Social media is a powerful tool that has become integrated into consumers’ daily lives. Nearly 59 percent of the global population uses social media platforms, with the average user spending roughly two hours of their day browsing through their social media accounts. Users utilize their respective platforms to communicate with their peers, research brands and browse new products and services. As a business, not only are social media platforms a good way to advertise what your brand has to offer but they also can — and should — be used to provide customer service.
Now more than ever, it is crucial to provide customers support on platforms they already actively use. Social media customer service refers to the series of processes your business can implement to provide customer support on social media platforms. These processes should cover everything from the initial query or complaint to the resolution of the problem. By developing a strong customer service strategy, you can strengthen your brand reputation and improve your relationship with your customers.
Customers have come to expect interaction with companies on social media; in fact, 39 percent of consumers in the United States believe social media customer service is a must for all businesses. Brands that engage with their target audience on social media and respond to them in a timely manner compel their customers to spend 20 to 40 percent more.
Some of the largest brands across the globe have harnessed the power of social media customer service to turn their audiences into a community. These brands know exactly how to communicate with their target customers, which has heavily contributed to their growth over the years. Here are five examples of excellent social media customer service in the market today.
#1 — Nike
Nike is one of the most well-known sports brands in the world. The brand has worked with and featured various celebrities, athletes, and influencers, and it is beloved for its quality sportswear and shoes. Its strong brand presence coupled with its winning social media customer service strategy has cemented Nike’s identity as a customer favorite.
Nike has dedicated social media accounts on the strongest social media platforms. Most notable is its dedicated Twitter account named “Team Nike.” Here, customers can reach the brand seven days a week, and the customer support team can also respond to concerns and queries in seven languages: English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, German, and Japanese. This helps Nike accommodate as many customers as possible and effectively communicate with them in their desired language.
Additionally, Nike’s support team perfectly captures the brand voice in its response to customer concerns and queries. The brand’s social media customer service is lauded for how friendly and kind it is to customers — even those who are in the wrong or voice complaints.
#2 — Starbucks
Multinational coffee chain Starbucks is perhaps the best example of social media customer service dedicated to building relationships with customers. Businesses are often under the impression that customer service is solely about answering questions; while this is an important part of a customer service system, it is crucial for support teams to show empathy to their customers. Starbucks’ social media team is skilled at this.
Today, there is a heavier emphasis on resonating with customers and relating to their emotions. Empathy is key in achieving these, and it can be showcased in your brand’s communications with your customers. Starbucks’ digital customer service is on par with its in-store customer service, which makes the customer experience consistent and more seamless.
The coffee giant has a strong digital presence — Starbucks has dedicated social media accounts on all the largest social media platforms, and each one has grown a significant following. Because of this, Starbucks has placed its focus on community building, allowing its customers to collaborate and pitch ideas about anything from food and beverage recipes to types of merchandise.
This collection of customer feedback has also been a big contributor to Starbucks’ strong brand presence. Customers feel like their opinions matter, which makes them feel like their chosen coffee seller cares about them beyond simply making a sale.
#3 — Lululemon
Activewear brand Lululemon is an excellent example of proactive customer service. Social media platforms are sites for building conversation, and many important discussions about brands and their products happen on social media.
Lululemon’s customer support team listens for brand mentions, which can be easily accomplished by utilizing the search functions within a social media platform. This allows them to reach out to customers even before customers reach out to them, and it allows them to gauge how the social media world is perceiving Lululemon, enabling them to make adjustments to their processes when needed.
Lululemon’s listening strategy is incredibly efficient, and its team doesn’t even need mentions or hashtags to find conversations about the brand. This is large because Lululemon’s marketing strategy is heavily focused on customer satisfaction, so all their efforts are directed toward initiatives that help boost this.
#4 — Spotify
Spotify’s social media support team is highly responsive, rapidly answering concerns and questions. The speedy response time allows Spotify to assuage potentially heated conversations, and it also shows customers the brand cares enough to respond in a timely manner.
