A Step by Step Guide to Winning at Social Media Customer Service

What is Social Media Customer Service?

We live in an era where everything you sell is connected in one way or another to the internet. Whether you’re a business that’s just starting out or an established name in the industry, making sure your brand is present on social media platforms is important because customers use it as the go-to channel for voicing complaints. Answering customer queries or providing solutions to their problems on these platforms is what social media customer service is all about.

Why is Social Media an Important Customer Service Channel?

Using social media as a form of giving an opinion on companies, products or experiences has almost become second nature to us. In fact, many of our buying decisions are affected by what people say online. Brand perception in the digital age is majorly influenced by these social media mentions

This makes it easy to see why social media customer service can play such a pivotal role in the growth of a company. By being part of the conversation, you are giving customers a great channel to reach out to you while also being to address their problems quickly before they escalate. It’s safe to say how customers perceive you on social media can have a big impact on how successful your brand can become

Providing customer service on Social Media 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 is as simple as responding to questions and comments. It’s also worth noting that this approach is directly in line with most businesses’ existing social media goals. 

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.

social media

What are the Benefits of Providing Social Media Customer Service?

Being social savvy has a lot of advantages especially since a majority of consumers today grew up with or were heavily influenced by social media. Here are three major benefits of providing excellent social media customer service

#1 Solve Customer Complaints Quickly

Whether your brand is active on social media or not, customers might already be speaking about you if they have a complaint. Studies show that 84% of consumers expect companies to respond to complaints within 24 hours. And if you don’t respond, your competitors will. So if you make an effort to respond to these issues, you can avoid losing customers. 

Facebook Messenger is pushing the envelope for rapid responses. If brands don’t reply to 90% of queries within 15 minutes of receiving them, they won’t earn the “very responsive to messages” badge on Facebook.

Facebook Badge

By earning and maintaining this badge, you’ll show Facebook users that they can rely on you for swift and effective help on the platform.

#2 Widen Your Reach and Monitor Brand Mentions for Proactive Support

The average person has at least seven social media accounts. If your customers use several social accounts, you should too. That way, they’ll be able to reach you regardless of the platform they’re currently using.. And by monitoring brand mentions with social listening tools, you can be proactive about your support strategy. Set up keyword searches and engage with every person who mentions you in a post, whether they tag you or not. For example, there are several occasions where Twitter users talk about brands online without actually tagging the brand with an @ mention, like this post mentioning Zappos.

Zappos customer service

Since Zappos was monitoring any mention of their company even without a tag, they saw it and responded. In this case, the post was positive, making it a great opportunity to build a stronger relationship with the customer even though there wasn’t an issue. By monitoring these mentions, you can catch issues before they become larger problems (or before a post bashing your brand goes viral). You can try Freshdesk’s social media helpdesk to monitor these mentions and improve your social media game.

#3 Unfiltered Feedback

We already know that asking for feedback and measuring customer satisfaction is absolutely necessary to improve your customer experience. This is made infinitely easier on social media where unhappy customers let you and the whole world know about it. Why is that a good thing? Because it’s honest. It gives you the best chance to understand what’s really going on with your customer service and uncover problems you thought you never had.

Social Media Best practices: How to Respond to Customers 

Here are a few best practices you can follow to help you deliver the right social media customer service experience:

#1 Use the right tone of voice

Social Media carries a casual conversational tone that makes it a very friendly and freeing platform to voice opinions. This also means the interactions you have with your customers should have a similar element of informality while staying within the guidelines of an official brand page. Here’s a great example of Nike of getting it right:

Nike Customer service

#2 Always respond to positive mentions

Social media is also used by customers to appreciate the good work you put in to help them. So when that happens make sure you respond to those mentions. It’s a great way to appreciate their sincerity and build a relationship where they could have otherwise had a terrible experience. Zappos has always excelled when it comes to making the customer feel special. Here’s an example of their social team doing just that:

Example of Zappos social media customer service

#3 Using humor the right way

Meme culture is a big part of social media’s appeal. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram thrive on a minimalist approach to humor. With attention spans constantly on the decline, it becomes harder to get the customers to notice you. But humor can be very useful to break the monotony and help your customers see your brand in a new light. It’s all about using humor in the right situations. Here’s an example of JetBlue being candid but staying within the lines when using humor:

Jetblue Customer service#4 Turn around bad customer experiences quickly

How would you respond to a situation where a customer has vented his frustration on social media? There would definitely be an urgency about it given that it’s on a public forum but it gives you the chance to be seen as a responsible brand that cares for its customers by giving a quick response. Other channels do not enable you to perform a service recovery so quickly while also gaining new admirers on the way. Here’s Jetblue again showing how it’s done:

#5 Take conversations private when things are getting out of hand

Some customers will not stop at just posting about their problems on social media. They’ll try and ensure everyone knows how angry or frustrated they are which is understandable when the situation is serious. Here, it’s better to try and get them to engage with you in a private chat window to minimize the possible damage it can do to your brand. Calling them directly after asking for their contact information is also another option you could make use of.

