Social media customer care doesn’t sound like something worth an entire article…
After all, social media has been with us for a while. We know that customer care is important, we have business pages on multiple platforms, we reply to messages and direct tweets, solve tickets, and gradually forget how to use a phone. What else is there to do?
Unfortunately, it turns out that most of us don’t do even that. Social media customer care suffers from a sheer lack of attention. Research shows that brands reply to only 11% of customers. And that’s while we know that customers expect brands to provide urgent and helpful customer support on every platform including social media.
As well, I’m here to prove that social media customer care is a mixture of art and science, as all best things are. It’s there to not just tune down dissatisfaction of a single customer for whatever went wrong, it’s a marketing channel that can attract new clients and make the existing ones come back again and again and, possibly, again.
To get an idea of how to achieve that, let’s turn to brands whose social media customer service is on the absolute top, and look at specific examples that I find most educational.
Note that the examples provided are taken from Twitter. Twitter has become a go-to channel for customer service, so most outstanding replies exist exactly there. However, everything you can learn regarding excellent customer service on Twitter can be transferred to all other social media channels; nothing in there can be applied exclusively to Twitter in any way.
1. Urban Decay
Urban Decay is an American cosmetics brand, a subsidiary of French cosmetics company L’Oréal. I’ve never seen them included in any social media marketing top list, but they absolutely deserve it. Just look at this tweet:
This tweet is neither a complaint nor a praise, at least not directly a praise. Replying to it isn’t necessary and wouldn’t work as a testimonial. Yet, the brand replied and showed with this reply that their customer service is absolutely excellent for two reasons:
#1. They noticed the tweet.
Look at the tweet again. It wasn’t directed at the brand. It didn’t use their Twitter handle, it didn’t even use the brand name. How did Urban Decay even notice it?
While we can’t be sure, I assume they use a social monitoring tool to find mentions of their brand as well as specific products (check out Awario to get an idea of how they work). This allows Urban Decay to retweet, engage, and help those who simply voice their frustration or delight regarding the brand online and who don’t even expect a reaction from the company. That’s taking customer service one step further.
#2. They were authentic.
Not only did the cosmetics company use the opportunity to engage with the customer, but they also did it in a funny and edgy way. Exactly what you’d expect from a brand that’s called “Urban Decay”! In case you’re unfamiliar with the “hide yo kids, hide yo wife” urban legend, here’s a video:
Casper sells sleep products online. Truth be told, Casper is sort of a legend of the social media universe. Their social media customer care is seamless most of the time. But the example that I want to show you is this one:
Notice how Casper mimics the tone of the complaining customer? How it offers suggestions even though the customer is clearly unsatisfied with the brand?
While the brand realizes they’ve probably already lost this one particular customer, it doesn’t stop them from attracting new ones. For example, the ones that might check out the links out of curiosity or because they’re looking for the best products, and, finally, they don’t have to choose – they have a couple picked by the makers (we know that choice isn’t always good for conversion, to say the least).
Etsy is an eCommerce website focused on unique, often handmade and vintage items. Being a huge site with a couple of millions of followers on social media platforms, it’s obviously hard for Etsy to keep customer service excellent. To make it better and easier, they introduced social media hacks that every business large enough should consider.
If you take their Twitter account, they don’t just have an account for Etsy. Nor do they just have country-based accounts (many international businesses do that). In addition to these, they’ve got Etsy Support and Etsy Success. First, it’s a good idea to divide and conquer, as we all know from grim history lessons. Second, have you ever decided to tweet a complaint to a company, opened their business page and got even more angry and annoyed with every promotional and positive post, because you’ve got a real problem here and you don’t care about their latest discount on whatever it is? Thought so.
So with Etsy, you go straight to the Support page on Twitter where you can see the team resolving everyone’s problems. No need to say that Etsy’s replies are quick, polite, and mostly helpful.
Etsy Success, by the way, is a Twitter page that helps people run their business on Etsy. Creative, thoughtful, obviously not applicable to most businesses – but worth a quick praise anyway.
A fast-food chain Wendy’s has probably the most scandalous, funny, and legen-wait-for-it-dary social media customer care (if the word “care” is even applicable here) style.
It reacts to many complaints in this way:
and this way:
It’s a perfect relationship in which customers troll Wendy’s and Wendy’s trolls customers. As a result, they have the most engaged social media pages ever and are constantly featured on different news outlets. Potential customers start following Wendy’s social pages for a laugh and end up becoming real customers while free publicity basically follows the fast-food chain through their whole existence.
Despite being fun and edgy (sometimes properly rude), Wendy’s still acts promptly and helpful when real complaints take place, and you can imagine how many they get as a fast-food chain. Not a single victim of a poor burger gets ignored.
Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer based in Las Vegas. I genuinely hope that in Las Vegas everyone is as fun and client-oriented as Zappos. In their Twitter bio, the retailer claims that service is their game, and it’s hard to argue with that statement. Zappos replies to every tweet, they do it quickly, with humor and personal style. They post emojis and GIFs and act like your regular social media obsessed college student while being genuinely helpful.
Here’s a tweet I’d like to show you to illustrate the genius of Zappos customer service:
Notice how they also obviously monitor the brand name (“Zappos” is used without a Twitter handle) and notice how they take every opportunity to attract attention. The tweet wasn’t even about the company – its author probably has no idea Zappos exists – and yet, the brand replies and does it in a funny way. Wouldn’t you want to check out what they are? And then maybe remember them when you need new shoes? That’s when the line between customer care and customer acquisition becomes rather vague.
First, I genuinely hope these examples inspire you to look differently at social media customer care. Customer care isn’t just about sending a ready-made answer to tons of unhappy customers, it can also be a creative and entertaining process, both for you and your customers.
Second, inspiration is important, but let’s summarize some key lessons from these examples:
- Monitor your brand name and the names of your products on social media.
- Make use of internet culture: when engaging with customers, remember that you can use memes, viral video, emojis, GIFs, and other attributes to make the conversation more entertaining and attention-grabbing. Do it when appropriate, of course.
- Be funny or hire someone with a sense of humor to do the job. Often enough, you just have to make your customer (or the ones watching) laugh.
- Remember, putting customer service first doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take a chance to promote your product. A link to your best or hottest products might attract new clients when placed smartly.
- Consider creating separate social pages for different kinds of customer service.