#004 How To Handle Customer Service And Response On Social Media


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Social media provides the perfect catalyst to elevate customer service opportunities, resolve customers’ issues, and develop brand champions to make an impact on customer sentiment. Taking the time to listen and interact with your audience can set you apart. We’re sharing our top tips for handling customer service response on social media.

Biggest Takeaways From This Episode

  • The dialogue is what it’s all about! Keep the conversations rolling, grow the relationships.

  • Keep a database of responses to help jumpstart your customer service online. Use as templates, still be human.

  • Need for Speed! Get a touchpoint as quick as possible. Even if you don’t have the answer, just let them know you’re on it!

  • Navigate your tone as the if you were talking to your grandma. Handle with care.

  • The thing people love the most is the sound of their own name. ALWAYS use their first name.

  • Take it offline if you need to. Don’t forget to acknowledge and troubleshoot the situation in real life. The good and the bad!

  • Learn from the trends and use the feedback to better your business.

  • Put the same amount of effort in the response as a user put in the comment or review.

  • Biggest missed opportunity: Share the love, say thank you. Please respond to the positive reviews!

Want your question to be answered on the generation social media podcast? Tell us what it is here!


This text below is a straight up audio transcript of the episode. In our humble opinion, we think the audio podcast sounds much better in its original form. We have not edited the transcription below so there are indeed some grammar errors (some quite funny, in-fact).

00:00 You don't have to be a millennial to be socially savvy. We believe anyone can join generation social media and your journey starts now. This is the generation social media podcast by Chatterkick.

00:19 All right, let's dive in. Today I have Chris who is our customer success specialist at Chatterkick and this is Beth Trejo. I'm the CEO and founder of Chatterkick. And today we are going to talk about moderation and that's really what we use to describe and many other people use to describe how you handle your customer service and response on social media. So let's talk about that. Chris, why don't you start out by telling us some of the things that you hear from clients or businesses in terms of why it matters. Why does response matter to most businesses?

00:57 I think for most of the people that we work with anyways, it's, it's just that's how they connect with their customers or clients. I mean, a lot of social media is putting yourself out there, but then when you actually get some feedback, some comments back, positive or negative, I think responding to that and having that dialogue, that's really what it's all about. And when it's positive, it's great and it's, yeah, you can just Kinda keep, you know, egging them on or keep that going. But when it's negative, it's sometimes scary. It's like, how do we deal with this in the best way possible? And I think that's where we obviously come in and help people out with. But like you said before, I mean it's a lot about, it's just about that relationship building and keeping that going. And it's not always the highs. It's, it's, there's some, some dips and there's, it's just how you present yourself and present yourself as a business again on that, that platform, that social media.

01:48 Yeah, I read something the other day. I thought it was really interesting that you will not be judged by your successes and your failures, but how you react to your failures. You know what I mean? And I think that that just like crosses social because everybody's going to mess up, right? Like we're gonna mess up or clients are gonna mess up. Every business is going to mess up at some point. And so how you respond to that is seems to be the make or break and a lot of the digital world. I know some of our clients have found a way on the response and moderation to help prepare for that. We have one client that we work with actually multiple that have kind of a bank of if this then that's right. If someone says this, then you should say some variation of this response.

02:40 And I think that that could also be applied to if you have a marketing person handling it or an intern. I mean, one of the things you see all the time is people just hand the keys to the youngest person in the office and expect them to have the results of the most senior person in any office. You know, as we've been working a couple of businesses how do you think businesses, especially those that are just getting started in the, how do we respond? What's some of the things that they should look at to decide what to say to everybody? Like, do you think that there's best practices that we could take out from some of those?

03:17 Yeah, I think, you know, best practices or things to watch out for. I think number one is probably speed and, oh yeah. People don't necessarily care if you don't have the answer or have the best response. If it's quick, if you're like, hey, I don't know, but I'm going to go find out, let me get back to you. Just that quick response, it kind of puts me at ease a little bit, you know, get them off off that intensity or that aggression if it is negative. But I think probably the next best thing is just how would you, you know, talk to your mom or your grandma and it's like, how would you want them to be taken care of? Again, if it's a positive thing, great. That's usually easier, but if it's a problem that somebody is having, again, it's how would you want to be taken care of or your family to be taken care of? And if you go with it with that mindset, you're probably 95% of the way there. Yeah,

