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How To Implement Social Customer Care: Tools And Tips

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Social Customer Care

Social Customer Care has gained a lot of prominence in the recent years with the ever increasing penetration of social media networks in the day-to-day life of people around the world. The first place people are heading to these days to get their queries resolved is social media.

They expect brands to reply to and resolve their queries quickly. Anything which is happening in the real life, offline, is being shared online almost in the real time. The services people are using, the products they are consuming, everything is being shared.And especially if their experience is bad, they will make a lot of noise online and complain about it.

And especially if their experience is bad, they will make a lot of noise online and complain about it. Because, it is a human nature to crib about our complaints, but we rarely speak if everything is fine. This makes it very important for brands to take their social customer care very seriously and handle customer care very effectively on different social media channels.

Using Social Media For Customer Service

As I have already mentioned that social media is the first place, people are heading towards, to get their issues resolved, so customer service has to jump on social media networks too.

The days of marketing department having a complete control over social media communication are gone. Now the customer care department is as much (or should be, if not yet, in your company) a part of social media communication as much as of the marketing department.

Especially, when the brand has to face the fire and the ire of angry customers, it is the professionally trained customer care representatives who can best handle such a crisis situation on social media; as they have an in-depth understanding of company’s products and know how to communicate effectively in such situation.

Plus, this gives an opportunity to the marketing department to focus on the branding and lead generation part on social media. This again does not mean that marketing and customer care departments have to work in silos, rather, this means that they have to work together, hands-in-glove which will generate the best results for their companies.

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How To Use Social Media For Customer Service

Here are ways to use social media for customer service:

  1. Identify Right Social Media Channels
    The right social media channels for your brand are those where your audience/customers are already active. Identify these channels, and create your accounts on these channels if you have not done so yet.If you have not created a social media plan yet, do so and actively create useful content and interact with your audience over there. This is the first step you need to take.Now if your customers have complaints and they are talking on these channels, you can at least resolve the same. If you not even present on these channels, how can you even reply, or even know that your customers have certain problems?
  2. Use Social Media Customer Service Tools
    Use specialized social media customer service tools to track your brand mentions, emergency and crisis situations (for example, your website being down; your customers needing an immediate help etc.). The premium tools in this category also help to prioritize more important set of queries over the others.

    I will share a detailed list of social media customer service tools in the next section. But just to give you an overview, there are three types of tools for social media customer service:

    • Free Basic Tools:
      These tools are for small businesses and often available free of cost. Example: HootSuite.Their functionality is limited and you can’t prioritize certain types of customer queries over the others (which is quite important, say in the case of crisis situation).
    • Paid Tools:
      They are further of two types: All-in-one enterprise solutions and Dedicated customer service solutions. I will share details and examples of both these types in the next section of this article.
  3. Be Proactive and Quick in Responses
    Before you post any content on social media, anticipate whether it can invite any criticism or inquiries or cross-questioning (for example, in those posts where you claim certain benefits/statistics about your product) by your customers? If yes, note down all the important factual information, which you can use later on to respond to their queries.Secondly, you need to respond to them within few minutes, rather than hours. If you do this well, it will create a wow factor for them.In some cases, doing this well can even turn negative experiences into a positive experience.For example, back in 2015, a customer of JetBlue Airways tweeted about the problem of static TV during his flight and they responded and made him happy within few minutes by giving him compensation for the hassles he faced! Here are embedded tweets  of the same conversation (an example of social customer care done right):

  4. Be Human in Responses
    These days, the trend of customer service bots has become hugely popular with almost all the brands jumping onto this bandwagon. For queries which are repetitive in nature or asking for certain factual information, bots can be used.For example, queries like “How many varieties of pizzas do you have?”, “How much time do you take to deliver pizza?” etc.A bot can reply to such queries but for more complicated queries, humans have to handle that.

    Social Customer Care

    WSJ’s Bot on Facebook Messenger

    As per Dan Gingiss, author of Winning at Social Customer Carebots still have ways to go! They are yet to advance enough to handle each and every query on their own. But rather they can help a full-time social media customer care representative handle queries in a better way. For instance, Dan says that while the bot can handle simple and repetitive queries as shared above, the customer care rep can focus on complex and real human interactions.So, have a mix of human and technological interaction, but make sure that your responses are intelligent and human in nature and not just filled up with technological jargon.Here’s an example of a bot of Wall Street Journal on Facebook Messenger. You can see the responses are automated and the bot is asking questions and giving options to choose from to continue the conversation:

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Social Media Customer Service Tools

As shared earlier, there are three types of social customer care tools:

    1. Free Basic Tools
      For small companies, free basic tools like Hootsuite, TweetDeck, or Buffer, as well as a tool like Google Trends, are good enough to see what people are talking about you.You can set hashtag and keyword searches in these tools for the same. And you can reply to customer queries directly in the above-mentioned tools except in Google Trends.
    2. All-in-One Enterprise Solutions
      For larger brands, All-in-One Enterprise Solutions can be a decent option. They come at a premium cost and provide both social media publishing and social media customer service within the same platform.Some of the popular all-in-one solutions are Adobe Social, Percolate, Sprinklr, Spredfast and Salesforce.

      Social Customer Care

      Adobe Social is one of the best All-in-one social customer care solution

    3. Dedicated Customer Service Solutions
      Larger brands can also opt for dedicated customer service solutions. They also come at a premium cost but provide social media customer service exclusively.Some of the popular dedicated customer service solutions are Conversocial, Lithium, Sparkcentral, and Brand Embassy. These tools are built from the call center agent’s point of view. So they are much better at prioritizing more important and crisis situation queries to be handled earlier than the other (based upon keywords filtration system).

If you are thinking about the choice between all-in-one enterprise solutions and the dedicated customer service solutions, it all depends on your needs and budget. If you are little tight on budget, all-in-one solutions are a better option but if you don’t have budget constraints then you can go for dedicated publishing and a dedicated customer service solutions because you get the best of both the worlds.

Conclusion

I am sure the information in this article will be helpful to you to implement or improve social customer care in your company or practice and also it will help you to choose the right tool for the same. Use of social media in customer service is only going to grow and become finer with better tools and technologies. With that, I would like to close this article. How are you doing social customer service in your company? Do share that in the comments section below.

Harman has executed a wide variety of Digital Marketing campaigns across different companies and marketing agencies in the last 8 years. After working full-time with different organizations, he is currently working as a freelance digital marketing consultant. His interests include reading books and taking a walk amidst greenery.
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  • There are 4 comments


    • 2 months ago

      Anindo Chatterjee   /   Reply

      Some tips are very helpful. Thanks.

      • 2 months ago

        Harmanjit Singh   /   Reply

        Thanks Anindo. Glad that you found this article helpful. You can connect with me on Twitter: @harmanjit

    • 2 months ago

      Taiwo   /   Reply

      Great info. Thanks

      • 2 months ago

        Harmanjit Singh   /   Reply

        Hi Taiwo, you are welcome and I’m glad that you found the information in this article useful.

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