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Using Social Media for Customer Service: How and When to Monitor and Respond

In my last two blogs in the “Using Social Media for Customer Service” series I talked about why customer service matters on social media and what exactly it is that customers are looking for. Once you know where your customers are reaching out and what their expectations are, it’s now time to impress them.

Game Plan

1. Monitor Your Brand

The first step in practicing effective social-media customer service is making sure you follow everything being said about your brand online so you can listen in for issues and respond when needed. For this, you might need a social media monitoring tool. To get started, there are plenty of free tools, including:

  • Google Alerts – Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
  • Social Mention – Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, and videos.

2. Know When to Step In

But even as you monitor, know that not every mention, or even every complaint, is an invitation to enter a conversation.

A Netbase survey that asked consumers how they felt about social listening from brands revealed that more than half wanted to be able to talk about companies on social media without them paying attention. Many even believe brand listening is a direct invasion of their privacy.

Measuring Success

So how will you measure your progress when it comes to impressing customers on social media? Here are a few customer-service metrics to consider.

1. Volume of Messages

The obvious place to start is: How many customer requests, issues and problems are you responding to every period?

Total volume tells you a couple of things: How big the workload is, how many people you need on your team to keep customer happiness high and whether you’re answering more questions or fewer.

2. Resolution Rate

We’ve established that speed is really important in social media customer service, so it only makes sense to measure timing issues like average time it takes to answer a question or resolve a problem. You can set goals such as “Respond to 60% of issues within 2 hours” and work to improve this rate over time.

3. Customer Happiness

Lastly, it’s important to get an idea of how customers are feeling about your brand overall. You can quantify this by collecting your social media mentions per reporting period and then analyzing them by sentiment, such as positive, negative or neutral.

Mention is another great service that collects this information in a report showing all the channels your mentions are coming from. Here is what their dashboard looks like when all your channels are connected.

The Bottom Line

Most companies view social media as a marketing medium for outbound messaging, but customers expect more than just posts touting products. Customers are also willing to reward brands that go the extra mile to please them.

Using social media as a customer service channel allows you an additional way to impress customers. If you missed my previous blogs, take a look here at Why Customer Service Matters and What Customers Want for more ways to stay on top on the social media customer service game.