04:06 I agree. And I think one thing that we do a lot but it's easy for businesses to replicate is use people's first names and are lot of quote that says like, the thing people love the most is the sound of their name on the name. And it's so true. Use their first names. And don't be afraid to click on their profile and see like, what are they interested in? Have they responded? Do they, you know, I was looking at some response and moderation on a large brand. And this person was just like pinging them and getting into their comments and their profile picture was like never good enough or something. And I was like, well, Geez, you're never going to make this person happy, so maybe the value of like what you respond to that person isn't to solve their problems, it's just to kind of quiet them enough in the background. So your real customers and the people you care about can make a difference.

04:58 Yeah. And yeah, sometimes people don't necessarily, yeah, like you said, need their problem solved, but they just want to be heard or listened to. And if you give them that, their emotional response to you is a little bit better and that might lead to something down the road or maybe a referral or something like that too. But I think I'm the coolest thing I've seen with a lot of the moderation is when it goes offline, not just like when you're trying to get them to call you or something like that. I'm just thinking of a client. We use a lot of recruiting like for Facebook and they'll have, you know, people coming into orientation, they've, they've accepted a position and they'll reference back, you know, hey, I saw, you know, how you dealt with this online or just your community that, that environment, that communication is, is really cool. And that's something that brought me in like that, that just happened. In our last recap last month, I was just like, that's so awesome. Like she was happy with it. Also that's why we do what we do. Right?

05:51 Right. And I think that that is such a difference because it literally is a transparent service, right? Like, and when you do it well, you basically get so far ahead of all your competitors. And we see this in industries like, and this is a perfect example of when industries think that they're there, people are not on social media or like if they're B2B manufacturing or something where people are like, oh, my people aren't on my audiences and on social media. But then you see their competitors doing it and it's in a way that's so transparent with customer service, with recruitment, with sales. I think it just is, it can transform the way that prospects look at your business cause at least you care.

06:36 Yeah, for sure. I think like you said too, like just when you're using it for recruiting or customer service, like getting those other departments involved with that, maybe they're not actually getting online and replying to it, but you know, when you get a comment going to that department saying, hey, how would you like to answer this? And that just sort of builds that the whole team in that moderation. I think another thing with the moderation too is just the data you can collect from it. Like individual responses are important themselves, but you can see a trend over time, like our most of our responses positive, are they negative? Are they surrounding this? Like you can kinda get some feedback into your business like, hey, we're missing this consistently. Let's build that up.

07:18 Yeah. I, that is one of my favorite things right now about social is it's that longterm of that. I was looking at this for one of our clients and there's different tagging features that you can use that we use obviously. But I was looking at a longer period of time and they have a lots of different pages, lots of things going on for this business. But you were able to see how many like inquiries, like literal sales inquiries in a very service driven business that they have. And it was just because when we were responding back on behalf of the brand, we just tagged it like inquiry business opportunity. And to see that accumulate over time, that question of what am I getting out of my social media? That does not even a thing. Because you look at all of these direct sales conversations and you don't have to have a fancy software to do that.

08:05 You can count them or you can, you know, just make a note of them. But I think that's one of the biggest game changers in Social ROI Right now is the just the customer service element of it. For sure. Let's talk about negative reviews because I feel like that's something that's one of the biggest fears of businesses. Let's talk about what you're seeing. I mean, you're working with clients every single day businesses every single day in terms of where are they coming, like where are the platforms that people are venting their lives on? And is it just the, is it just the trolls or is it legit?

08:44 Gosh, maybe half and half. I think I'm seeing specifically like you know, in the healthcare field it seems like a lot of the reviews are on like Google and some of them are just way off base. Maybe they didn't understand like where they were going to like an urgent care versus a doctor's office versus a hospital. And so again, those negative reviews, they come in and you might panic like, oh my gosh, we have a two or three star rating. But when you actually dig into them, it's like, well that guy doesn't know what he's talking about, that that lady should've gone to a, an er and she went to a doctor's office. Like just stuff like that. That's more healthcare I guess, but probably across the board more so with Facebook just cause it's Kinda built in, you can comment, you can leave a review.

