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Customer service on social mediaWe all know how important social media is as a customer service tool, but very few brands have actually adopted it and are monitoring it as such.

Did you know that only 38% of brands have a plan in place to deliver customer service using social media?

The customer service landscape has changed drastically in the last 5 years, and with the uprising of brands using social media, we have seen power shift from the sales and marketing teams to the consumer. There was once a time when social was used by brands to communicate marketing messages and clever campaigns – we couldn’t be further from this now.

The consumer has the power, the power to send a message that could be seen by thousands within their own digital communities, and the power to push for a response quickly online. Consumers are aware of this, and this in itself can put brands at risk if they don’t act efficiently at all times.

Did you know that 60% of consumers who complain to an organisation or request information on social media expect a reply within 1 hour?

For enterprise organisations and larger brands, where reputation management is a key issue, its important to have a robust plan in place to deal with social customer service. There are lots of risks to social media, as we already know, but one of the key things we see time and time again (be it on purpose or accidentally) is a lack of response from brands.

It can be tough to monitor multiple accounts, with different feeds and sometimes multiple conversations taking place, which means it is easy for a question or complaint to slip through the net.

Our five R's method to handling social customer service helps ensure you have the right processes in place to eliminate the associated risks of social and ensure your customers or community receive an excellent experience when engaging with you.

The 5 R’s principle for social customer service

Five Rs of Social Customer Service


Recognition is the number one place that organisation's fail – simply not identifying or taking time to discover customer complaints or questions. We see time and time again that brands will for example, monitor the comments and reviews on Facebook, but will forget about Direct Messages, and the same goes for Twitter. When you are managing a complex social media environment content can slip through quite easily. 

Social media is 24/7 - these may not be the hours that the organisation operates, but it is certainly the hours that your customers keep. Recognising that the organisation is or will soon be receiving customer service queries on social media is the first step putting plans, policies and resources in place.


Effectively routing complaints and questions is the key to customer satisfaction. It is often solely the responsibility of the marketing or communications team to coordinate responses to customer complaints, but they are often not best placed to do so. Often, messages will be forwarded via email to other teams within the organisation to get an accurate answer. But problems arise when the customer service team are slow to respond or have more important tasks to deal with. Long delays in getting a response leads to unhappy customers.

A defined process routing customer service questions and complaints through to the right people in the organisation helps to speed up the response time and significantly improve the customer's experience. This can either be done via a manual assignment process, or using a social media management platform like CrowdControlHQ to automatically route messages through to the most appropriate individual or team.


Responding quickly and accurately is key to delivering a great customer experience. Sometimes however, some investigation work is required, collaborating with colleagues, before an accurate answer or solution can be found to the customer question. When this is the case, it is essential that you acknowledge the customer's initial enquiry to show that they have been heard and that somebody is is working on their issue. Remember, all responses should be professional and courteous, and inline with your organisation's "tone-of-voice".


Resolving complaints or customer service enquiries is the ultimate goal of social customer service, but in some situations the resolution may not always please the customer! As long as the marketing or customer service team responding has been fair to all customers, courteous in all communication, and timely in their responses, they can hold their heads high.


Reporting on social customer service activity is essential to support the organisation's management decision-making process. There is a huge amount of information to be gleaned from social media conversations that can help management and team leaders identify recurring problems or issues that require further investigation. Organisations should not need to only focus on the individual customer issues reported, but also social media or social customer service team's performance to identify the stars-performers.

Here are some examples of typical social media statistics our clients are reporting on each month:

  • The total number of customer complaints
  • The average time to the first response to a new enquiry
  • What is the % of unresolved questions/ complaints
  • Sentiment - positive, neutral or negative

With the right process in place to handle social customer service, you can improve your customer's experience and satisfaction, and at the same time operate a manageable and scalable process that saves you time.

Do you have any top tips for delivering customer service on social media? Tweet us @CrowdControlHQ

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