3 Steps to Manage Customer Service Requests on Instagram with Ease
With over one billion active users, it’s no wonder that more and more brands are jumping on the bandwagon to use Instagram for business. Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool with over 25 million brands and over 2 million advertisers on the platform. Companies primarily show off their products to increase brand awareness and attract new customers.
While this platform isn’t the most obvious place to deliver customer support, over the last few years, customer expectations have changed. The 2.77 billion people using social media platforms to share their experiences are also using these platforms to interact with brands, even if that conversation is indirect. Business accounts on Instagram generate 4x more interactions1 and are, therefore, a prime channel to offer customer service and increase customer engagement.
The emergence of social media has given consumers a whole new way to interact with the brands they love — and a forum to complain when brands disappoint. – Market Force
When following your brand on Instagram, potential customers want to:
– Communicate with your brand: 80% of Instagrammers follow at least one business profile on the platform2.
– Complain to an organization via social media: A Sprout Social study claims 55% want to get responses or solutions, and 70% share their experiences to inform other potential customers3.
– Get social media service: 43% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 use social media for service-related needs4.
Providing Instagram followers with great customer support isn’t an option these days – it’s a necessity, and it’s important to understand how to manage customer service requests with ease. Here are three ways to get started:
#1 Optimize Your Instagram Business Account for Customer Service
Provide visitors with business information
No matter what your business is, your potential customers must have common concerns, questions, and objections about it. When it comes to Instagram marketing, your bio is your visiting card as it tells visitors more about your business and encourages them to follow or leave your business profile. Thus, you should write Instagram bios that tell visitors who you are, what your principles are, and what products you sell. Although you’re limited to 150 characters, you can creatively provide visitors with information about your brand by using emojis, insert links, add hashtag links and additional brand accounts.
Here’s a good example by ASOS:
The more business information your Instagram bio has, the fewer questions your visitors and customers may have. If you want to manage customer service requests with ease, make sure your bio can tell more about your company, its products, and your business beliefs.
Add contact buttons
Today, more and more customers use Instagram to interact with their favorite brands, and they leave their queries directly on the platform. Since Instagram has become a customer service channel, the company allows businesses to add contact buttons and help their visitors connect with them without leaving the app. If you want to take care of your customers and make the communication process easier for them, provide them with different contact options (email, phone, location, etc).
J.Crew knows that some customers may have urgent questions, so they let visitors call them when needed:
Instagrammers may ask you questions in direct messages and comments, but they can get buried in your inbox. Thus, it’s better to set up contact buttons so that your customer support team would be able to fulfill requests with ease. Here’s how to add contact buttons:
As you can see, running an Instagram business profile allows you to add action buttons, too. Once you’ve set up an action button, your visitors can tap on it to do business with you without leaving the app. With a variety of contact options on Instagram, it’s easier to interact with your followers and turn them into customers.
Turn push-notifications on
Modern customers want to connect with companies on social media, so they write their requests in direct messages or comment threads. But it can be difficult to manage these requests as the more customers you have, the harder it can be to manage their requests on Instagram. So, you might miss important requests even without realizing it. Since customers crave timely customer service, this can negatively affect your brand’s reputation.
Just imagine: Although 66% of people believe that valuing their time is the most crucial thing a brand can do to provide good customer experience5, the average wait time on social media is nine hours6. That’s why it’s important to reduce your customer service response time on Instagram, and the best way to do it is to ensure that requests don’t get buried in your inbox. By turning push-notifications on, you will get an alert every time someone reaches out, and you can quickly check out your profile to solve the problem or assign a team member. Here’s how to do it:
#2 Improve Social Media Management
Use social media management tools
Just like you would create a detailed marketing plan for your Instagram business profile, if you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your customer service, you should optimize your social media strategy for customer support as well.
Your marketing team is most probably already using social listening and analytics tools to stay on top of their social media management, and many of these tools can help your support team offer timely responses to customer support requests as well. With these tools, it’s easy to keep a track of conversations, reply to messages, and resolve customer support requests. Luckily, there are many social media management tools like Reply by Buffer that help managers save time, so you can find the best one that suits your needs and wants.
Hire a moderator and create an Instagram DM workflow
As the number of inquiries you receive on Instagram grows, hiring a dedicated moderator becomes critical. Even if you have a large team of support agents It’s better to find one person who can monitor comments and direct messages, moderate them, and send replies in a timely manner. This also makes it easier to maintain a uniform brand style and tone across every message.