09:28 It just, it's shareable. I feel like it can, sometimes people when they leave a negative review, they want people to see it and they want to just, you know, put people on blast. And sometimes those are the trolls like you said. But if it's actually a negative review that they want some sort of resolution again, still on Facebook but probably more in the review section or even a, a direct message. Like if it's actually like, Hey, I had a problem with your business. I think the people who actually want help send a message asking you.

10:02 Yeah. And I think I always tell people put the same amount of effort into the response as the user put into the comment or the review. Because if it was just somebody you know, venting, then give them a second and you know, let them know that you're working on it or tell them to give you a call or give them a something that they can solve their problem. But if they're legit having issues, solving it in real time, like could have the review go away. And we see that all the time. Some people will put a negative review, we respond back to them. We would solve the problem, whatever the problem was, and then they removed the review. So it's not a, the person like the person that left it removes the review. I also think that the positive reviews, it's one of the biggest mistakes that we see.

10:51 Don't you agree that like not replying, doing it? Because I just feel like you have somebody who just poured their heart out on your page and not so much for the clients that we're working with, but just for businesses across the board. Somebody told you the story of how you saved their life. I mean, some of these medical places have awesome, amazing reviews and it's radio silent from the brand. And that like breaks my heart because it's like, it's such a snub to that person. Even just a like on the post, I mean that's minimal. But letting them know that you saw that and appreciate what they took time out of their day to tell you and do. I think that that's like Social Media One oh one and if you're not doing that, you are missing not only a big opportunity to just show some, some love, but to tell other people that. Thank you. Right. Like, you know, it's a great opportunity.

11:41 Yeah. You could even take that a step further. Like I've seen, it's not a client of ours, but I think maybe Wendy's or something. I have somebody left like an insane review. It was kind of cheeky, it was funny, but as a positive review, I think they gave them like for a year or something like that, something silly. But it's just you've taken maybe a positive review and turn that person into an evangelist and then that itself is sharable. So I think in your own business, maybe you can't give something physical away like that, but how could you reach out to that person, say thank you for you know, your appreciation and we want to do something special for you. Whatever that might be. It could be big, could be small, but it's something that again, just takes that experience to the next level. No, that's again, another big opportunity there.

12:26 I think that that Eh kind of answers a lot of the questions that businesses have around how to review what to say when to say it. Right. So if we kind of summarize our conversation being quick, even if it's just a response, letting them know you're trying to get to the bottom of it. Be real and authentic. Use their first name, give them your first name. That makes a big difference. Responding to both negative and good reviews in a appropriate manner. And then I think the other thing, and you touched on this, but you're going to get them, you're going to get negative reviews. The best businesses, 4.7 is the best rating because people expect you to mess up. So don't be fascinated or like completely obsessed with your negative reviews. Just deal with them as, as they come in and don't forget about them. Like have a place that you have all those reviews coming up because I think they are going to even be more critical to your business going forward than they are today.

13:30 One thing we didn't mention with that I know on Facebook with the reviews say it is somebody who is just trolling or just, you know, they're not really being reasonable after their first review and then your reply, you can hide the rest of the interaction if they're just being, you know, ridiculous. And comments too, if it's not in the review section, it's just a comment. You can, you know, hide those on the back end. They won't necessarily know about it. It'll still look live to them and to their friends. But on your page, you can clean it up again. If it's something that was negative and you just spun it into a positive cause you responded properly, you probably want to leave that up there. But if it's again, just ridiculous and they're just trying to trash your page, you can sort of hide those and get rid of those.

14:11 Yeah, that's a good question cause we had some, some recent dialogue about this internally hiding comments versus not hiding comments. I am on under the impression of a case by case basis because we have seen this in the past where you start hiding comments and people blast you for hiding the comment, right? And then it looks like censorship, right? So you don't want it to look like you are perfect, but there may be a case where those hiding the comments as the right way to do it if they're not adding value, like you said, the crazies out there and we all know that people do that stuff and they just want to be ornery right? Like it's just, that's, that's their goal in life. But I do think from a PR perspective, and we've seen this happen, Applebees had this a while back.

14:56 There was some big brands that have had pretty significant case studies. You have to be authentic. And the second you don't look authentic and you look like you're trying to do something shady, the whole PR perception of it is gonna kind of bite you in the butt. Yeah. People figure that out. They figured out real quick. All right, well let's go onto our next segment, which is really looking at the generations of social media using the platforms. Most people have more than one platform on their devices. And so we're going to look at the usage of the apps and the screen time based on, we had a whole bunch of people send us screen captures and we're just gonna give the profile of the individual and should that individual be your demo on? These are some ways you could reach them though. Who Do we have here?

