Handling Social Media Customer Service
If your business has social media accounts, you will eventually need to give customer service on social media. Are you set up to handle that? Are your accounts set up to notify you when you have new comments and messages? Go into the settings of each account and make sure they are set to notify you at an email address you check regularly. Not answering people concerns on social media makes it seem like you don’t care.
Customer service can be reactive or proactive.
I’ll use our former business, a vegan bakery, as an example. One way we used to practice proactive customer service with the bakery is that we would monitor Twitter mentions of “vegan” and “Atlanta”. Lots of people find themselves traveling here for work or some other reason and they need information on where they can get vegan food here. So there are regularly posts on Twitter like this. Unless they asked a more specific question, we would usually respond by giving them the link to Happy Cow, a list of vegan and vegan friendly restaurants for travelers. We didn’t say “come eat here.” We were listed on Happy Cow with favorable reviews so if they wanted the type of food we offered they had the information to make that decision.
Sometimes, people would specifically ask where they could go if they were staying downtown without a car. In that case, we would give them the same link but also mention that we were located right next to a MARTA station and it’s very easy to get there from downtown.
Another thing we would do is retweet the request to our followers. Many of our customers would love to help other vegans by recommending their favorite restaurants and resources to them. We were of the same mind. We just wanted other vegans to enjoy all that Atlanta had to offer, whether they came to see us or not. This kind of attitude comes across to current and future customers and really makes you a part of the community.
Folks will mention you all the time. Sometimes just talking about you, sometimes talking at you. Pretty much all of these deserve an acknowledgement of some kind. Some of these present you with a way to provide a little above and beyond customer service that will be unexpected. Especially if you know your competition doesn’t faithfully monitor their social media, very little effort can really give you an edge.
Here’s a variety of examples from our old bakery’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram streams where we were monitoring our accounts and offered proactive customer service.
This customer asked about their favorite cookies. We made them some.
This customer came into our bakery a little surprised everything was vegan. But just an answer to them softened their tone.
This regular customer asked that we put something aside for her. Because we monitored our accounts, we saw it and did so for her.
This person commented on our very gluten-full sandwich special to see if we had any gluten-free options. So we responded with the choices we had that day.
This person placed an order for burger buns via Facebook message.
Another request to put aside some cookies that we were happy to fulfill.
Someone else wanted to make sure to get a pumpkin whoopie pie and of course we saved her one.
You might be thinking that it’s not worth going to the trouble of monitoring social media for these small sales. But you’d be wrong. Again, this kind of customer service shows how much you care. And we did! Customers will pay you back with loyalty and by sharing their good experiences with you with their friends. And sometimes that happens on social media.
A customer showed off his breakfast with us.
Another customer recommended us in the comments of someone else’s post from another restaurant.
And there are loads more examples like this I could pull from our social media streams. But most importantly, I hope that this post helped you understand the importance of social media customer service. It might seem overwhelming to try to keep track of all of this, but it can be manageable, even for a food service business with a small staff. In future posts, I will talk about some of the shortcuts and tools I would use to help us keep on top of social media customer service.