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Top 5 tips for handling customer service on social media

By Fiona Dow |

August 13, 2013 | 3 min read

With a third of Brits saying that they would complain about bad service using social media, Fiona Dow, PR and social media analyst at Equator, provides her top tips on handling customer service on social media.

1. Don’t shy away from social media

Put yourself in a customer’s shoes: they’re using a social account anyway, they can contact you on the go and they don’t need to deal with a call centre. It might feel daunting – but by being ready to help where the customer needs you, you are by default providing good service.

2. Set up standalone customer service profiles

No one wants a Twitter feed cluttered with apologetic @ messages or a Facebook timeline full of complaints. Take lead from companies like Orange or My Cake Decorating and assist customers on dedicated accounts. Let your brand take the spotlight on your main profiles.

3. Focus on the good things – and let your staff know about them!

Champion, share and reward people saying nice things about your brand. In an age where many are de-sensitised to social media shaming, nice words can have more impact – and are more common than you might think. Keep staff outside of the marketing team updated on positive comments too; it’s motivating and will help people operate with the social consumer in mind.

4. Know when to give up

Some customers will never be happy, and may even complain with the goal of getting unreasonably compensated. Turn negative comments into positive ones where you can, but sometimes it’s best to politely move on, diverting customers offline to traditional customer service channels if needs be.

5. Be human

Be nice, use the customer’s name…light humour might even work if it’s appropriate and fits the brand. If a customer arrives through a social channel, chances are they’ll be expecting a sociable response. Making them feel fobbed off with a standardised message risks turning a mildly irritated customer into an infuriated one.

This interview is part of our social media supplement, out on 2 August.


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