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Why social media should become your center for customer service

Social media has quickly grown to become an essential part of modern business, but many people view it one-dimensionally for its marketing benefits. However, at its core, social media is about communication, and that makes it a perfect fit for your customer service strategy.

If you aren’t already using social media as an integral medium for your customer-facing communications, consider the benefits:

Instant Communication

Your customers won’t have to worry about getting an auto-response email or waiting 24 to 48 hours to get a response, and they won’t have to worry about getting lost in a maze-like phone menu. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to respond to your customers immediately. If you can respond to customer inquiries within minutes, your customers will not only be satisfied with the experience—they’ll be impressed.

Brand Conversations Become More Personal

Because your social media conversation will be driven by an individual behind the brand, your customer service will be much more personal on social platforms. Since modern customers tend to be skeptical of brand or corporate communications, they’re much more trusting of individuals. Making your corporate brand voice seem more individual will allow you to form more personal relationships with your customers that persist over the course of years.

Communication Becomes Transparent

For some companies, this may seem like a liability, but it’s actually a benefit. On social media, your communication threads are publicly available. This is beneficial in several ways; first, it proactively answers common customer questions. Second, you have the chance to show off your commitment; if you give helpful answers to other customers, new visitors will start out with a positive idea of your brand.

Your Social Visibility Skyrockets

Every time you engage with a customer on social media, your brand is mentioned, which can greatly enhance your social visibility. For example, let’s say you have a brief dialogue with a customer on Twitter. In each piece of the conversation, the customer will mention your brand name, which will be visible to any of that customer’s friends and followers, some of whom may have never heard of you. This instantly expands your social network, and gives customers an excuse to do some of your promotion for you.

Follow-Up Opportunities Abound

While you may not be able to automate the follow-up experience the way you can with emails, social media has a perfect setup for following up with your customers. All you’ll have to do is check on your interactions over the past few days. Look for any situations that weren’t resolved, and post a new comment in the thread asking if there’s anything else you can do.

Social Customers Will Talk About the Experience

The types of people who use social media for customer service are the types of people who thrive on social media in general. They have a lot of friends and followers, and aren’t afraid to post on a near-constant basis. If you give these people a great customer service experience, they’re highly likely to brag about that experience to their social circles, giving your reputation a massive boost and possibly earning you some referral traffic.

Your customers need your attention and your care, and social media could be the best way to handle them. Start small, by paying close attention to inbound customer inquiries on Facebook and Twitter, and then gradually expand by encouraging your existing customers to try reaching out to you via those platforms. Eventually, you may need to hire a dedicated “social customer service” representative, but in the short-term your social media manager or customer service lead can handle the role.

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