Customer Service & Social Media: 3 Tips To Do It Right

Posted August 17, 2016Blog

Alyssa Citorik

Communications Specialist
Seth Godin said it best "all marketers tell stories." As Communications Specialist, my role is to support Union Street Media's marketing efforts by creating and cultivating helpful content that captures our company's story every single day.
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Social media. Those two words have become a definitive part of today’s culture. With over 75% of all internet users on social media, it’s quickly become a pinnacle of our digital world.

This is why it’s no surprise that more and more people have built social media into a platform for transparency – where people are using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc as places to not only build personal connections, but connect with everyday brands and businesses as well.

According to Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, “brands will increasingly recognize that social media is no longer an isolated marketing channel used primarily to sell their product or service. What once served primarily as a platform to increase sales is now a meeting space, and has become part of the brand experience itself.”

The ability for social networks to fill the role of both a marketing channel as well as a customer support channel shows just how powerful these platforms have become for businesses. However, with great power comes great responsibility… And more and more brands are dropping the ball when it comes to their customer experience on social.

So, what is it that people are looking for when it comes to customer service on social media?

Quick Responses

Jay Baer, President of Convince & Convert, partnered with Edison Research to help create The Social Habit 2016, a study that dives into the behaviors and habits of social media use. In this year’s study (to be officially released in October) they found that 32% of people that contact a brand or company through social media expected a responsive within 30 minutes. What’s even more is that adding an additional half hour to the wait time, increased the number of people who expected a response to 42%.

Although these numbers are impactful, it’s also important to remember that they were pulled for all different kinds of B2C businesses, not specific to real estate. Even though these numbers may in fact be significantly lower when it comes to your customers, the main point still stands: when your buyers and sellers expect you to be readily available to them via social media. If the moment does come when you are contacted through any sort of social platform, make sure you are ready to respond as quickly as possible.

Open Communication

The same social habit study found that 52% of users have the same expectations for response time whether it’s day, night or a weekend. This means that the social platforms have created a channel of communication is – in the customer’s mind – always open. Now it’s important to note that, in case of customer service, this “openness” has two meanings:

  1. Customer services that is available 24/7.
  2. Communication that is caring and honest.

But what is a quick response if it isn’t a quality response? Your buyers and sellers aren’t just looking for generic answers to their questions or concerns, they are looking for answers that illustrate careful thought and attention. In Groovehq.com’s “The Complete Guide to Using Social Media for Customer Support” they call out that 70% of the buying experience is based on how a person thinks they’re being treated (according to McKinsey). Try putting yourself in your client’s shoes and think “if this were me, what type of response would I want to receive?” This question will help you create a response that is not only quick but makes your buyer or seller know that you care.

Personalization

To summarize, your clients want quick responses that are thoughtful and show that you care about them. You may be thinking, doesn’t one contradict the other? If they want a quick response, how do I have time to make it thoughtful? A quick and easy tip is: add personalization. Addressing both them and their question/concern directly adds a simple touch to make your response more personal. Below is an example that could be used on Facebook if a buyer asks you a question about a particular listing (remember that some social sites, like Twitter, can have character limits):

“Hi [First Name],

Thank you so much for reaching out! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been looking into [add property listing]. Here is a little more information about this listing: [enter it here]. I hope that helps and please feel free to give me a call anytime if you have any other questions or concerns!”

Here’s why this response works – it addresses the buyer by name, it addresses their exact question, it shows that you are readily available to help them again in the future. By personalizing your answer and opening up the door for them to ask you more questions, you show that you care and genuinely want to help them. And in the end, helping homebuyers and sellers is what being in real estate is all about.

Looking for more social media customer service examples? Check out this article “14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them).