Social Media Customer Service Overview

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  • 0:03 Tweet Your Cares Away
  • 1:04 Social Media and…
  • 2:00 Customers on Social Media
  • 3:07 Handling Service Requests
  • 3:53 Proceed with Caution
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Social media for customer service? Today, more customers are turning to exactly this platform to get their problems solved. In this lesson, you'll learn more about using social media to handle customer service inquiries.

Tweet Your Cares Away

Tom has an issue with his normally reliable billing arrangement with his favorite music streaming company. For months, unbeknownst to him, Tom has been receiving duplicate bills from the company, which means he's been making duplicate monthly payments. When he notices the problem, he's already $100 in the hole. In a panic, he emails the company and then calls but can't get in contact with anyone in a speedy manner.

As a last-ditch attempt to reach a customer service representative with the company, he hops on his Twitter account and fires off a message for help, mentioning the company's name in the text. Within minutes, he has a reply to his message and a customer service representative has sent him a private message. The extra payments Tom's been making are refunded to his account the same day.

Welcome to the 21st century, a time when your favorite athletes, musicians and brands are only a click away. In fact, social media, using online methods communication methods to share information, is becoming as much about facilitating customer service, helping customers with their needs, as it is about staying connected with friends and family. In this lesson, you'll learn more about using social media as a customer service tool.

Social Media and Customer Service

Facebook and Twitter seem the likely spots where customers might try to reach out to a brand for help with a customer service matter, but newer platforms like Instagram and even Snapchat are slowly climbing the ranks of social platforms turned service channels.

For example, monthly subscription company Birchbox is stretching the capabilities of the picture messaging app, Snapchat, by recently encouraging its fans to call the company using the social media tool's voice and video chat features.

Quick-serve restaurant chain Denny's Diner has led the customer service charge on Instagram, giving followers the option to call or email the brand, as well as share their takeout or delivery experiences through Snapchat.

And, of course, brands continue to connect with consumers on Facebook, either through posts or private messaging, and on Twitter, where an appropriately labeled hashtag or mention can catch a brand's eye and facilitate an interaction within minutes (like our music streaming service example in the lesson opener).

There's just one catch: The expectations customers have regarding customer service in the age of social media have changed ... dramatically.

Customers on Social Media

Customers on social media are likely to ask the same types of questions they would if they were to call, email, or chat with you. Here are a few examples:

  • Account-related questions, such as billing or technical issues
  • Complaints about products, shipping, fees, or policies
  • Service or warranty requests
  • Questions about your products, services, or company
  • Urgent matters ranging from power outages to identity theft

Customer service agents responding to customer requests on social media should be prepared to handle any type of situation that might be addressed through another channel. For customers, social media has simply presented another (quicker) channel for getting resolutions to their concerns.

And, speaking of quicker, social media customer service must be on its toes. Why? The speed with which we are able to find information online today means that customers aren't willing to wait for answers. A study performed by Twitter explained that more than 70 percent of its users who reach out to a brand for answers expect an answer with 60 minutes. The days of sending an email and waiting 24-48 hours for a response or calling and waiting on hold for 45 minutes are over. Customers expect timely and efficient responses to their inquiries.

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