Your customers are probably on social media, which means they’re talking about your company and products or services — whether you’re listening or not.
If you’re not listening, you’re missing out on potential conversations, brand mentions, and relationship-building opportunities with your customers. What’s more, if your company isn’t using social media, you might actually be disappointing your customers. According to one study, 60% of people believe social media is the best place for companies to provide customer service.
Salesforce’s Social Studio allows you to join in the conversation with your customers. As Vice President of Solutions, Digital Marketing at RelationEdge, I’ve helped companies use Social Studio to manage customer service across social media channels. With this robust tool, you can delight customers at every step on the path from lead to loyalty, while also gathering valuable social data.
The key to succeeding with Social Studio is to establish a process, understand the capabilities of the tool, and respect your customers’ data.
Here are some of our best practices — and mistakes to avoid — when using Social Studio to improve your customer service.
Which Teams Can Use Social Studio?
Social Studio is a leading social listening tool that makes it easy to create and manage support cases by monitoring customer posts on channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
This can involve numerous teams at your company — marketing, customer service, and even IT may all have a part to play. For instance, you may use Social Studio to filter messages and inquiries based on topic, then prioritize and assign them to marketing, sales, or service team members depending on who is best suited to respond. Social Studio can also help you identify potential new leads from incoming requests or questions, allowing you to bring sales or marketing team members into the conversation early.
If more than one department will be using Social Studio, we recommend having one centralized team oversee the strategy and provide the vision for how your company will use social media. Within Social Studio, you can set up multiple social media workspaces so each team has a workspace that’s specific to their needs. This way, different teams can work within the tool without tripping over each other as they tweet, post, or snap.
While Social Studio can and should be used across different teams to benefit your entire company, the benefits of this powerful solution may be most seen in your customer service department. Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report revealed that 71% of customers use social media to communicate with companies, and 34% rated social media as a preferred channel for communication. If you’re not serving your customers across the right social media channels, you’re likely to be left in the dust.
Using Social Studio to Improve Your Customer Service
Social Studio makes it easy for your customer service team to stay on top of social listening. You can set up keywords and classifiers that help you flag your customer service team when an issue needs to be resolved. Keywords are used to frame the conversation you want to follow; they are used to establish context and need to be refreshed over time as the relevancy evolves over time. You can organize keywords into groups, which can be used to direct posts to different teams to spread the load and get your customers the information they need. For example, questions about a sale can be routed to your sales team, while your customer service team can be flagged when customers are having a problem with a product.
Selecting the right keywords for effective complaint monitoring takes a lot of trial and error — it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it feature. Try testing keyword groups and combinations. It’s important to regularly monitor your social media accounts and adjust your keywords as needed. This will help your customer service team monitor complaints more effectively and deliver exceptional service on social media.
Social Studio also allows you to set topic profiles. You can categorize conversations by brand, competitor, and industry to provide more specific data on your customers’ needs. It’s even sophisticated enough to apply context to the conversations, so your customer service team isn’t pinged every time a company or product with a similar name is mentioned.
Not sure what to ask Social Studio to listen for on social media? Read our blog post on what you should be monitoring.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
We sometimes see companies get excited about using social media and then make simple mistakes that could be easily avoided with a little forethought. As you use Social Studio and interact with your consumers on social media, be aware of the following common mistakes.
Making It a One-Sided Conversation
Often, companies will use social media to highlight their products and services without listening to anyone else. Would you hang out with a person who never stops talking and doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise? Neither will your customers. Think two-way communication.
Don’t ask for an email address or other personal information publicly. Take conversations to direct messages or other, more private forms of communication. This respects your customers’ privacy while also making it easier for you to track the conversation.
Failing to handle your customers’ cases in a respectful, honest, and secure way can seriously damage your relationship with them. One recent study found that the two most common reasons customers call out brands on social media are for dishonesty (60%) and bad customer service (59%).
Protecting the privacy of your customers’ information goes beyond respect and reputation — it’s also the law, and you can face hefty fines if you aren’t careful with how you handle customer data. I’ll speak more about this in the following section on data privacy.
Forgetting to Set Expectations
Tell your customers when you will be monitoring social media accounts. If you won’t be monitoring all the time, give consumers an alternative path, such as a phone number or a link to your website to open a customer service ticket. Salesforce suggests that 42% of customers expect a response on social media within one hour. If you can’t meet this response rate, set clear expectations with your audience to avoid frustration.
Failing to Define a Process for Social Customer Service
Most mistakes can be avoided by having a defined process for your social customer service. Don’t start using Social Studio and expect your customer service team to magically know what to do — establish clear procedures for them to follow. What is the first step to take when a customer makes a complaint? What is the process for taking a customer conversation from a social media platform onto a more private channel? What should an employee do when they need to escalate a customer case to someone higher up the chain?
These are just a few of the situations you should address with a clearly documented process, to help employees understand how to navigate Social Studio properly and how to best represent your brand when communicating with consumers. Remember, if you don’t have a defined process, you can’t fix it when it breaks.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Privacy
Providing exceptional customer service means respecting your customers’ data. Has anyone who lives in Europe or is a citizen of the European Union (EU) interacted with your company online? Then GDPR applies to you.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a law that regulates data privacy for everyone within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA. This means no matter where your company is located, if you communicate with consumers who are citizens of the EU, you must comply with GDPR.
Local data privacy laws will also apply to your company. To make sure you comply with all laws and regulations, always:
- Explain to your customers what data you’re asking for and why
- Require double opt-in for your email subscribers
- Stay on top of applicable laws as you collect and manage customer data — speak to the legal team at your company if you’re ever in doubt about customer data laws
Setting up a process as you start using Social Studio can ensure you comply with data privacy laws, while also offering high-quality social customer service that will satisfy your customers.
Great Customer Service is Social
At RelationEdge, we not only implement and customize Social Studio for your business, we can also help you create and streamline your process for using this tool and other Salesforce tools successfully. Our team of Marketing Cloud experts will partner with you to understand your business’ social media needs, how you currently use social media to engage with your audience, and your goals for your ongoing social media presence. This enables us to implement and optimize Social Studio with the right features and toolsets for your unique business needs.
Our services don’t stop at just implementation — our Digital Agency team is here to help you make the most of tools like Social Studio and improve engagement across your social media channels. With RelationEdge Digital Agency, you get a team of digital marketing and social media experts. We’ll help you understand your target market, which social channels they frequent, and what types of communication work best to foster engagement with your brand.
Using our Process First. Technology Second.® approach, we ensure that your company has effective and efficient processes in place to get the best results from your technology solution. Contact us today to learn more about Social Studio and how we can help you improve the customer experience for your business.