Once you have a person who manages your inbox, it’s important to set up an Instagram Direct Message, or DM, workflow. Since customers value their time, they expect brands to respond to their comments and messages quickly.
To provide good customer support, it’s important to answer inquiries correctly and fast. While you can set up quick replies for many situations, sometimes you need to involve a more experienced worker or even a brand owner to help resolve issues. In these cases, your moderator can use team chat apps such as Freshdesk to assign inquiries to team members, track tasks, and provide Instagram followers with timely responses.
Handle negative feedback
No matter how hard you try, it’s nearly impossible to satisfy all your customers. Thus, it’s crucial to address negative feedback as well — communicate with these customers, show your genuine concern, and try to find ways to solve their problems.
Why? It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one7. What’s more, 51% of buyers will never do business with a company after having at least one negative experience, and U.S. customers tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience8.
It’s no wonder that big companies engage with their customers on Instagram. Just take a look at Nike. Like all large organizations, Nike gets comments from dissatisfied customers. That’s why the team monitors the comment section to solve consumer problems, handle negative feedback and even improve the company’s products.
Dealing with dissatisfied customers can be daunting. If you want to manage negative feedback with ease, you need to prepare for potential complaints your consumers may have and ensure you have quick and efficient solutions for the same.
#3 Stay Proactive
Monitor brand mentions
Since people want to tell their friends and family about experiences, having brand champions within your customer base is a proven way to get free Instagram shoutouts. Today, more and more customers seek out reviews on social media before making a purchase decision, so monitoring brand mentions is important to ensure your potential clients get a positive brand image.
Companies know that authentic communication leads to customer loyalty, so they should monitor brand mentions to find out what their customers think about the brand, provide them with solutions, and understand how to improve their business. For example, The Whole Foods Market listens to its customers, gathering quantitative data and getting new business ideas:
However, not all social media conversations about your brand happen in the comment sections or have tags and mentions. According to Sprout Social, 75% of people write about their experiences on their own profiles or pages9, so it’s important to use social media monitoring software like Hootsuite, Mention, or Talkwalker.
Start a conversation with followers
It’s in our nature to be focused on ourselves, most of the social media posts we upload are dedicated to our lives, beliefs, and problems. We feel pleased when other people show interest in our lives, and when companies put their potential customers first, it hooks attention, increases brand awareness, and builds trust.
And if you want to establish an emotional bond with your followers, you need to highlight personal conversations when communicating with potential customers. Here’s how Starbucks searches for brand mentions to find user-generated content, start a conversation with fans, and show genuine interest:
Ask for feedback
Asking customers for feedback helps to gain their trust as it shows that you care about your customers, you want to provide a positive customer experience and that you are using this feedback to improve your products and services. That’s why many popular brands use Instagram business-specific features to understand their followers better.
With over 500 million daily users, Sephora knows that ephemeral content keeps followers engaged. The company uses creative designs to create Instagram Stories polls that encourage followers to share their feedback, and therefore increase customer satisfaction.
And if you are having trouble hiring a designer, you can use ready-made Story templates to stand out from the crowd. Plus, don’t forget about Instagram posts with the right captions. Let’s see how Sephora asks questions in posts to prompt followers to share their feedback:
Not only can you get more comments and increase engagement, but you can also gather customer feedback to improve your product, service, and business.
The Bottom Line
Instagram is not just about showing off your product from different angles; it’s about interacting with your potential customers and satisfying their needs. Thus, you should be ready to proactively reach out to your customers, provide customer service on the platform, and ensure your followers get their questions answered on time. Remember: customers are ready to spend money on good customer service, so it’s up to you to find ways to increase customer satisfaction, and therefore boost sales.
1 – https://www.socialbakers.com/blog/instagram-engagement
2 – https://business.instagram.com/
3 – https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/q3-2017/
4 – https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2013-social-media-benchmark-study
5 – https://www.forrester.com/report/2018+Customer+Service+Trends+How+Operations+Become+Faster+Cheaper+And+Yet+More+Human/-/E-RES142291
6 – http://www.customerbliss.com/ideas/thought-leadership-downloads/
7 – https://www.outboundengine.com/blog/customer-retention-marketing-vs-customer-acquisition-marketing/
8 – https://www.helpscout.com/75-customer-service-facts-quotes-statistics/
9 – https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/q2-2016/