How to Excel at Customer Service on Social Media

Over the past decade, the smartphone has become a human appendage. The masses are zoned in on them all moments of the day, wondering what their friends are up to, what’s going on around the world, and/or checking out the absurd amount of views the latest Sophia Grace music video is racking up. Social media has transformed the relationship between brand and consumer. Brands are no longer on some unreachable pedestal. Today, the customer comes first. The little guy now has a voice that, if gone unacknowledged, can quickly become louder and more powerful than any brand no matter its prestige.

Online customer service has evolved from a cutting-edge concept to a practical business necessity. It’s no longer acceptable for brands to simply be present on social media; they must represent themselves professionally and mindfully at all times.

So, what does successful customer service look like in a social media setting?

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

Don’t half ass it.

Customers expect timely attention on social. Take a look at the response times an average customer expects when he or she engages with a brand via social. You should never ignore a customer, but you also don’t want to look like an amateur.

Don’t wait for them to come to you.

A great way to earn the appreciation of your customers is to proactively seek out problems. When a customer takes his or her complaints to social, they don’t always expect to be heard, but when a brand steps in, and expends all resources to alleviate the issue, the customer will appreciate the effort and respect your brand. You may even get some brand loyalty out of it. There are tools out there to help you find indirect mentions of your company. Use them.

Don’t fail to grow.

Social media trends come and go, quickly. Emojis are in. GIFs are hilarious. If you don’t grow with social, social will outgrow you. Period. Work to establish a customer service voice that isn’t repetitive. Customers appreciate engaging with a brand that talks, acts, and feels like a familiar friend.

Do prioritize your response times.

Have a customer whose kid doesn’t like the new flavor of Pop Tart? Bummer. Have a customer whose kid bit through a glass shard in the new flavor of Pop Tart? Possible lawsuit. Understand which conversations are time sensitive and put them first. If appropriate, move the conversation to direct messages for the the brand’s and the customer’s safety.

Do be a human.

Tread lightly when it comes to the voice of your brand on social. You don’t want it to sound robotic, redundant, or stale. Establish a human voice by encouraging your social media team to use their own writing style. A customer should know when they’re tweeting with Jack and when they’re tweeting with Jill. Give your customers a highly professional yet highly personal experience. Zappos is fantastic at this.

Social media is now a vital aspect of any brand, large or small. If your brand isn’t on social, it’s missing out on the ideal opportunity to help and engage with your target audience. Don’t be left in the cyber dust.