Does your social media strategy include a customer service plan? You may have the best content, a great following, and a killer advertising budget, but if your brand’s social media strategy is missing a customer service aspect, it’s doomed. Using social media as a means of customer service is on the rise. 1 in 3 users prefer social media customer care services over telephone or email. If that statistic doesn’t convince you to implement a social media customer service plan, then you should also know that 67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues. Now that you know why customer service is so important on social media, I’ll walk you through how to provide the service your customers deserve.

Monitor, monitor, monitor!

Monitoring incoming messages, mentions, and comments on your channels is critical to finding customer service issues. When you check your pages on a consistent basis, you can find complaints, questions, other issues in a timely manner. Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Facebook Pages Manager are fantastic for finding and escalating issues.

Even if your followers aren’t directly tagging/mentioning you brand in their posts, they may still talking about you. You can monitor brand mentions by using a social listening tool (like Hootsuite) to keep track of the conversations people are having about your brand. You can also customize your social listening feed to engage with individuals talking about your industry or speciality. If you see someone needs help with something you are an expert in, you can jump in there and send them a message.

Never ignore your customers

One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is ignoring their customers on social media. Whether a follower has a serious complaint or simply comments your post to say hello, answer them! Creating that conversation will strengthen your brand’s reputation and presence on social media.

Reply as quickly as possible

Customers expect a quick turnaround time from your team when they have a question or problem. If you don’t have the answer or solution right away, it’s still important to acknowledge that they reached out to you. A simple reply such as a thank you or asking them to send you a private message is all it takes.

Some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have an “automated message” option that automatically replies to customers when they message you. This feature gives you time to find the message and reply. You can customize these messages or use a standard template.

Take things offline

Always, always, always take customer issues offline. When a customer leaves a negative comment, review,  or mention on your page, the first thing you want to do is turn that public situation into a private one. Apologize for the issue publicly then kindly ask them to send your page a personal message. Depending on the situation, most issues should never be handled on a comment thread where all of your visitors can view.

Create an FAQ

If your page receives the same questions or concerns over and over again, it will help tremendously to create an FAQ for reference. You can add a list of responses in there so that when you or your team receives a question, an answer can be provided in a timely manner. There’s nothing more frustrating than searching around for answers and having to wait to wait for a response, especially if the question has already been addressed in another situation in the past.

Do you have any advice on providing great social media customer service? Let us know in the comments!