15:41 I have no names but 20 year old white female college students. Okay. Awesome demographic. I'm there. So this is, I believe the last seven days, sort of an average, but top is Facebook next, not necessarily social media, but photos, I guess that's somewhat interesting. Maybe sharing photos or again, just that visual platform. Next would be youtube, Instagram and then there's a few more kind of trickle on down. Pandora could be social media, but snapchat, facetime. So kind of a lot. They're kind of spread out across. But I think a really common main thread is just that, that visual aspect of it. Like in with Facebook that kind of covers a lot of different age groups, a lot of reasons why she might be on there. But again with the youtube, the Instagram, the snapchat, that's sharing your photos with other people or maybe consuming other people's content as well.

16:35 Yeah, I think so perfect example of everybody says young people aren't on Facebook. I would consider a 20 year old, a young person. I mean I'm older, but that is the primary use of this individual was Facebook. And I think that it still is an amazing platform to reach. And the thing with Facebook is if you're trying to target, just use ads and just target it to people, 17 to 20 and your demographic and chances are you'll reach those people. It's not that difficult of a strategy to try to implement. I think the other thing that you were mentioning, it was very visual. Like we see the Apps, you know, we're looking at a phone here but you know, the photos, how important those are in Instagram and Facebook and you know, what to, how to target somebody where photos and visuals are so important. And I think that is a great example of how to position your content strategy, right? If that's the type of person that you're looking to attract. And you have, you know, somebody who likes beauty or consumer goods or shopping, those pictures are pretty, like those brands are using very beautiful visuals. So maybe you should up your visual content a bit. Could really help to distinguish between you a local business and another local business that you're trying to compete with in terms of attention.

17:57 Yeah, I think, yeah. Step in that game up that way, but also go on the other way is look at what are sort of the common threads along amongst like what they're looking at and then try to maybe disrupt that a little bit. So if everything is pinks and pastels, maybe like a shocker, you know, blue or orange or something like that, just to jump out at them a little bit more too.

18:18 I think that's really interesting because when you are trying to target people on social, you are not competing against your competitors. You're competing against everything else they're consuming. I think people forget about that. They forget that like your content piece is going to be between there, you know, large brand and their uncle's dinner picture, right? So you have to plan your content as if it was competing for someone's attention instead of competing against your competitors because chances are you're not going to be right next to your competitors in a, you know, one to one on someone's social feed. Right. the other thing I think on this that was interesting is the youtube. So youtube comes up a lot in terms of people's actual usage. And I think it's just such a different platform to use on a social media basis. Any thoughts on that? Like where do you feel like youtube play is for business local and larger?

19:23 Yeah, I mean it plugs in so many places. Like yes, there's a youtube platform, but so many people put their videos on youtube and then put them on their website or share them elsewhere. And so I wonder, you know, exactly if that's in the app itself or on those other places. But I mean, you could, you could link back and forth. I mean you can obviously put ads on Youtube and put your own content there and try to draw people back to your website for that different experience. I think a lot of times, you know, you're looking at how can we get our content and make it fit into this box of this platform. But I think you need to think about how does that support what we're doing elsewhere. And again, not people aren't just on one platform and so how could we reach this person in a way on Facebook that would either get them to youtube or have youtube support that experience on Facebook and Instagram and snapchat, like just that cohesive

20:16 Experience. Yeah, I agreed. I think that's some good advice that people need to think of youtube in different ways and they probably are just like, oh, I need to get my videos on youtube. Like that's, yeah, that works enough. But I think having some sort of a plan, like you said, but there's, in your website it's, you know, it's, it's the place your videos live that support your other channels. Or maybe it's your how-tos only or how-tos live on youtube. Everything else is on your social channels. If they want to go to longer form content, then go to youtube.

20:45 Yeah, I mean, and it could support your business as well. You get so many views you could monetize, you could have other ads on your videos if your content is good enough. That could be a source of revenue. Yeah. As well. Cool. I like it.

20:56 All right, well thank you everybody for joining us. I think we had some good conversation on moderation and how to handle your online communities, and I'll check back with you next time.