It’s like this – if you have a business that has a presence anywhere on social media, you’re gonna deal with questions and complaints from customers.

Of course you may not need to respond to every comment or tweet, but the fact remains that social media is one of the main channels that customers interact with brands besides established support networks. In general, responses on social media aren’t that different from other customer service avenues, except for one thing – speed.

This is something that Nike excels at, among other things. They have created @NikeSupport, a Twitter channel that responds directly to any kind of inquiries. They even respond in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, German and Japanese, which is also incredible. Their replies are a shining example of customer service with pretty stunning response rates and frequency. They take care of all the issues and see them through with you until the sweet end. Here’s one example:

Customers expect a response after a short time span, especially since their interactions happen online, and online never sleeps. So they usually expect a response the same day and the people that run the pages to be there for them around the clock. It’s sort of like a newborn child, where you just have to get up when you hear a cry because you want to take care of any problems that may come up. Not that you have to feel as if customers are children, that’s where this analogy ends. Timing counts, „Reply as much and as often as you can and when it makes sense“ seems to be a rule of thumb, but other than that there’s no definitive rule book for replying.

  • Establish customer service guidelines for your pages
  • Create pre-written answers for frequently asked questions
  • Set responsibilities and teams for managing social media accounts
  • Track posts and assign them within your team
  • Don’t wait too long with more complicated answers, give a note that you’re working on it in the meantime, give an estimated time or provide updates as to what is happening. It feels much better than being left in the dark
  • Don’t forget to follow up with a solution or answer. Seriously, this will make people so happy.
  • Social media teams, customer support and marketing need to work closely together to not let anything slip through the cracks and keep an overview.
  • If a poster has commented with a direct question, a statement or something urgent – definitely respond
  • You don’t always to respond to negativity, but you should address customer concerns and frustrations where reasonable. Perhaps with an apology (where it’s due) or the facts. If nothing else helps:
  • Learn when to let go on angry responses. Because you can’t make everyone happy and if it’s a rant, you’ve already said your piece, there’s not much you can do. No use crying over spilt milk when it’s just yelling at you.

Coincidentally, cough cough, this is an area where Pagelanes makes a lot of sense. Because most important of all, no post, comment or interaction is left behind. Pagelanes has ticketing functionality for social media pages and allows for effective team collaboration so you’ll know who does what. Our dashboard lets users and teams immediately see new tickets, track postings and allows for discussions within your team. In addition we track response times for tickets and there’s a template feature, so you can reply to common inquiries.

We’ve built Pagelanes partially because of our experience with responses and it helped us and our clients a lot so far. Of course it doesn’t mean that there’s no longer any work to be done by you or your team, but it helps tremendously to have a tool that helps you in your duties and makes the actions you need to take more apparent. Run along now, you’ve probably received a comment that needs answering while you were reading this. Don’t forget to use Pagelanes on your way back.

(Photo by Aleksi Tappura)