How Hootsuite Does Social Customer Support: Tips from Our Experts

To find out how we excel at customer support here at Hootsuite and how your brand can too, we spoke to our own Gabrielle Maheux, social channel lead, and Corina Santema, customer advocate (Hootsuite’s customer support agents). Expert social customer support tips from Hootsuite’s team Know your audience When developing your social media customer support strategy, you’ll first need to consider which platform you’ll be using to connect with your audience. Address the most common inquiries Social media customer support teams will often see the same questions asked on a regular basis. Corina Santema explains: “No matter what the question is, it’s always important to think about how we can get the customer the most accurate information, in the quickest time possible. Instead of relying only on a reactive system—where you respond to customer inquiries as they come in—consider the next frontier in social support: proactive social customer support. Proactive social customer support focuses on anticipating the types of questions your audience will have. Gabrielle Maheux, Hootsuite’s expert in the proactive approach to social customer support, explains: “A good starting point is to share resources—links to help centres, FAQ, blog posts, forums, etc.—on social media and to make them discoverable. Doing so will help you build a content strategy for social customer support that goes beyond expected replies.” One way that Hootsuite nails proactive social customer support is by posting weekly polls. Santema explains: “If the customer is really frustrated on Twitter, for example, we hear out their issue first and then will move the conversation into private Direct Messages where there is more space and characters to find a solution. Follow-up, and always make sure the customer is happy.” Use Hootsuite to set up keyword streams so you can easily monitor and respond to customer questions, complaints, and comments across multiple social networks.

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social-customer

If customers are reaching out to your company and not getting the answers they want, you can be sure they’re taking their business elsewhere. Thankfully, social media has revolutionized the world of customer support—making it more efficient than ever.

Using social media, support teams can listen for complaints and grievances, connect with customers, and provide personalized solutions.

To find out how we excel at customer support here at Hootsuite and how your brand can too, we spoke to our own Gabrielle Maheux, social channel lead, and Corina Santema, customer advocate (Hootsuite’s customer support agents).

Expert social customer support tips from Hootsuite’s team

Know your audience

When developing your social media customer support strategy, you’ll first need to consider which platform you’ll be using to connect with your audience. At Hootsuite, we mainly use Facebook and Twitter. Gabrielle Maheux explains: “We focus on these channels because that’s where most of our follower base is.”

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your brand should be on Facebook and Twitter. Conduct some basic demographic research about your audience and find out where they are most active—then build your social strategy from there.

Stay positive

It takes special people to turn negative experiences into positive ones. When you’re dealing with unhappy customers, it can be easy to get caught up and have things affect your mood—a feeling which can impact interactions with your customers.

For support agent Corina Santema, showing empathy is always the number one priority.

“You have to recognize that any negativity is not being directed towards you as a person, but is due to normal frustration,” she explains. “As long as you can put yourself in the customer’s’ shoes, you can use action-oriented language to help transition a negative into a positive.”

Santema advises: “If you’re positive and supportive in your replies, you’re usually able to create a positive and supportive conversation. Even if it doesn’t start out positive, we consistently look for opportunities to turn it around. That comes from the user being heard, being seen, and knowing there is someone who wants to fix their issue “

Be authentic

Many companies find that a frequently asked questions document is helpful for addressing common questions from customers. But it’s a good idea to question whether this kind of document is helping or hindering your social media support efforts.

FAQ docs, while helpful in many situations, could make interactions sound robotic by restricting language and the natural flow of conversation that could take place without them.

Gabrielle Maheux explains that instead of an FAQ doc, her team empowers advocates to answer questions in the best way possible. They shadow one another and are always learning new tools and features, product changes, and best practices, so that answers sound natural, rather than scripted.

Address the most common inquiries

Social media customer support teams will often see the same questions asked on a regular basis. The key is to notice these patterns, and to be prepared to answer in the best way possible.

Corina Santema explains: “No matter what the question is, it’s always important to think about how we can get the customer the most accurate information, in the quickest time possible. You need to ask yourself if you’re the best person to tackle the topic, or if there is somebody else in the organization who can answer it more thoroughly.”

Keeping lines of communication open between different departments in an organization is the key to success here. You need to be able to recognize when a problem could be solved better by another expert.

For example,…

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