knows how to rock both Facebook and Twitter for customer service. The coffee giant is active and quick to respond to customer questions and complaints on its Facebook page, and it's engaging and fun with its customers on Twitter too. Starbucks knows when to bring the personality to its replies and when to hold back and be professional, showing customers that the brand is both personable and dynamic. Like Nike, Starbucks started a separate Twitter account called @MyStarbucksIdea as an additional way to engage with customers. This account, while less active than Starbucks' main Twitter account, is a place where customers can submit and discuss ideas to make Starbucks better.
Whole Foods' Twitter presence is truly one to admire. The company shares everything from healthy recipes to relevant news stories, and it hosts Twitter chats too. Even with nearly 4 million followers, the company manages to respond to Twitter users in a fast, fun and friendly manner. Whole Foods also knows how to get its followers talking about the brand on social media – it frequently sends out calls to action, asking Twitter users interesting questions or encouraging them to share recipes or pictures.
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan.