Social Media for Non-voice Customer Support
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All online businesses need customer service. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when and how much.
Customer service handles things out of your control in every stage of your customer purchasing your product or service, before and after sales.
When you decide to offer customer service, you have 2 main options: Voice or non-voice. In this article, we focus on non-voice.
It’s the most popular among businesses especially in the age of social media. Here are some stats:
Benefits of Non-Voice Customer Support
The first benefit to non-voice customer service is the lesser cost from the simplicity in implementation. To better understand the reason, let’s compare it to traditional voice.
Implementing voice customer service requires a lot of preparation and a lot of time, especially when done in-house:
- Hiring voice agents, trainers, managers, IT professionals, and workforce personnel
- Onboarding agents, trainers, managers, IT professionals, and workforce personnel
- Training agents and managers – performed by trainers
- Scheduling agents and managers – performed by workforce personnel
- Implementing, maintaining, and updating software and hardware – performed by IT professionals
All of those costs can be minimized if you hire an outsourced voice customer service. But comparing it to outsourced non-voice customer service, the latter is still significantly more economical.
For implementing a non-voice team in-house, you can use your existing work computers. You don’t have to buy peripherals such as microphones or headsets. At most, you will have to buy software or pay for a subscription.
Training is going to be faster and easier. If an employee is computer literate, you are already halfway there. You just have to train the soft skills (empathy, rapport, etiquette) and onboard your support team.
The reason why non-voice costs less is simplicity. This is one of the main benefits of non-voice support. First, you don’t even have to pay for any software when starting out.
Most startup founders are their own non-voice customer support, answering concerns through their business emails.
As far as platforms go, most websites can have plugins or apps that can enable you to interact and attend to customer concerns through chat.
And speaking of chat, you can even just use your social media channels to offer customer support. More on that later.
Sometimes, customers don’t feel like interacting with other humans just to get something done. As we mentioned earlier, most customer support concerns are fairly easy to deal with. So having a non-voice option will be more convenient both for you and your customers.
Catering to multiple customers
And when it comes to complexity, that’s also where non-voice customer service shines. It is simpler in implementation but a lot more complex in functionality.
Traditional voiced customer service can only cater with one customer at a time. And it can be longer before they can entertain the next one, depending on the complexity of their concern. On the other hand, non-voice support can cater to multiple customers at once.
And not just cater to customers, I would actually be confident that a high percentage of resolutions can be performed through non-voice support. So just by efficiency alone, non-voice is really proving to be worth it.
But even with all these benefits, it’s not a perfect solution. Here are the compromises you have to make.
Downside of Non-Voice Customer Support
There is only one downside for non-voice customer service: it’s not for everyone.
Nothing is one-size fits all, realistically. According to DataReportal, more than half of the world’s population (64.5%) are using the internet. That’s 6.5 billion people. That’s a lot of people, but that’s not all of the people.
Some of the people would still prefer talking over the phone. It can be because of multiple reasons, technical or otherwise
- Used to talking on the phone than using the internet
- Trusting a voice over the phone than just words on a screen
- People who are more comfortable and better explaining things through a conversation than writing
- The customer is on a trip and all they have is cell service
- Their devices are broken and only their phone works
- The customer is overseas and all they have access to is a phone
- The customer is not tech savvy
- The customer just prefers a conversation over the phone
If your customer base belongs to the above group, you need non-voice. Whether it’s unwillingness, inability or preference, the customer’s choice in this case is valid. No matter how robust your non-voice customer support is, it won’t matter if the customer won’t use it.
The solution for this is to have both non-voice and voice options available for your customer, once you have the capabilities to do so.
Using Social Media to Provide Customer Support
The best way to start a non-voice customer support system is through social media.All the benefits of non-voice are all in social media platforms. And you can even start it yourself before hiring a team.
- Cost-effective – signing up a business account on social media is free
- Simplicity – setting up is very simple and easy
- Catering to multiple customers is built in to the platforms
- Convenience – you are where most of your customers already are
The last point is the more important point because that’s what most customers want. Usually customers want these basic things: Options, speed, and convenience.
All of those things are all on social media.
- A website and social media provides the customers options to interact with you
- Social media chatting speed is almost instantaneous.
- Customers are already mostly on social media so it’s very convenient for them to initiate customer support interaction there.
There are multiple ways to implement a robust non-voice social media customer support.
Your first layer of customer support is through FAQs. You can do them in 2 ways. For platforms with customizable pages (Facebook), you can have an FAQ page. For platforms that mostly cater to posts, you can have an FAQ image/post pinned.
