Avoiding The Pitfalls: Facebook Customer Care
Use our tips to build a Facebook care team that keeps your customers coming back.
November 23rd, 2016
Social media is a fundamental component in modern customer care. It’s not just a marketing tool to deliver new product information and drive sales, but a key channel for answering customer questions and creating a brand that consumers love. But using social media for customer service has its nuances. It takes a careful approach to protect your brand without looking like you’re hiding from your customers.
In this post, we’re going to run through some of our favourite strategies to avoid the biggest fears brands have when they’re considering a Facebook customer service strategy. If you’re on a coffee break, here’s the summary.
- Push to private, and then back to public to demonstrate positive results
- Don’t use the Facebook platform, use an omnichannel app
- Prioritise Facebook response times over other channels – they’re public
#1 PRIVATE VS PUBLIC
One of the biggest fears brands have about social media customer service is the inherently public nature of it all. Swathes of comments, viral posts and the public defamation of everything you work hard to protect... it makes sense to be wary. Given that providing customer service on Facebook is no longer optional, it’s time to accept your fate. If you do it right, it’ll be no worse than peeling off a plaster.
Remember that most people are there, primarily, for a resolution. Venting their frustration is secondary.
The first part of your approach – with apologies for stating the obvious – should be to encourage customers in every way to use private messages to resolve their queries, not public comments. This not only protects their data (a burning priority in light of GDPR and DPA requirements) but allows you to resolve queries privately in the same way you approach other channels.
So first, setup your social media links (generate them using a tool like this one) to point customers directly to your Facebook Messenger account, not your Facebook Page. As seen in the example from ASOS below, they’re two very different entities. Customers can ‘Connect on Messenger’ to open up a private conversation with you on Facebook, dramatically lowering the likelihood that they’ll post publicly.
Then, make sure you use one of the main Calls-To-Action on the page to direct customers into private messages. Don’t waste it asking for reviews or pushing people to your site. One ‘Shop Now’ button should be sufficient for that!
For those that do comment publicly, remember to provide your operators with a range of responses to help them gently direct customers into private messages where necessary.
To avoid looking like you’re hiding from your customers, make sure you only do this when it really does need to be in private (either because it’s getting heated, or you need personally identifiable information in order to resolve it). Simple stock queries should be answered there and then to remind customers you really are trying to be helpful.
The magical last ingredient, however, is to send them back into public when the problem is resolved. Whether that’s asking for a review or to share their thoughts back under their original comment, a public demonstration of a good turnaround will instil other customers with faith.
#2 USE THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Another big concern we hear a lot about is volume. If your marketing team are diligently doing their job and posting engaging posts regularly, you’ll likely be receiving a lot of comments. How on earth can your customer care team filter through those piles of interactions to figure out exactly what needs to be responded to?
Whatever you do, don’t do it in the Facebook platform – it can’t scale with you.
Facebook has come a long way since businesses first started using it as a customer care channel – but that doesn’t mean it’s keeping up with built-for-purpose software. Whilst nowadays it has the ability to assign interactions and mark them for followup or complete – that’s about it. There are no workflows, no integrations, and no filters for all of the spam. And almost no reporting, too.
Instead, find software that does all of that and more. Your software should use custom filters and natural language processing to junk anything you don’t need to respond to – and minimise the workload for your customer care team. Our preferred solution is Gnatta – an omnichannel customer communication platform. We use it to block out the social media noise and get interactions to the right operators at the right time. Crucially, it also helps stitch together public and private interactions from the same person (across multiple channels and accounts!) to avoid duplication.
#3 REDUCE RESPONSE TIMES
An important thing to remember about social customer care is that everybody can see exactly how long you leave your customers waiting – so response times are critical to a well-executed strategy.
Before you consider using social media for customer service make sure your crew is in ship-shape, and your processes ready to enable an extremely responsive service. Facebook will be monitoring your average response time, so it can give your page visitors an estimate.
You’ll need to get your team into a position where it can respond to every message in at least 2-3 hours. If you really get it right, Facebook will even reward you with the ‘Very Responsive’ badge, and that'll inspire your customers with confidence.
Achieving industry-leading response times is a topic all of its own, and the UK Customer Satisfaction Index has confirmed it’s a major differentiator for leading brands.
We’ll keep this brief with three left-field ideas that can have a big impact on response times.
First, find out if your communication software can prioritise social media interactions over other non-live channels like email. If you can set a priority level for each channel based on ideal response time, and have your software assign interactions based on those priorities, you’ll be making sure you respond to everything in the right order.
Then, think hard about investing in technology to help you use integrations to minimise operator workloads (covered in detail in our white paper here).For example, if your communication platform can automatically grab tracking data by reading the order number from the interaction, then serve it straight up to the operator, that’s one less minute spent data gathering.
If you’re using any kind of pre-drafted responses to speed up your customer care team, then you may find this interesting – what if your customer technology could automatically suggest what it thinks are the most relevant responses? Using data fields like Reason for Contact and natural language processing, Gnatta can serve up a range of the most likely pieces of content ready for your operator to cherry pick and send on.
Using these Facebook customer care tips can go a long way towards protecting your brand and differentiating you from mediocre competition. But the gist of it all, really, is that social customer care is a lot like it is on any other channel. Your goal should be to solve queries as efficiently and politely as possible – to protect your brand and minimise customer effort. Still got concerns? Book yourself in with one of our Customer Care Consultants for a free 1-hour debrief on your specific business challenges – no strings attached. Contact us here to request a session.