How to Improve Brand Loyalty with Effective Social Media Customer Service This Holiday Season

When it comes to improving brand loyalty and securing repeat business, what do think matters the most?

High-quality products? Good value for money? Awesome advertising?

Sure, all of these factors make a difference.

But if there is one thing absolutely guaranteed to make a real, lasting impression on customers, and turn them into advocates of your brand… it’s world-class customer service.

People aren’t used to waiting for things anymore. We’ve got takeaway on demand, our favorite tv shows on demand – we have the same expectations for customer service. And where do people go when they need quick answers? Social media.

Social media customer service is a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd and position your brand as helpful, engaged, and customer-centric.

73% of customers stated that friendly customer service representatives are likely to make a positive impression, encouraging them to stick with a brand above the competition.

And when attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one, it makes sense to focus on delivering the best service, every time.

With the world still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, a seamless online experience for consumers is more important now than ever. Online retailers will face tough competition from Amazon (what’s new?) as consumers do their holiday spending online. It’s time to put the work into creating an unparalleled customer experience to help your eCommerce store stand out from the crowd.

Image via: GrooveHQ

Here are five ways to blow your competition out of the water, drive brand loyalty and turn your customers into brand advocates with effective social customer service.

1. Keep it Consistent 👯

Whether you’re a team of one or a team of 100, you want to be sure your brand voice is reflected consistently across your channels.

What’s your brand personality? Are you playful, irreverent and fun? Or are you helpful, thoughtful and polite? Make sure you know your key traits so those can filter down appropriately through all mediums, including social customer service.

Social media is by its nature an informal platform, so your language on Twitter may be different from your language via email. However, be sure to read the room: if a customer is expressing frustration, it’s probably not wise to try and diffuse the situation with a joke.

Stay true to your brand’s values and tone of voice through social, and try to speak to your customers on a human level. It’s about building positive relationships.

2. Know Your Relationship History 💌

As a customer, there’s nothing more frustrating than receiving multiple messages from a customer service team, hours (or even days) apart, repeatedly asking for the same information, or starting the conversation afresh.

Lots of businesses are set up for customer service teams to track history with ticketing systems (like Zendesk), but often this doesn’t extend to social media contact.

Whether you’re a solo community manager or a social media team, it’s important to do your due diligence on incoming messages to check the conversation history. You can even reply immediately to let them know that you’ve acknowledged the message and you’ll be back in touch shortly. This can help to mitigate any frustration the customer has.

From there, you can be equipped to deal with their problem without the risk of exacerbating the situation by showing that you aren’t aware of their previous contact. Make sure you express empathy with the situation to avoid them feeling like they have to break it down again to someone who doesn’t understand.

Example communication:

Hello Jan, it’s Lucie here from [brand] customer success team. I’m so sorry that you have had to contact us about this issue again. I can see that you were previously in touch with my colleague, Maya. Let me take a few minutes to get up to speed with the issue and I’ll be back shortly with an update for you. I’d really like to get this fixed for you ASAP! – Lucie

Now, you can go and undertake the necessary steps to remedy the issue without leaving them hanging (and possibly stewing).

Once you’ve found out the information you need, you can follow up again with next steps.

3. Use a Social Media Management Platform 🧑‍💻

Many social media management tools have in-built social inboxes which make it easy to stay on top of incoming messages in one place.

SmarterQueue’s Social Inbox sits seamlessly alongside its other features, so whilst you’re curating content for the month ahead or checking your social analytics, you’ll see a red notification at the top if you receive a message on Facebook or Twitter.

90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less.

HUBSPOT RESEARCH

From there, you can instantly reply to give your customers super-fast, efficient service.

Social Inbox

The great thing about tools like this is that often they allow you to save ‘canned’ responses, which you can simply update each time with relevant details.

Let’s take our previous example and make it into a canned reply, so you can see how quickly you could get back to someone for a recurring issue. You can create any number of saved replies (Snippets), e.g for new issues, recurring issues, price enquiries, collaboration requests…etc.

Recurring Issue Saved Reply Example

The bold words indicate the words you’d need to amend when sending your response.

Hello Ashleigh, it’s Lucie here from [X brand] customer success team. I’m so sorry that you have had to contact us about this issue again. I can see that you were previously in touch with my colleague, Maya. Let me take a few minutes to get up to speed with the issue and I’ll be back shortly with an update for you. I’d really like to get this fixed for you ASAP! – Lucie

4. Create Tailored Experiences 🪡

This is one of the most effective ways you can make your customers feel special, which will solidify their relationship with your brand.

Here’s a quick checklist of ways you can go the extra mile to tailor your social media customer service to your customers:

  • Greet them by name when replying (a cursory glance over their social profile should give you this information)
  • Take initiative: Try and minimize the steps your customer needs to take to get a solution. If they need to speak to someone over email, facilitate the introduction yourself to save them having to start again
  • Surprise and delight – a good CRM will let you see your customers’ purchase history, which you could use to offer them a bespoke gift or discount
  • At SmarterQueue, we’re fans of Loom for recording easy instructions with screen recordings to explain how to do something. This is much more personal and helpful than pointing to an existing Help article, and it’s often a time-saver in the long run.

5. Proactively Check for Mentions 🕵️‍♀️

You don’t need to wait for direct messages to roll in to deliver excellent social media customer service.

Let’s think about in-store service in high-end department stores or luxury boutiques. Do the staff hang back and wait, ignoring you, or do they smile, say hello, and ask if you need help?

Try to think of your social media customer service in the same proactive way.

SmarterQueue’s Engage platform lets you set up keywords to track on Twitter so that you’re always aware if your brand name is mentioned – even if they don’t directly tag you. You can even expand your search terms to catch mentions of the product or service your brand provides, so you can make yourself available to help if someone mentions it. You’re effectively waving them ‘hello’ as they enter the store.

The same rules apply online as offline: don’t be overly pushy or salesy, offer up friendly and polite help if your customer needs it.

Have you got any more effective social media customer service tips? How will you be adjusting your strategy during the holiday season? Leave your tips down below! 👇

Suzie Ryan

Suzie is a Content Marketer for SmarterQueue based in London, UK. She loves helping brands and businesses find their voice through content and storytelling; and is particularly fond of the creative possibilities of social media as a platform. When she’s not writing, she’ll be found somewhere in North London, seeking out the bars that serve G&Ts in goblets. 🍸