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Customer retention with social media

 Customer retention with social media

Customer retention with social media

As more and more customers turn to social media for services every day, it is essential that you have the skills to serve them. When you think of social media, popular sites like Facebook and Twitter probably come to mind. But social media also includes online review sites like Yandex Market and TripAdvisor, as well as self-service sections that companies put on their websites.

This article will provide a wide range of customer service tips and techniques through many types of social media channels. We'll start with basic customer service skills through popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Next, we will show you how to respond to customers through online review sites such as Yandex Market and TripAdvisor. Finally, we'll focus on what you can do to help customers through self-service websites.

Online customer service issues

Social media customer service presents some unique challenges that do not typically arise in other types of customer service such as phone, chat or email. We have identified three important features of online service:

  1. Keep in mind that social networks are public and everyone can see your tweets, posts on Facebook or responses to reviews in Yandex Market. Therefore, any angry comment in Yandex Market, for example, will be visible to other users.
  2. Customer service through social media is also a public relations function. The quality of the service you provide can either improve or hurt your company's reputation.
  3. It is important to understand that the service you provide on social media is linked to services in other customer service channels.

Online self-service also impacts other communication channels. A study by Microsoft found that 57% of customers search the internet for an answer or help before calling support. This means that having a convenient self-service option can result in fewer phone calls and fewer frustrated customers.

One of the best practices for a social media team is to develop a communication style guide. The Communication Style Guide provides instructions for consistently communicating in your brand's voice . You want your social media communications to be clear, consistent, and authentic.

We want to offer you the following model, which consists of four elements:

  1. A character or persona is who your brand is like. You want to adopt a look that is comfortable and familiar to your loyal customers. You want to create an image that matches your brand.
  2. Choose the tone of your communication. This is the vibe people experience when they connect with your brand on social media. Think about the tone you want to convey to your customers. What do you think resonates most with the people you serve?
  3. Decide on the language you want to use. Do you want to use official and professional words? Or do you want your language to sound more informal?
  4. Define for yourself the goal of customer service in social networks: inform, entertain, solve technical issues? Your purpose will help you decide what and how to communicate.

At the end of this chapter, we want to tell you how to deal with trolls. Trolls are people whose sole purpose is to sow dislike on social media. They really don't need help. They just want your brand to look bad.

So, start with positive intentions. Sometimes it can be hard to tell a really upset customer from someone who is just trolling. So reach out to them and see if you can help them.

It is also important to avoid arguments. Trying to argue with someone who is trolling your company will only encourage them to redouble their efforts. And remember that other customers can watch your interaction, which means you can damage your company's reputation by arguing with a troll, even if you think you're right.

You can also choose not to respond to threats or vulgar messages. Some platforms, such as Facebook, allow you to delete customer messages. But be careful. Brands can damage their reputation by removing legitimate customer complaints, even if those customers are very angry and speak badly of your company.

Try to create clear instructions on how to respond or not respond to people who like to insult your brand on social media, and then focus most of your attention on serving customers who really need your help.

Customer service through social networks

Consider a few sites where companies serve their customers. The top five included Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and LinkedIn. All these sites have millions of users and many companies actively use all these sites for marketing purposes.

But are customers really looking for services on these sites? A closer look at the data shows that not everything is so clear cut. Facebook and Twitter are the biggest platforms. 12% of social media customer service happens on self-help sites like customer forums. 3% happens on review sites like Yandex Market. You can also see the service percentage on other social networks like Pintrest, Instagram and LinkedIn.

It is worth mentioning that in this article we will focus on the social networks Facebook and Twitter as they are by far the most popular social networks for customer service. However, your customer base may be very different from what you see in the chart. Perhaps Pintrest will be the best social media channel for your customers.

Okay, let's get straight to the customer service rules. Listening is the first step to customer service through social media. There are many ways to listen to clients. Sometimes customers contact your company directly through posted messages right on your Facebook wall, tweet your company, or even send a direct message to your company.

On Twitter, you can also listen to conversations when a customer talks about your company, product, or industry, but they don't directly engage you in the conversation. Listening to these messages is relatively easy. Both Twitter and Facebook have some basic features, such as the ability to customize the notification.

Responding to customer complaints is an integral part of customer service. You want to identify the problem, solve it, and help the client feel better. If possible, you want to find a way to prevent the problem from happening again in the future.

