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How to Turn Social Media into a Powerful Customer Service Tool

How to Turn Social Media into a Powerful Customer Service Tool

The quality of customer service your brand offers on social media can make a huge difference to customer sentiment and loyalty. Find out how on our blog.

Social media plays a significant role in customer service. Whether a customer is raving about your new product, or raging about poor service, they’re most likely to do it on social media. And since social platforms have enormous reach and visibility, how you respond to customers’ queries and complaints can make all the difference. Quick and thoughtful responses can help you build trust and integrity with your customers and wider audiences on social media. So, don’t miss the opportunity to use social channels for customer support. They are not only great for marketing your offerings, but also serve as a direct platform to provide excellent, personalised, and round-the-clock service.

Harnessing social platforms to offer unparalleled customer service

The number of social media users worldwide is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025. Social media consumption in Asia Pacific has grown dramatically with the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand ranking higher than the global average in social media usage. It is also estimated that there will be around 5.6 million social media users in Singapore by 2025, up from 5.05 million in 2020. These users value digital-first experiences — ease of access, speed, and connectedness. This presents a massive opportunity for businesses to serve their customers where they are in the shortest time possible.

Here are some broad ways you can benefit from offering customer service through social platforms:

Meet customers where they are

Make it easier for customers to reach you. Being present on social media platforms, where today’s customers already are, will encourage higher engagement. For example, Twitter and Facebook have the largest number of 25-34 year old users. If your target audience falls in this age group and frequents Facebook, consider setting up a live chat function for your business page to address customer queries and requests for their convenience.

Enable one-on-one interactions with customers

In the State of Connected Customer research conducted by Salesforce, 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact a company. Through social media, you can create accessible, direct channels for customers to reach out to you from anywhere, at any time. You get to engage with hundreds and thousands of customers on a personal level. When customers reach out to your brand on social media, it allows you to solve their issues quicker and make interactions more personalised. This can help increase customer satisfaction, building customer loyalty and advocacy.

Speed up response time

With social media, you can get notified of engagement or activities related to your brand and respond immediately. Set up chatbots to tackle simple, routine cases, and route complex cases to the right service agents for faster resolution across the board.

Get free access to a wealth of feedback

Many customers voluntarily leave feedback for brands on social media. They may also discuss your brand with a friend, or post words of praise. These activities generate valuable, real-time data about how audiences perceive your brand and the changes they’d like to see. Capturing customer feedback through social media is much easier and faster than through emails or phone calls. Social customer service can also build user-generated content (UGC) that help customers make better buying decisions. Product and service teams can leverage all this knowledge to fill possible gaps in the customer journey.

Build a positive brand image

Customer referrals and testimonies are incredibly powerful in influencing buying decisions. So, when customers share a positive account of their service experiences through social media, that can influence more people to like your brand and possibly turn into new customers. When you actively support your customers on social media, it shows everyone that you are genuinely interested in delivering exceptional experiences.

Play with the unique selling propositions (USPs) of different platforms

Depending on the social media platforms you choose, you have the option to interact with customers in different ways. For instance, Twitter allows easy replies. WhatsApp supports both live chat and chatbots for faster case resolution at any time of the day. Facebook automatically shows a ‘very responsive’ badge on your company profile if you have a 90% or more response rate, and your usual response time is less than 5 minutes. Such features can help you efficiently solve customer issues (and get recognised for that).

Due to the high level of engagement on social media, servicing customers through these platforms is more complex than through traditional service channels like call centres and emails. To ace your social customer service game, you will need to recognise the differences in servicing through different social media platforms. From there, build the right strategies and tactics for each.

Some tips to help you get started and build your servicing capabilities on social:

  1. Identify social media platforms that your target audiences use
  2. Determine which social media platforms your customers frequent most. Then, create a dedicated handle for social media customer support.
  3. Find out why your customers are reaching out to you
  4. Conduct audits to find out the reasons customers contact your business. They may want to get information, resolve issues, or give feedback or praise. This can help you build a playbook and cadence to address customer cases efficiently.
  5. Create a unique hashtag for service requests
  6. Create a specific hashtag for your service team, so customers can easily search for past cases using them. Use keywords to allow language detection, so service agents can be alerted when they need to step in.
  7. Don’t be afraid to respond to negative feedback
  8. You can turn unhappy customers into brand advocates by handling negative comments the right way. Quickly acknowledge the negative comments or post and move the conversation to a personal chat where a service representative can resolve the customer’s issue directly.
  9. User-generated content
  10. Incentivise customers to review your products and services, and to tag others on their posts. This can help build a repository of helpful self-service content.
  11. Post educational content regularly
  12. Help customers find answers on their own with product guide videos, explainer posts, etc.

Streamline social service processes, improve customer satisfaction

Offering excellent social customer service across platforms requires a mix of intelligent workflows, proactive responses, and personalisation tactics. Salesforce combines the power of Service Cloud and Social Studio to deliver seamless customer service across social media platforms. With Service Cloud Social Networks, you can:

  • Directly convert requests on social media into service cases to support customers on their favourite social networks.
  • Get a comprehensive view of the customer with Salesforce Customer 360 before you respond.
  • Enable a personalised and contextual service interactions in real-time with customers.
  • Use keywords, classifiers, and language detection to ensure that agents always get actionable posts to work the right issues in the right way.
  • Integrate social media with other service channels like calls and emails to offer customers a truly omnichannel service experience

Learn how brands can serve today’s customers where they are with unparalleled customer service.


This post originally appeared on the Salesforce India blog.

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