How to Provide Great E-commerce Customer Service on Social Media

Many elements go into running a successful e-commerce store. From developing and sourcing products to maintaining a user-friendly website to fulfilling and shipping orders, managing a profitable business isn’t easy.

But one aspect that you can’t overlook is customer service. Although some business owners make the mistake of viewing customer service as little more than a requirement and an additional expense, it’s essential to the overall success of any e-commerce business.

When done well, it can play a role at every stage of the buying process, from a customer’s decision to convert, to whether they’re satisfied with their purchase and recommend your brand to others.

Fortunately, there are now more options than ever for businesses looking to step up their level of customer service — and one of the best is social media. So with that in mind, keep reading to learn more about why social media holds so much potential as a customer service channel, as well as five tips for delivering excellent service to your e-commerce store’s customers.

Why Provide Customer Service on Social Media?

Social media is widely considered a staple in the marketing industry. In fact, according to one study from Smart Insights, 89% of businesses say they value Facebook. So if your e-commerce store is like most, you already have some social media presence.

As a result, providing customer service on these platforms has a fairly low barrier to entry. They’re entirely free to use, and if you’ve already established a following among your customers, getting started could be as simple as beginning to respond to their questions and comments.

It’s also worth noting that this approach is directly in line with most businesses’ existing social media goals. In the same Smart Insights survey, 36% of respondents said that engagement was their most important metric for measuring social media success.

So if you’re one of the many businesses looking for ways to drive engagement on your social channels, offering customer service is an excellent way to reach this goal. And if you’re still not convinced, there’s one reason to provide customer service on social media that’s compelling to virtually every business owner and marketer in existence: revenue.

Considering that customers spend 20 to 40% more with companies that engage and respond to service requests on social media, creating a customer service strategy for these channels could have a positive impact on your bottom line.

So even if you’re not yet active on social platforms, and don’t have any intention to use them for marketing purposes, creating accounts could still be more than worth your time in terms of the additional sales and revenue they can generate for your business.

5 Ways to Improve Your E-commerce Customer Support on Social Media

Adding social media to your customer service strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. But if you’re new to using these platforms for support, here are five simple steps to help you get started.

1. Respond to Everything

If you already have an established presence on popular social media platforms, this first step is a straightforward one. All you need to do is respond to your customers when they contact you on your social channels, whether through a public comment, review, tweet, or with a private direct message.

Though this requires little creativity or strategy on your part, it can have a significant impact. In fact, one study found that failure to respond on social channels can cause as much as a 15% increase in churn rate.

This means that if you’re not currently responding to customer comments and questions on the channels you use, you could be missing out on sales and revenue — and a few quick responses could be all it takes to change that. Of course, some comments and questions are easier to address than others.

If a customer comments on a post asking about product availability or sizing information, you can quickly address their need by providing additional information. But when faced with a negative review or an unhappy customer, the correct response isn’t always as obvious.

In most cases, your best bet is to address the customer publicly, but ask them to contact you privately to fully resolve the issue. This way, other users can see that you addressed their concern, but you can gather more information and find a solution in a one-on-one conversation.

2. Provide Service Quickly

Today’s consumers can be impatient. In a world of high-speed internet and two-day shipping, many of us now expect every part of the buying process to be fast — and customer service is no exception. That’s especially true on social media.

In fact, one survey found that while 56% of consumers expect to wait a day or more for responses to their emails, 50% of Twitter users expect a response to a direct message in under an hour. This means that to provide effective customer service on your social media channels, you need to be prepared to monitor them regularly.

If you only check your notifications every few days, you’re likely to miss opportunities to provide the service your customers want — and unlikely to succeed in using social media as part of your customer service strategy.

3. Monitor Brand Mentions (and be Proactive)

Most customers who want responses from your company will make sure that you see their comments or concerns by engaging directly with your page or tagging your handle in a tweet or post. In these cases, you’ll receive notifications about their actions, so that you can quickly respond.

But not all of the customers who discuss your brand on social media will make it this easy for you to be part of the conversation. Some of them will simply tweet or post about you without using your account handle — meaning that their followers will only see their complaints, without a response from your company.

That’s why monitoring social platforms for brand mentions is so important. Finding where customers are discussing your company and products gives you the chance to address their concerns and remedy any problems they might be experiencing. Plus, it provides the opportunity to mitigate any damage their public complaints may have done to their followers’ perception of your brand.

Fortunately, all of the top social media platforms today have search features that make finding these mentions easy. Make it a habit to regularly search each of the channels you use for instances of your brand’s name, and you can take a more proactive approach to resolve your customers’ issues.

4. Consider Creating a Dedicated Support Account

One of the first platforms many customers turn to when looking for immediate responses from brands is Twitter. This makes it a valuable channel for companies looking to help shoppers more efficiently. But if you also use it for marketing purposes, you’ll want to avoid an excessive number of support-related tweets. As much as your followers may love your brand, they likely won’t love reading a ton of responses to other customers’ issues and questions.

That’s why, if your company fields lots of customer inquiries on Twitter, you may want to consider creating a dedicated support account. Although this isn’t a necessary step for most smaller brands, it’s now a popular approach among major retailers.

For example, while Nike uses their main Twitter account for marketing purposes, they respond to questions, comments, and complaints every few minutes using their @NikeSupport handle. This way, they eliminate the risk of losing followers from their main account due to these constant tweets, but can still use the platform to address their customers’ needs.

5. Use a Social Media Management Tool

If you’re overwhelmed by the task of monitoring several social media channels on a regular basis or simply want to make your approach more efficient, investing in a social media management tool can make the process much easier.

For example, with Freshdesk’s Social Media Helpdesk software, it’s easy to monitor brand mentions on each of the platforms you use — without taking the time to visit each of them individually.

Then, from this platform, you can easily respond to questions, engage with customers, and even convert posts that require more help and support tickets for your team. This way, you can be confident that you aren’t missing any opportunities to help your customers on social media — and that you’re addressing each of their needs fully and appropriately.

Conclusion

Social media has the potential to be a valuable customer service channel for any e-commerce company. It gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your customers, hear their concerns, and address their questions and problems — all on platforms you’re likely already using as part of your marketing strategy.

And if you’re interested in adding social media to your customer service strategy, getting started doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by responding to your customers and offering quick responses. This will show your followers that you’re active on these platforms and willing to help.

Then, you can branch out by monitoring brand mentions and resolving customer complaints that may not otherwise come to your attention.

Finally, steps, like creating dedicated support accounts and utilizing social media management tools, can help you step up the level of service you provide and stand out from your competitors. With this approach, your social media presence will become more than merely a box to check — and can become an essential part of your e-commerce store growth and success.