One thing to remember on social media is that you are not just solving a problem for the client you interact with, you are also impressing any other client that happens to be following you. With that in mind, we would like to share a few general principles with you.

  • Principle number one - do not argue with the buyer. Whether he makes you angry or is completely wrong, arguing with a client on social media can backfire and make you and your company look bad.
  • Principle number two - be helpful.
  • Principle number three is to be the main link. This means that you should try to resolve the issue in the same communication channel where the question was asked. If a customer posts a question on Facebook about your return policy, you should try to answer directly on Facebook. If it can't be answered publicly, it's best to let the client continue the conversation with you in private.
  • Principle number four is to respond quickly. As a general rule, companies must respond to customer questions and complaints via social media within one hour. In some industries, such as travel and hospitality, customers can expect an even faster response.

Many customers who contact your company through social networks need your help, or want to ask a question or share their positive experience with you. Attracting these customers is just as important as helping those who are frustrated.

Engaging customers online strengthens your company's relationship with that person, but it also sends a strong positive signal to anyone who can see your correspondence. You can use the same principles to attract happy customers that you use to help frustrated ones.

Be helpful when answering questions or when looking for additional opportunities to find the right service. Be the first and only person to help the client in the same communication channel they use. You must find opportunities to actively engage with your customers through social media. And answer as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to use social media is active service. This is where you use the power of your social network to help customers avoid the problems they face. Or, if there is a problem, you can help customers solve it without even contacting you.

For example, you can use social networks to update the status of the service, various upgrades or announcements. This is great for companies that provide services, such as utility providers or cloud software companies.

Sharing helpful tips is another way to proactively serve customers through social media. You can also use social media to share helpful reminders.

Your job now is to think about some of the ways you can use social media to proactively serve your customers. Here is an exercise that might help. First, make a list of the most common requests.

Second, identify solutions that clients can use to help themselves. For example, if you get a lot of inquiries from customers about their order status, you might want to share a link to your online order tracking tool.

Finally, schedule updates. That's the beauty of social media. Many popular tools allow you to schedule updates so that they come out on schedule. You can help clients before they even know they need help.

Review Site Management

Online review sites are a special segment of social networking sites. They allow customers to leave reviews about your company. They can share their compliments and complaints, and you can also interact with them. The goal is to help you determine where customers are talking about your business.

There are many review sites to choose from, but we will focus on four of the most popular: Yandex Market, Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. Let's see how customers can interact with each of these sites. Let's start with Yandex Market. It is one of the largest review sites with 6 million daily visitors. If customers write reviews about your business or even your competitors on Yandex Market, you will definitely want to be present on this site.

Most of the major search websites on the internet also allow customers to rate businesses. Google is a big player here, accounting for nearly two-thirds of global search traffic. When a customer types a business name into Google, reviews are immediately displayed along with other business information. Again, having a positive reputation will increase the likelihood of customers visiting your business.

Facebook is another popular review site with a billion followers. Here people already communicate with their friends. Like other sites, Facebook reviews are for many businesses. If your company has a Facebook page, chances are customers are writing reviews about your business.

Finally, let's look at TripAdvisor. It's more of a specialized site focused on travelers. So if your business caters to tourists, you should definitely consider interacting with your customers on this website.

Spend some time identifying sites where your customers leave reviews about your company or can write one. You may already have a business account on some of these sites. You can also use the Yandex search engine to find your company and see what reviews appear there. Once you know where customers are writing reviews, you can be ready to respond to them.

If your customers leave reviews about your company on the Internet, it is important to listen to their words. Some customer service executives believe that review sites are just a place for customers to express their opinions. They also believe that some of the reviews are fake.

Studies conducted in 2018 showed that 16% of reviews on various foreign and domestic sites were indeed fake. It also says that 84% of the reviews were real. That is, the vast majority of reviews are published by real customers.

When you pay attention to customer reviews, you attract those customers who leave positive reviews, and you can also solve problems, whether it is a problem that one customer has, or an ongoing problem that many of them face. You can use your responsiveness on these sites to build a positive image with potential customers.

For example, you can enter your company name on Google and see the reviews as well as your ranking. You have noticed that the overwhelming remarks about your company's products or services are that you have high prices. This is considered a pretty good review. Perhaps these customers are not aware that you have various kinds of loyalty programs, and you can tell about it by responding to these reviews.

