Quick Tips to Using Social Media to Improve Your Customer Service

By Sergio Aicardi on October 7, 2015

One of the most important things to talk about in relation to e-commerce and business strategy in general is how to continue to offer great customer service even when you are working in an online environment the majority of the time. Social media is a huge untapped potential in this area, so the sooner you can use it to improve your customer service the better. Below breaks down the customer service opportunities by social network, so it’s a good idea to start with one, see how it goes, and then eventually grow this strategy as you get more comfortable.

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Customer Service & Twitter

One of the best ways you can offer customer service is actually through Twitter. Now first, a caveat: in order to say that you offer customer service through Twitter, you really need to have a team or designate one (or more) of you staff to be able to respond to customer Tweets promptly, depending on the size of your company.

People expect that they should be able to contact and get a response from customer service in 30 minutes or less in the majority of cases. Thus, just like you could not have someone on hold for an hour or more without making them extremely upset, you can not let their Tweet stand unanswered for that long either. Response times can actually be really fast with the Twitter platform if you allocate the job as a task with importance paramount to customer service in person or on the phone.

That being said, there are definitely some real advantageous for using Twitter in your customer service plan, so long as you put everything in order to make sure the response time is adequate. Here are some reasons bringing customer service to Twitter is a good idea:

  • Customers that already have an use Twitter can conveniently get a lot of someone from your staff
  • Typing a tweet is easy and feels like they can immediately state their problem (no automated robot that didn’t understand what they are saying
  • Opening the Twitter app (or any social media app for that matter) is a lot easier than making a call these days.
  • Customer name and information is attached to their existing profile, so people don’t need to keep re-stating their name and basic information—which takes away a lot of customer service frustration.
  • It promotes your brand name through social media marketing without even having to try. This is actually a great tactic to help your social efforts in general as well (customer service aside), which you can learn more about here.
  • Because of the character limit, people are forced to be concise and direct about the problem they are experiencing.

Businesses who have successfully employed the Twitter customer service feature (such as Chegg Textbooks’ @Chegghelp Twitter account), actually allow customers to tweet their service representatives directly, but then respond to the customer via the direct message feature so that the conversation is slightly more anonymous and responsive. Once the customer receives the direct message, similar to a website chat feature, they know their representative is dedicated to serving them.

One last note. If you are going to use Twitter for users to contact your customer service team, you may want to consider making an account separate from your brand’s primary account. This will allow you to manage incoming Tweets and prioritize those coming in to the customer service account. Starbucks and Nike (along with Jet Blue and several other companies) for example have separate Twitter accounts for customer service comments, complaints, and questions.

Engage With Customers on Facebook

Similar to Twitter, Facebook can be a great place for customer service. Again, it really is about time and dedication to engaging with your customers. While it may not provide the same opportunity for one on one customer support (many brands seem to prefer Twitter for all of the reasons that I just explained), it is still a great forum for customer engagement.

Companies who use Facebook really well always reply to comments on their page, positive and negative alike. Even big companies like Walmart, TMobile, and Whole Foods can be seen replying to customer comments frequently. This demonstrates that they are dedicating the time and priority to customer feedback, but also that they are ensuring a fast response time and comments would get too out of hand if they waited more than 30 minutes-an hour to reply. It is a full time job for sure, and if you are a small business with a small staff it may be difficult at first figuring out the volume to response ration, but with a little persistence and experimentation you can definitely offer great customer support through social media.

Utilize Social Blogging

The last social platform that is a little bit different is social blogging. Companies can get really creative with the way they mobilize their blog for this purpose, and there are essentially three major ways to use your blog for customer support:

  1. Offer a Q and A post, or address common customer questions/concerns you receive.

If you sell any kind of product or service, people most likely have questions for you, and they most likely ask the same questions over and over again in different forms. Taking note of this pattern in your other customer service streams and addressing it on a blog post helps to show that you care about your customers and that you are willing to put int the time and effort to make things more accessible.

  1. Feature customer stories (success posts, or other personal experiences with your company).

Take all of the great social media, in-person, and other event interactions that you have with customers and really look at it as an opportunity to connect. Did your products or service really inspire one of your customers to be successful or transform in some way? Feature them in a blog post (with their permission and active participation of course). People love seeing that other people benefit and are shaped by a company in some way. Use this to your advantage and to show the level of integration you have with your customers, regardless of your company’s size.

  1. Respond to comments (good or bad).

You should have a feature enabled on your blog that allows people to comment on each post that you put up. Make sure that you actively reply to these comments whether they are positive or negative. Similar to what we were discussing with the Facebook and Twitter platforms, it demonstrates your level of customer involvement.

Further, why not solicit the feedback of your readers? At the end of a post you can indicate to “let us know in the comments section below” to encourage customer feedback and interaction. Starting these kinds of conversations can really help to boost customer service appearance (just don’t forget to put effort towards response time).

The Takeaway

Customer service is ultimately a feedback loop. You want to encourage customers to engage with your brand, and you also want to be prompt at responding to them. There are many creative ways to use social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Social blogging, to connect with your brand’s followers, and offer exceptional customer service, but so many are not taking advantage. If you can begin to create a strategy where customers can quickly ask questions on your social media, they may be more apt to come back or recommend you to someone in the future. It eliminates the fear of having to sit on the phone and go through a number system, so it’s a much more approachable avenue.

Do you have experience with social media and customer service efforts? Let us know what worked and what didn’t in the comments section below—we would love to hear from you. (<—See what I did there?)



About The Author

Sergio Aicardi
Sergio Aicardi /

Search engine marketing is what I am passionate about and enjoy doing. I feed off of the knowledge and the fact that SEO is always and will always be changing. Remember, when it comes to SEO, always think like a search engine and you will succeed.