Responding to Customer Messages on Social Media
If you own a social media page for your business, you more than likely receive messages from customers. Whether these messages are sent directly or submitted as comments on content posts, you’ll want to make sure responding is always a top priority. After all, if a customer came into your store with a question, you wouldn’t ignore it. Treat all customer messages with the same urgency and attention as you would with in-person or over-the-phone inquiries. You’ll want to respond in a timely manner, as well as ensure all questions are thoroughly answered.
Unfortunately, it’s not always cut and dry when it comes to customer messages – communication can get tricky when it’s done over messaging, and it’s far too easy for communication to be misinterpreted. As a business, you’ll want to remember the old saying that the customer is always right. However, with unhappy customer messages, it’s less straightforward to navigate a negative communication chain.
We’re going to break down how to handle both happy and unhappy customers, and how this can lead to positive word of mouth and increased brand awareness.
Rule of Thumb
Before we dive into the do’s and don’ts, there are several “rules of thumb” that you should always follow. No matter who the customer is or what the message is regarding, you’ll want to:
- Respond within 24 hours
- Thank the customer for reaching out
- State how you care about customer satisfaction
- If the inquiry is a comment (for all page visitors to see), it’s sometimes better to respond by telling the customer you will message them or to provide an email address for them to reach out privately
You’ll also want to make sure you aren’t missing any messages. It’s easy to overlook message requests as they do not live in your message thread. On Facebook, you’ll see “message requests” which is where your new messages live. Anytime you receive a message from a new customer, it will appear here. The same goes for Instagram: In your messages, you’ll notice in the upper right-hand corner “# requests.” Since it’s a new message thread, you’ll have to accept these messages just like you do on Facebook. It can be easy to overlook, but once you get in the routine of regularly checking message requests, it’ll become a habit.
Customer messages can also be hidden in content comments, video comments, or image comments. People don’t necessarily always message you directly – especially if the customer is unhappy. They may want to make their message known to the public. Make sure you have your notifications turned on so you’re aware of all communication on your page. And remember, you’ll want to respond within 24 hours of receiving the message. Any longer and you could risk losing the customer to a competitor or having happy or potential customers view a negative comment that’s left unaddressed.
Customer messages should be viewed positively – you want people visiting your social media pages and inquiring about your services and products! Consider it as a learning opportunity to gain insight into your clientele.
If the customer is unhappy…
As stated above, you’ll always want to keep in mind that the customer is always right. You should never match their frustration, or show any negativity. Even if you don’t agree with the customer, and they are being unreasonable, never allow this as an excuse to not respond. Paying customers deserve answers so adapt this mentality to ensure positive word of mouth. You don’t want to risk the customer leaving a negative review.
When responding to the customer, you’ll want to take ownership of the issue. Is it a problem with a product or service, or was it a customer service issue? Hear your customer out. Remember that they may be a paying customer, and negative word of mouth spreads faster than positive. Always apologize and give the customer the opportunity to fully explain how they feel and elaborate on the issue.
You’ll want to work out a sound, practical solution to the issue. Sometimes, this could be complementary services or products, or a refund, depending on the nature of the service or product. Making sure the communication ends on a positive note is crucial – you want them to be a returning customer, so working through all issues and providing a solution is key.
You may be able to gain insight from the nature of the questions you receive. Are you receiving several messages regarding the same topic or including the same questions? You could gain a thing or two from unhappy customers. Remember that you are not perfect, nor is your business. There could be a crack in your business model so always be open to learning and improving your business.
You should never match their frustration, or show any negativity. Even if you don’t agree with the customer, and they are being unreasonable, never allow this as an excuse to not respond.
If the customer is happy…
You may think you don’t need to answer happy customers – after all, there’s no issue at hand. What’s the point? But letting your customers know you value them is important! Thank the customer for their purchase, and open communication for any questions or inquiries. You never know where it may land you, and if anything, it will leave a positive impression.
If the customer has a question…
When a customer contacts you with a question, it’s always best to handle communication in direct messages. Start a new thread (if the question was posted on your feed) and hash it out there. Again, you could learn about your business here. Are there questions you have seen over and over? You may want to consider looking at your company and adapting based on these questions. It could lead to a better user experience. Anytime a customer has a question, provide a solution and end the communication on a high note. You won’t want to leave any issues unresolved – again, word of mouth travels and you want to ensure a positive message is being reciprocated about your brand. Once a solution has been presented, ask the customer if they have any additional questions or concerns.
You’ll want to keep communication as simple as possible. Soliciting reviews may appear inauthentic so if the client has a positive experience, they will be more likely to leave a positive review organically. Don’t push the matter. Many companies follow up with an email asking, “How did we do?” This can help your company gain insight into how your customer service team is doing, and if there is room for improvement.
The digital marketing experts at N2DIGITAL are here to answer any questions you may have. Need help strategizing your social media plan? Contact our team!