5 Key Tips On Using Social Media For Customer Service

5 Key Tips On Using Social Media For Customer Service

Over the last few years we’ve become more and more accustomed to how much immediacy the internet, and social media, brings us.

It’s only been five years since the video rental chain Blockbuster ceased trading, yet visiting a video store to pick out the latest films, rather than immediately load up Netflix seems much more outdated.

The landscape for ecommerce has changed too, with Amazon shifting the notion of what constitutes a quick delivery timescale to make next day, or even same day, more of the norm.

When we start to get the things we want when we want, our expectation starts to drift into other aspects of our life and impatience can quickly start to set in when roadblocks are experienced.

Think about the last time you had to spend two hours on hold to your mobile phone provider when your bill unexpectedly shot up, or when you had to email back and forth to find out when your new trainers would be delivered.

Using Social Media For Customer Service

All these inconveniences seem minor in isolation, but it’s all part of the customer journey.  As a retailer, if you’re being marked down for poor service, you might never see that potential customer again let alone expect a repeat purchase.

Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

To quell the need for immediacy more customers are taking to social channels, Twitter in particular, to get quick answers to their queries from retailers and service providers without the hassle of having to trawl through complicated contact forms or rack up expensive phone calls.

If you don’t keep on top of your social mentions and keep your customers happy, it can lead to negative sentiment, poor reviews or even escalate into a bigger social media PR storm in rare but volatile circumstances.

Here are our top tips to help you make the most of social to keep your customers happy:

#1 Set expectations

While your customers might be able to send an email to you 24/7, it’s highly unlikely that your customer service team will be available outside of usual working hours.

To get around this, make it clear what days and time people can expect to receive a response in your bio.

You don’t want to be sharing sensitive data and order information publicly, so set the expectations early on about what can be discussed before taking it offline and discussing over the phone, email or DM.

#2 Don’t shy away

If you see a post slamming your delivery service or questioning your returns process, don’t ignore it as this is a golden opportunity to show you’re listening and willing to help.

If there is a complaint, there’s no need to go over the top and send out an over emotive PR blurb for a simple misunderstanding.

Apologise, offer a solution and fix it – particularly if it was as an error caused on your side.

#3 Monitor the conversation

Keeping in the loop is key to helping you stay in control of the conversation online.  Make sure you’re checking trending topics and searching your brand name and mentions for sentiment.

Set up hashtag or phrase searches on Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to see what people are talking about and jump in if you think you can offer assistance.

This is especially important if you have a more obscure username or handle.

#4 Keep a content calendar

While it’s good practice to plan ahead and automate your posts, you don’t want to fall foul of a poorly timed tweet which makes light of a serious breaking news story that is doing the rounds.

Monitor trends, current events and news and be ready to pause any post queues or promotions if you think your audience would find them in poor taste.

You can always reschedule after the dust has settled.

#5 Manage social media account access

Assigning roles ensure that your staff have all the account permissions they need to carry out their job, but don’t be too generous and assign full access if it’s not required.

Keep a record, a locked spreadsheet works, with who has access to your accounts, change passwords regularly, and draft up an exit policy for staff leaving the business to avoid any errant posts being sent.

Using Social Media For Customer Service


Above all, learn from your mistakes!

If you think you could have handled a query better, make sure to improve your processes and workflows for next time.

If you’re answering the same questions on a daily basis then signpost solutions to these on your website and reduce the burden on your frontline staff.

Struggling to find time to manage your social media channels? Or looking to drive value through paid social media ads? We can help.

Chris Munday