What is social media customer service?

Social media, owing to its extreme popularity among millennials, has also become an important medium for brands to communicate with their customers. Social media platforms provide the ability to send out short, quick, and immediate responses, which is why they’ve become a fan favorite among consumers. The public nature of social interactions also makes the brand more accountable when it comes to troubleshooting issues and resolving problems.

The importance of providing support on social media

Customers are slowly moving away from traditional channels of communication. They no longer want to write elaborate emails explaining their problems, or wait for a long time to speak to a support agent over the phone. They want immediate responses, and quick action. Social channels like Twitter and Facebook give customers the comfort of timely replies, in a personal and empathetic tone.

For businesses though, it’s a double edged sword. If you manage to establish a positive presence on social media, you’ll receive excellent word-of-mouth which will attract prospects. However, one misstep in your social strategy can lead to angry customers, frustrating experiences, and multiple rants. Moreover, this will affect how your brand is perceived by the public, leading to negative reviews spreading like wildfire.

Social media customer service

Difference between social media support and traditional support channels

Social media

  • Social media responses are mostly public. This means that everyone can see how your company is handling support queries. Bad interactions can catch public attention and quickly become viral.
  • On social media, shorter and more personal responses are preferred. Platforms like Twitter even have character limits, and it's thus important to be brief and concise while responding on these channels.
  • Customers expect short response times, and generally don’t like it
    when they are asked to switch channels to get their queries resolved.

Email, phone, and chat

  • Support responses via traditional channels like phone, email, and chat are private and unavailable to the general public unless customers decide to share these conversations on their own.
  • Long, formal and elaborate replies with step-by-step guidelines are preferred when it comes to traditional channels like phone and email. These channels generally do not have any restrictions on the length of the responses.
  • Customers are more patient and willing to wait to get their problems addressed on these channels.

Creating a social media customer support strategy

It's important to have a strategy in place to serve customers better on social media. From hiring a dedicated team to segmenting the different social channels, here's what you can do to improve your social media support.

Hire a dedicated social support team

Having a dedicated team handle social media support is an added advantage for companies who have a large customer base, and want to provide a more personalized approach to customer interactions. The social team can deal exclusively with conversations on channels like Twitter and Facebook, and ensure they’re in sync with the required language and tone. This way, all the team members can play to their strengths and work towards the common goal of delivering ‘wow’ customer experiences.

Segment the different social platforms

Different social channels have different etiquette and nuances that support agents should be aware of and able to adapt to. Twitter, for example, does not support tweet responses that are longer than 280 characters. And once a tweet is published, it cannot be edited. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is hardly used for customer support, but provides a good opportunity to respond to influencers and partners, who want to be associated with your brand. With these ground rules in mind, agents can focus on delivering relevant and concise replies according to the medium.

Use a helpdesk to manage social support

By using a ticketing software like Freshdesk, your team can handle social media channels from a unified location. Support queries from Twitter and Facebook are converted into tickets, making it easy for agents to respond to them quickly. Freshdesk even has intelligent AI-powered features that can scan through your Twitter feed and filter queries that need your attention the most.

Set the right expectations

Use Twitter and Facebook’s native customer support features to improve the speed and efficiency of your responses. Twitter lets you greet users with a set of options that they can potentially get help with, every time they enter into a direct message (DM) conversation. This saves time and productivity for agents, and helps them get context of the customer’s problem even before interacting with them.

Why Freshdesk is ideal for social media customer service

Convert Twitter and Facebook queries into tickets

You can manage your brand’s Twitter and Facebook accounts right from Freshdesk. With the Twitter integration, your agents can convert all relevant brand mentions and direct messages into tickets and respond to them, without leaving the comfort of your helpdesk. The Facebook integration lets you manage and respond to customer interactions such as likes, comments and messages from Freshdesk. The customers will receive the replies on the same medium on which they posted their questions.

go where your customers are

Assign social media tickets to the right agents

If you have a group of agents who handle social media support exclusively, you can create rules to assign tickets to them automatically. This way, you can ensure that the right tickets get assigned to agents who are skilled at handling that particular social channel.

Social media automations

Create a customized Twitter stream

By creating a Twitter stream, you can proactively monitor tweets that are not directed at you, but are talking about your brand. You can also follow topics in the areas of your interest, and find out what your competitors are up to. You can also choose to convert such tweets into tickets if necessary.

Customized Twitter stream

Filter the noise from your Twitter account

Freshdesk’s AI-powered Social Signals feature reads each and every tweet that mentions your company’s handle and automatically recognizes relevant tweets based on its inbuilt machine learning algorithm. These tweets are converted into tickets, and everything else is filtered out making sure your support team doesn’t have to spend excessive time on irrelevant mentions. Social Signals also continuously learns from feedback provided to its predictions, and improves over time.

Facebook support portal

Resources to boost your social support strategy