Spotify also has fun with its customers by delivering what it’s known for — music — in unique ways. Its social media response team might include a link to a song in its reply, and the team will even create a full playlist using song titles to send a specific message relevant to the customer’s exchange.
#5 — Netflix
Netflix is yet another streaming platform that has risen in popularity exponentially ever since it was launched. The platform has a wide selection of movies and TV shows across all genres, and its smart user interface is well-loved by its subscribers.
Netflix is also known for delivering excellent social media customer service, particularly because of how its support team showcases the brand’s voice when communicating with its audience. If you want an example of a brand that has its finger on the pulse of its target audience, Netflix is a good one to look at.
The streaming giant’s brand identity is heavily reliant on humor, so its support team has witty exchanges with its followers on its social media platforms, which helps build rapport. Netflix’s support team is great at making its customers the center of the conversation, which, in turn, earns praise for excellent customer service.
What Can You Learn From These Brands?
These five brands have some of the best social media customer service systems in today’s digital space for many reasons. They all stay true to their brand voices, they put their customers first, and they build communities around their products. Ready to provide stellar customer support using your business’s social media platforms? Here are some best practices for you and your team to keep in mind.
Knowing the Best Platform for Your Business Matters
This is especially true if you have a small business. You likely don’t have the capacity to micromanage all platforms and ensure each one has a working customer support strategy. Narrowing down your chosen social media platforms is key in developing a social media customer service strategy that works.
To learn which social media platforms your target audiences are most active on, do a pulse check and conduct some research on your target customers. You can also test the platforms to see which ones deliver the most engagement for your brand. Those that give the highest engagement are the platforms you should be focusing on.
Monitor Your Social Media Mentions
This is how Lululemon provides proactive customer service. Monitoring and responding to direct messages to your social media platforms is one thing; monitoring conversations surrounding your brand is another. Both are important to create a social media customer service strategy that helps your brand succeed.
Search for your brand regularly on social media sites to see what consumers are saying about you. Some posts may need a response from your customer service team, which can help you foster stronger customer relationships and prevent unhappy patrons.
Speed Makes ALL the Difference
Remember Spotify’s ability to defuse potentially heated conversations? It is largely because of how quickly its support team responds to customer concerns. This factor is unique to social media — response times of up to 24 hours might be acceptable for email, phone, and in-person support, but social media is infinitely more fast-paced.
Customers have shorter attention spans when on social media platforms, which usually translates to less patience in talking to brands. With more than 60 percent of customers thinking fast responses are crucial in delivering good customer support, social media customer service is an excellent way to provide instant responses.
Know When To Take Matters Offline
Not all conversations should happen online, on a public platform. While social media is a useful tool for providing customer service, there are times when taking a conversation offline is the best way to solve it, especially if it’s a customer problem. Other brands typically do this by asking the customer to send them a direct message or an email, so they can take a more personalized and concentrated response to the issue.
Taking matters offline can prevent a tense situation from escalating, and it can help your brand avoid a public relations nightmare. When a customer brings a complaint to a public platform, your brand’s reputation and credibility are put at risk. In situations like these, you need to act as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize the damage. Ensure that direct communication with your customer is able to solve their problem, and implement a system that allows you to do so.
Your customer support team must be trained to respond to all sorts of queries on social media. They also need to know how to solve a problem in a timely manner, while providing the customer with care and dedication. Thirty-seven percent of consumers said feeling like they are getting passed from one agent or platform to another only aggravates the situation.
Level-Up Your Social Media Customer Support With Helpware
Customer support is no longer solely about emails, phone calls, or in-person interactions with your customers. Social media is a big part of the average consumer’s daily life, so you need to develop a strong social media customer service strategy to meet your customers where they are. Social media is instrumental in increasing your brand’s reach, and it can be a valuable tool for building tighter customer relationships. The better you interact with your customers on social media, the more likely you are to boost your customer lifetime value.
Teams both large and small in size can benefit from an outsourced customer service team, especially when navigating the fast-paced world of social media. Helpware is the top provider of outsourced customer support, empowering businesses and helping teams optimize their business processes. Reach out to Helpware today, and see how your business can improve its customer service system.