19 June 2015 | Team Tamar

Customer Service is key on social

For most customer facing companies, social media is often the first port of call for people who use their products or services to complain or ask questions. Unlike with an email address, it’s public – so you know you’re more likely to get a response, a more positive response for that matter, in order to protect the brand’s image.

Response Time

Source: Hubspot

Source: Hubspot.com

Despite this, a lot of companies on social media still fail to understand the importance of fast replies… and for some, replies at all. Ignoring a frustrated customer will often just cause the situation to escalate as they feel disrespected and unimportant.

According to a report by The Northridge Group, 33% of consumers who contact a brand using social media never get a response. Even ignoring the fact that 72% of consumers expect an answer within one hour, this is incredibly poor form for any company who wants to be taken seriously online and build a loyal fanbase.

There are obviously going to be industries that are more likely to suffer from this kind of (lack of) activity. Transport companies that have people complaining about delays and cancellations often need 24-hour community management. Another industry that should be extra vigilant with their response times on social is gaming services, like Xbox or PlayStation. Chances are, they’ll contact you because they can’t log on/connect; this is the kind of thing that the quicker you can resolve the issue, the better you look in the eyes of your customers.

ALL social comments matter

It’s not just negative comments that expect a response. Roughly 50% of consumers who give positive feedback and messages online also expect a response within one hour. Remember, these are the people that already like you, and have the potential to turn them into long-term brand advocates. To do this, it requires engagement and appreciation; show them that you really appreciate their loyalty and don’t just take it for granted.

General tips:

Crisis Management

Create a crisis management plan so your community managers are able to identify the different type of negative messages they may receive and how best to handle them

Template answers to maintain consistency

Aim to bring any genuine problem offline, or at least off social by directing the user to direct messages or an email address

Respond to all messages

Aim to respond to ALL communication that appears genuine, whether negative or positive

Know your industry

Figure out the expectations within your own industry, but don’t assume that if your competitors aren’t responding quickly that you don’t have to

Manage expectations

Write in your bioline whether you’ll be monitoring your feeds 24/7 or not, that way if it’s out of your usual office hours, users won’t get as irritated from having to wait for a response. See Nando’s or First Great Western for examples:

Nando's Twitter

First Great Westerm Twitter


Remember that negative feedback is pretty much a given for any brand, especially if you’re active on social media. Although it may be unavoidable, it is all about how you deal with it when it happens – sticking your head in the sand could be detrimental to your brand’s image and cost you a valued customer.

Team Tamar