Just when we thought we, as social media strategists and community managers, could rest up from the twists and turns of the last 18 months, the holiday season is upon us.
It feels like it could be a doozy.
- Global supply chain challenges are causing significant inventory gaps for some.
- A tight labor market causes other delays, shortages, or increased prices.
- Some families are gathering for the first holiday season in two years, and the expectations are HIGH.
Heightened customer expectations and consumer demands equate to a potential increase in the velocity of service inquiries. Sprout Social predicts a rise of 44% more messages on Instagram if last year’s trends continue and a 14% increase in Twitter messages.
Avoid Social Customer Care Burnout
With this challenge, of course, comes new opportunities to provide trust-building service to your potential and current customers.
Before we move into how to mobilize your company to provide extraordinary social customer care, this is a great time to remind everyone reading that social media community managers are grappling with burnout:
- The faucet never stops. You can set hours, scale teams, and establish processes, but this work never turns off.
- Daily jobs can consist of wading through endless hateful comments, especially on platforms like Twitter which is full of a polarized political scene.
- It’s harder and harder to break through and get a significant creative win, especially when expected to wear the hats of designer, video editor, copywriter, strategist, and customer service representative.
That takes us to the first recommendations for activating an excellent customer experience on social media this holiday season:
Train Your Social Care Team
If your social media manager is the only one serving as your organization’s social media customer service center, you need to rethink your approach.
As the demands ramp up, ensure you meet as a team and determine the resources you need to deliver the experience you want. Ideally, integrate your customer service team directly into your social listening inboxes.
Train anyone involved in responding to consumers on social media, so they understand the context of where they are playing, how it’s different from traditional customer service, and the brand’s social media voice and tone.
Establish Guidelines That Encourage Maximum Transparency (and Yes, Even Disappointment!)
During this season, you may not have good news for all. But all complaints or questions need a response.
Decide now how you can be the MOST transparent as possible in your response strategy, understanding that you don’t always (and can’t always) SOLVE the issue, but you can ALWAYS hear the issue.
Edison Research discovered that not answering a complaint results in a 50% decrease in advocacy. However, responding to a complaint results in a 25% increase in advocacy. NOTE: that did not say SOLVING a customer’s issue. Responding alone increases advocacy.
Consider the following:
- What will you not respond to?
- How will you respond to positive comments?
- When do you respond with a full response vs. a simple acknowledgment?
- When will you move conversations “off-stage” and into a more private channel like a DM?
Ensure Your Community Management Team Has The Right Software
If you don’t have a social listening tool in place, now may be the season to invest in a tool. Setting up your tools to make it easy to identify, respond to, and catalog customer inquiries will save huge amounts of time.
Today, many tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite that you may already be using for posting have add-ons for listening. There are also stand-alone tools like Meltwater that can provide an extra layer of support.
Make Contacting Customer Service Easy and Accessible
In your social media bios, add other places where customers can receive service along with the hours and contact information.
Use Integrated Social Tools To Respond To and Organize Responses
Each social channel has a set of tools that can help you provide information and organize your response.
Program automatic/quick replies for frequently asked questions. On Instagram, set up an FAQ Highlight that answers all frequently asked questions, so people don’t have to leave the app when looking for an answer.
If you aren’t using a social media monitoring system, utilize the message status capabilities within your social media inboxes, so you can filter based on messages that need a response.
May Your Social Care be Merry and Prepared
The best thing leaders can do is equip their teams with the necessary resources to scale social media service smoothly. In the best-case scenario, you won’t need them. But realistically, there will be a point in time where this preparation will ensure a better customer AND employee experience.