Are you using your small business’s social media accounts to provide customer service? Even if you aren’t, your customers may be. That is, they may be using your company’s Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts to contact you with questions, complain about your brand or ask other customers for solutions to problems.
A study by Sprout Social reported in Marketing Daily found that the number of social media messages sent to companies on Twitter or Facebook that required a response from the company grew by 175 percent in the past year. But while customers are getting more active in seeking responses from businesses on social media, businesses are getting less responsive. The time it takes a business to respond to social messages, Sprout Social reports, has grown from an average of 10.9 hours to 11.3 hours. What’s more, plenty of messages aren’t getting responses at all. Fewer than 20 percent of customer queries or complaints on Facebook and Twitter receive a response, the study found.
The good news in the study is that companies with fewer followers (under 1,000) were the most responsive, but even they still ignored four out of five customer queries—while bigger brands (with 10,000 or more followers) ignore a whopping 93 percent of queries.
How can you improve your response rates and times to provide better customer service on social media?
- Restructure how you handle customer service. Make sure your customer service team is integrated with your social media team, rather than separate departments that don’t communicate. Either make customer service part of social media’s job, or have your social team reply to social queries, then pass them on to the customer service team.
- Set timing standards and monitor them. Create standards such as responding to complaints within 30 minutes and to questions within an hour—or whatever is realistic for your business to accomplish.
- Create standard replies for common issues. Use commonly asked questions on social media to develop new FAQs (frequently asked questions) that you can post on your website and to which you can direct customers. Also create standard replies you can cut and paste into social media accounts so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time.
- Create separate social media customer service accounts. As your number of social media followers grows, consider creating a separate Facebook page or Twitter handle where customers can contact you with problems and concerns. This way, you can be rapidly responsive to those accounts and ensure that customer queries don’t get lost on your general social media pages.
Web.com’s Reputation Alert service can help you track what people are saying about your business on social media. Learn more about Reputation Alert.