It’s also best practice to show an FAQ or have an option to see an FAQ on chatbots.
Chatbots are the second layer to your customer support. It can be built-in on the platform or through third-party software. Your FAQs can also be loaded into your chatbot
As I mentioned earlier, most customers just want something done like an answer to a query: “What is the status of my order?” “Does my order come with this?” “How long is the warranty?”
If you can lead your customers to the answers to those common questions through chatbots or FAQs, then you’ll save money by having less customer chat support.
It also improves customer experience and satisfaction because they get the answers immediately, as opposed to having a back and forth conversation from a support representative.
You might be wondering, how will I figure out the common questions to place on my FAQs and chatbots?
You almost always get this insight once you start customer service, beyond what you glean from market research and competitor research.
Once you launch your social media presence, you’ll also get data you can use for social listening. See what the customers are saying. What are the most common questions they have? What do they like or dislike about the product?
Once you gather that information, you can either place those questions on FAQs, chatbots, or directly address them through posts and comments.
Social listening also provides a better context to your support team on how to address questions, issues, and the preferences of how a customer wants to be interacted with.
Social Media Interaction
Support isn’t just limited to queries or solutions to problems. It’s also about interaction and representing your brand.
A business page that posts but doesn’t comment or reply is much more detrimental to your business than having no social media presence at all.
It is highly recommended to reply to posts and comments on your social media. Even just an acknowledgement provides a good impression to the customer.
Social Media Customer Support
Then finally, we have the customer support proper. It is mostly implemented through the built-in chat systems of the social media platforms.
Especially when you have the chatbots and FAQs setup, it’s easier to attend to multiple customers. And with the context of social media listening plus social media interactions, it will be a whole lot more effective to support your customers.
Best Practices for Social Media Customer Support
Always respond fast
As we’ve mentioned earlier, even the most basic responses such as “Thank you for messaging us. Our team will be in touch with you shortly.” will be impactful to customers.
Customers hate seeing the “seen” icon and get no response. This is the reason why chatbots will be very important. The bots can provide the initial acknowledgement and responses while the customer reps are attending to other customer concerns.
But when it comes to social media comments, you have to reply as fast as you can. Especially if the comments are something that can affect your online reputation.
We know that sometimes, it’s really hard to comment on something especially if the customer is hurling insults or any type of negativity at your brand.
But take a deep breath, smile behind the screen, and address the customer.
The resolutions are most likely going to be private between your brand and the customer, and all the public sees is how you respond to these comments. So it’s very important that you respond fast respectfully.
Talk like a human
Even voiced customer support reps are guilty of sounding robotic. There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than getting a script and being stuck in a loop of scripts.
When customers are already in a bad mood, they want to talk to a human being. They know that if they air out their frustration, the person on the other line hears, understands, and will do what they can to help.
Scripts are very helpful in driving the conversation. And having a standardized flow will make it easier to gauge what to improve on.
But when situations arise, act like a human. It’s easier said than done and it can take a lot out of your support team, but it’s something that your reps have to face at some point.
A good rule of thumb is to acknowledge the customer’s concern, let the customer finish, make them feel understood, then address the issue. It’s good to have a script, but only read it once if you have to. Paraphrase the script to let the customer know that you are not reading a script.
And if the rep is proficient enough and have the proper soft skills, have protocols in place in which they can go off-script and talk more naturally.
Have a dedicated customer support page
Sure, you want to encourage engagement on social media, but you also need a dedicated support page. Even for email customer support, brands have an email address for customer service separate from their general contact email.
Make sure you post about your support page on your social media so people know about it and actually go there.
It’s always a good idea to have a place for your customers to direct their concerns. Equally promote the user-generated posts from social media and from your support page. This way, people know they are seen whether they go to the support page or simply tag you on social.
Direct the conversation
A dedicated customer support page is already a great way to start. But to go even further, you need an SOP on directing your customers to a private conversation to address and resolve their issue. A standard also makes you impervious from trolls.
Inevitably, you will encounter one. They can be customers who have a tendency to inflammatory behavior on social media, or simply trolls that are not even your customer.
Just direct them to the normal process, don’t let them get on your nerves.
Start your customer support on social media
If you don’t have a customer support system, you can start on social media. Even if you have a small team or a solo founder, you can do it yourself.
It’s where your customers are so it’s easier to reach you. And the expectations of customers in this digital age is to have everything as easy and fast as possible. Social media customer support provides all of that.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us and let us provide the customer support team for you, whether it’s voiced, non-voice, social media, or any other platforms.