Understanding these customers can allow you to engage them, solve their problem, or even identify broader trends. Here is an exercise you can do. Take a look at the sites where customers leave reviews about your company and try to answer these questions. What do customers like most about your business? What are their most common complaints? And are there any customer service issues that need to be addressed?

Many business reviews posted on sites such as Yandex Market, TripAdvisor and Facebook contain complaints. Sometimes even four or five star reviews can point to a specific issue or contain constructive criticism. When someone complains about your company in a review, it's important to respond to it.

Remember that you have two goals. First, you want to help the buyer if possible. Second, you want to create a positive image for other potential customers who might read your response. Many customers do not trust a company that has only positive reviews. They look for a few negative reviews because it comes naturally. They also want to know how the business will react. So a negative review could be a real possibility.

Let's say you run a furniture store and someone left a negative review about you complaining about a 5 week delivery time. Let's see how you might respond to such a review. If possible, do a little research first. In some cases, you may be able to identify a client or get a little information about their situation. Such a review will give you a few clues: the name of the person, the date the review was written, and a mention that the product was ordered 5 weeks earlier.

So, you can search for orders for the product that this person ordered. Let his name be Alexei Reznov. You look at his order from 5 weeks prior to the date of the recall and discover that it was a special order for a new sofa in a custom fabric. The usual delivery time is four to six weeks, so five weeks is normal.

The next step should be a separate answer. Many platforms such as Facebook, TripAdvisor and Yandex Market allow you to privately respond to customers who write reviews. If a customer has a complaint, this can be a great way to resolve the issue. Be sure to check the specific platform you're using to see if private messaging is enabled.

When answering in private, keep these four principles in mind: don't argue, help, be precise, and respond quickly. Your message to the buyer might look like this. You will start by thanking the customer and taking responsibility for the problem. Then you try to help him by offering free shipping on a future order and providing a link to shipping information. You can also invite Alexei to contact you directly if he has any questions.

Now it's important for you to respond to Alexey's public review so that other potential customers can see your response. Your public response may be similar to your private response. This will save you some time and also allows you to be consistent.

The only thing you should miss is the mention of free shipping, because such a discount must be applied on a case-by-case basis. But the most important part is that such a response respectfully lets future customers know that custom orders take four to six weeks, while standard orders can be shipped the same day.

Online self-service management

Online self-service is one of the fastest growing customer service channels. Here, customers go online, usually to the company's website, to solve the problem themselves. That is, self-service via the Internet is a type of electronic support that allows customers and employees to access information and perform routine tasks online without any interaction from a representative of the enterprise.

Examples include FAQs, knowledge bases, update bases, account management tools, online manuals, and even customer communities. Self-service sites intersect with social networks in two ways:

  • First, some sites, such as customer communities, may themselves be social networks. Clients can create profiles and interact with each other.
  • Second, self-service can be essential to customer service through social media.
Take a moment to think about the value that self-service brings to your customers. Here are a few examples: many customers prefer to use self-service rather than contacting someone, explaining their problem, and waiting for someone to help them. In addition, many clients apply for services for the first time. One Microsoft study found that 57 percent of customers first go to the self-service section when trying to fix a problem.

Self-service also reduces wait times for other communication channels, as fewer customers have to call, email, chat, text or tweet, and those channels can handle demand better.

Social media is also getting better when combined with self-service. You can answer a customer's question by sharing a link to more information. And finally, self-service prevents repeat contacts. By showing customers how to help themselves, they won't need to contact you the next time they run into a problem.

So, online self-service is an important part of your social media customer service strategy. These two aspects go hand in hand in helping clients solve their problem easily and teaching other people how to prevent problems. Here are some tips you can use to make your website easier for your customers to use.

  1. Make self-service intuitive. Try to imagine things from the client's point of view. Once they open your website, where will they go in search of self-service? Are self-service options easy to find? Are they easy to use?
  2. Self-service should also be as complete as possible. One way to do this is to see what kind of help people are looking for. Many websites allow you to create reports on what customers are searching for. You can then make a list of the top 10 questions and try to find ways to answer them.
  3. The last tip is to update your self-service site. You want your customers to get the most up-to-date and correct information about your products or services. Make sure you work with the people responsible for the processes to catalog the data on your self-service website and keep it up to date.


We have tried to give you tips, methods and ideas for customer service through social networks. In fact, this is just a superficial part of a very deep topic that is constantly changing. Try to continue your education and read our other articles on customer service and interaction with them .