Every time a social customer service meltdown goes viral, tons of articles are written with headlines similar to:

-What to Learn From [company]’s Social Media Meltdown
-10 Tips to Avoid a PR and Social Media Disaster
-Top 5 Social Customer Service Mistakes

We’ve been putting so much effort on “companies who screwed up” that we’re not learning from the ones who are doing it right. There’s a ton of companies that totally rock at social customer service. They just get it! And we can definitely learn a thing or two from them.

Below are 5 social customer service hacks from 5 different types of companies. Read on and learn how to take your customer service to a more “social” level.

5 Successful Social Customer Service Strategies

Rich DeMatteo | Bad Rhino Social Media | Chief Social Rhino/Co-Owner

We are a social media agency from Philadelphia with a number of restaurants making up our client list. One of our clients recently updated their menu, which upset many of their long time customers. We’ve received a ton of direct messages right on our clients Facebook page, tweets tagging our client, and then many private Facebook messages. We’ve also found a ton of hidden messages on Twitter, not tagging our client. In all cases, we’ve escalated the complaints to the restaurant owner. When we respond back to the customers, we ask which of their favorite items have been removed and we’ve been tallying up to see which items might need to be added back to the menu. We utilize different tools and systems to ensure we locate messages quickly, escalate to the client, and respond back within a few hours or 24 hours maximum.

Sarah W. | Large beauty retailer | Customer Service Supervisor

While dealing with 1000+ phone calls and emails a day, social media is the go-to for some of our customers when they feel their voice has not been heard, taken seriously, or their concerns haven’t been resolved to their satisfaction. Social media gives our Customer Service Department the second chance to resolve customer’s issues in a timely manner. Our goal is to turn any unpleasant situation into a memorable one.

Customer service is our top priority, and we value all our customers’ social media feedback, whether it is negative or positive. The feedback we receive helps us determine common issues with a particular location, or website complication that needs to be immediately addressed. These comments and concerns are investigated with full attention, and we always make sure to thank our social media fans and inform them of any status along the way. Showing that you care for the issue at hand, and are doing everything to properly resolve the matter, goes a long way!

social customer service

Eva McKnight | Formstack | PR Specialist

We use Twitter as a platform for customer questions and feedback. As a web-based business that engages customers around the world, a customer needing help cannot simply visit our office. We have a specific support system for our product, but customers needing help with their form builder can also tweet us with questions. If they have already submitted a support ticket through our system, Twitter allows us to alert our support team, and their ticket becomes a priority. Multiple employees have the company Twitter account synced to our phones, so customers with product questions or concerns quickly receive feedback from a member of the team.

Alyssa Beck | Garrett Popcorn | Customer Experience Representative

Social media dramatically impacts customer service. When a customer writes a complaint on our Facebook page, the social media manager will direct them to a customer service representative to solve the issue quickly. A lot of times our customers will also praise our company on our social media sites, which also brings more customers. If they originally had an issue with x y or z, but it was resolved in a timely manner, they will promote how our customer service was above satisfactory. It provides a chance for our company to take a negative situation and turn it into something positive.

Scott Hancock | Marketing Plus | Public Relations & Social Media Manager

As the social media manager here in our office, we manage the Facebook and Twitter (at minimum) for a variety of clients. My standard approach with these platforms is “acknowledge in public, solve in private.” i.e. on a fruit client’s page a few weeks back, an irate customer posted how disgusted she was with them (apparently she had sent an email through their website that had gone unnoticed.) In the public forum, I apologized profusely, empathized with her about the frustration she must be feeling, and told her that this is not normally how we conduct business and would get to the bottom of it.

I sent her a private message and got her email address. A few emails back and forth, and then she was actually apologizing on Facebook for being so “impatient”. She had now become a brand ambassador for our client. Along with the solving in private, the general public gets to see that the company does take every comment seriously and will deal with each issue.

Tell us about your positive experience with social customer service by commenting below. Whether you’re the representative, social media manager, or the customer, we’d love to hear from you!

About the Author: Shannon Callarman is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Cubicle Ninjas. She’s the tiny ninja behind the CN Twitter. You can also follow her on Google+.

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2 Comments

  • Excellent ideas on how to use Social Media for customer service. It has almost become expected by consumers, hasn’t it? At a minimum, I think, the brand/company, needs to have a plan of action in place for when negative comments are posted or tweeted. It’s going to happen to everyone because you can’t please everyone all of the time! Sometimes these situations can make or break customer relations.

    Thanks for the great article — definitely will share!

    • Shannon Callarman says:

      Thanks Jennifer! I feel like most of us have a bad taste in our mouth when we think of customer service. We’re constantly dreading calling the company’s customer service line and would never think they’d respond to Twitter. But when we unexpectedly experience great customer service, we let it go unnoticed. I respect consumers who take the time to respond by saying “thanks for your help” on social media. It truly makes a difference in a SM manager or a customer service rep’s life.

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