Steps to implement a social media customer service strategy

Now that we’ve looked at best practices, social media etiquette and how to handle certain customer scenarios let’s move on to setting up your social media customer service team. 

Step 1: Identify which social media channels are a priority

Being present on all social media platforms is a necessity. But based on factors such as the type of industry, your customer base, and the number of followers you have you can identify which platforms should be your primary and secondary channels for customers to use. Prioritizing channels helps focus your efforts and provide the quickest response possible.  For example, if you are a B2B company, then Linkedin could be your ideal choice for communication. If you are an e-retailer it makes sense to prioritize Facebook and Twitter. 

Step 2: Setup a dedicated Social Media team for customer service

Most companies that have an active social media presence run their engagement via their marketing team. However, based on the volume of customer complaints you receive on social media, it might make sense to dedicate a team to handle all these conversations. 

Also, unlike other customer service channels, you cannot expose all your agents to answering customer queries on social media. elect agents who are social savvy and are great at understanding the nuances of responding on social media. 

Step 3: List out the rules and responsibilities

While all your customer service agents are given basic training before they interact with customers, your social media representatives should also be given a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to responding to customers on a public platform like social. 

There have been several examples of companies just getting it plain wrong when it comes to social media. The consequences can be dire and it could take a few years to recover from online mishaps that go viral. The best way to avoid these situations from occurring is to create a list of rules for agents when it comes to posting or responding on social media. Some of these can include:

-The basic etiquette to be followed 

-Being empathetic while not sounding too apologetic

-Using humor only when the situation demands it

-Understanding the level of casual conversations you can have etc.

Step 4: Identify the tools you’ll need

Trying to manage all your handles and monitoring all your brand mentions is a near-impossible task to perform manually no matter how many people you get to do the job. You’ll need help and that help is in the form of software and tools to streamline the whole process and eliminate several manual tasks that unnecessarily take up time and effort. Here are a few must-have software you should consider using:

Social Media dashboard: An essential tool if you want to have an effective social media handle. A regular Facebook or Twitter admin account does not have the capability to effectively manage your brand presence. Using a tool like Hootsuite or Sendible allows you to multitask while helping you cope with the sheer volume of responses and interactions. Features such as advanced filters, Post scheduler, Multi-account management, etc. go a long way in making tasks simple for your customer service team.

Analytics: You can use a  stand-alone analytics tool or select a dashboard tool that has inbuilt analytics and reporting. You need analytics to understand and measure several key metrics that you can use to improve performance.

Helpdesk: Finally, you’ll need a helpdesk to connect your support team with your customers on social media. A customer service platform allows you to monitor important brand mentions, respond to customers, convert complaints to tickets, tasks you can handle with ease and from a singular location.

Try Freshdesk’s Social Media Helpdesk

With Freshdesk’s social media helpdesk, you can monitor conversations across platforms and engage with your customers to resolve problems or have brand-building conversations.

Unify your support on both Twitter and Facebook and resolve issues on the platform that your customer contacted you on, all without leaving your helpdesk dashboard.

You can structure your social support with automations to make sure that every issue, negative or positive, is handled correctly and quickly.

With our helpdesk, you can keep tabs on conversations on Facebook and Twitter by entering the keywords that you want to track.

The best part is that you can convert social media posts from Twitter and Facebook into tickets.

From there, you can assign each ticket to specific agents or groups and use ticket statuses from within the platform to track the progress of each query.


There are many benefits to social media customer service, beginning with its ability to positively impact the customer experience. On social media, you can solve customer complaints more quickly and earn coveted badges to show off how rapidly you respond. By being present on more than one social platform, you can monitor brand mentions across every channel and be where your customers are.

Use our social helpdesk to take your social media customer service strategy to the next level today.

1 – https://www.statista.com/statistics/273476/percentage-of-us-population-with-a-social-network-profile/
2 – https://blog.sprinklr.com/5-stats-social-media-customer-care/
3 – https://www.kleinerperkins.com/perspectives/internet-trends-report-2018/
4 – https://fonolo.com/blog/2018/01/the-next-big-thing-in-social-customer-service/
5 – https://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2017/nov/17/average-person-has-7-social-media-accounts/

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