These days, when customers have questions about the products they order, they turn to Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. In fact, 64% of customers now prefer to send a message to a business than to call them on the phone. That means tools like Facebook Messenger or Instagram DM are becoming the new hub of customer service.
But even though social media was always meant to be conversation-driven where brands and customers interact on a close basis, most brands leave their comments and DMs unanswered. According to a survey from Hootsuite, 71% of brands have yet to start investing in customer service on social media.
In this article, we’ll share how you can start tapping into this missed opportunity (with limited resources) and differentiate your brand.
Customer service is specifically post-sales support, where shoppers who have already placed an order with you ask about the status of their shipment, why a product arrived damaged, how they can initiate a return, and so on.
While brands also need to pay attention to pre-sale comments, these types of interactions are distinct from customer service. “Customer care” refers to the support given to people who haven’t bought from you yet, and we go into more detail on it here.
Good customer service is vital because it can turn a one-time buyer into a longtime customer. Brands know that it’s far cheaper to sell to a returning customer than to convert a new one. Investing in customer service to ensure people come back to you therefore can save you a lot of money.
Gartner recently predicted that 60% of all customer service requests will be handled digitally by 2023. Much of that customer service is happening on three channels: Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
The direct-to-consumer brand Albany Park makes a point of responding to nearly every comment on its Instagram account. Whether it is thanking customers for positive feedback or responding to issues with orders, Albany Park is always engaging its customers.
Albany Park is also especially attentive to post-sale questions. At times, Instagram commenters complain about shipping delays or to ask whether their order is still on the way. Albany Park responds to these comments and DMs quickly and with a sense of urgency. It promises to fix the problem “asap,” and it makes the customer feel validated.
The deodorant brand Curie shows how Instagram has, for many customers, become a vital supplement for other forms of customer service. If a shopper is having trouble getting help on their orders by phone or email, they’ll take to Instagram. There, they know they’ll get a response.
Take, for example, the interaction below, in which a customer looking to speak to a representative uses the comments to request the best place to reach Curie staff. Curie responded quickly and added an estimated response time.
Pair Eyewear is a major hit on TikTok. Many of its customers not only discover the glasses brand on TikTok, but they also use TikTok to pose product-related questions. Pair Eyewear understands the importance of meeting these customers where they are, and it is proactive about answering comments related to shipping policy, damaged orders, and more.
Here’s an interaction on a recent TikTok video, in which a customer complained about the difficulty getting in touch with customer service through traditional channels.
If the comment is public, you should direct the customer to DM you this info.
These comments are easy to respond to, and they absolutely should not be left hanging—just apologize for the inconvenience and direct them to DM you so their problem can be resolved.
You can see an example of how to handle these types of comments below, from the deodorant maker Schmidt’s Naturals. The company took the feedback seriously and asked for more details over DM.
Brands need to design rules internally that outline how often comments and DMs should be read and responded to. It’s a way to ensure that customers aren’t left hanging. At Chatdesk, we recommend that DMs and comments be read multiple times a day.
Generally, though, it’s a good idea to move to DM. DMs let brands provide more personalized service, based on the specifics of each person’s order.
You should also acknowledge the frustration at hand in every reply. An “Oh no!” or “We are so sorry to hear this” shows more sensitivity than simply asking a customer to DM you, with no acknowledgement of their frustration.
If you aren’t responsive, potential future customers will see that you aren’t paying attention to your comments section. Fairly or not, they may assume it reflects a failure of your customer service generally. Increasingly, people see how brands engage with their comments as a reflection of their values.
We understand that customer service on social media can be a lot to manage, especially for an up-and-coming brand with countless other things to worry over. That’s why we recommend leaning on an outside specialist.
At Chatdesk, we are able to provide expert representatives who can answer your DMs and comments as they roll in, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or more. Chatdesk’s flexible pricing rules mean you can pay for as much, or as little, customer support as you need.