zendesk's avi warner

Customers have the world at their fingertips—and they expect an immediate and accurate response from your brand. When it comes to meeting those needs, what is the best way to empower your team for social success?

On April 2, Zendesk, the world’s top customer support software company, will join Sprout Social for a one-hour discussion on the topic of “Trusting Your Support Team with Social Media.” Reserve your spot now to walk away with the latest best practices for integrating your customer service channels in order to have greater impact as a brand.

Avi Warner, Zendesk’s Senior Customer Evangelist, gives us a preview.

Why should brands use social as a tool for customer service?

AW: Customer service is at its best when it’s an easy, effort-free experience for your customers. That means meeting the customers where they’re already talking to you. If they want support via social media, you should be there to answer. Of course, there are a lot of other benefits. Social media can be a really fast, efficient channel. You can also use it to deflect potential support issues by using social to proactively share problems that could affect multiple customers.

What do businesses often overlook when setting up their customer service social media channels?

AW: There can be a lot of value in maintaining multiple social accounts. If you’re a SaaS business, for example, having an operations account that reports on issues affecting service is a no-brainer. Some customers might not want to follow your brand, but they’d be really interested in getting notices when you’re having issues. Also, you don’t necessarily need to cover social support 24/7, but if you’re not going to, it’s a good idea to note your support hours on your profile.

What is the main thing people expect out of customer service on social media?

AW: Speed. They might not need full resolution for their issues, but they do want to be acknowledged. If you can solve their issues while you’re at it, that’s of course a bonus, but replying and letting them know that you are aware of their problem, and looking into it, goes a long way.

How has mobile impacted social customer service?

AW: It’s huge. Incredibly huge, for everyone involved. You and your customers have never been closer. Social media is public, it’s immediate, and in many cases, it’s the easiest and fastest way for a customer to contact a company. I’m guessing you don’t have too many company support phone numbers in your address book, but you probably follow a pretty substantial group of brands on social media. When a customer has an issue and a smartphone, it’s just so easy to reach out via social media. They don’t need to find a support page or search for a phone number.

What’s a good example of customer service on social media? And what’s a definite don’t?

AW: Personalize it! For example, @AskCapitalOne posts when their support goes online or offline, and every Tweet is signed by a rep’s initials. I love that. It reminds all of us that there are real people behind these brands. That small personal touch can actually help diffuse a difficult support issue. I know we all love complaining on Twitter, but we’re just a little less likely to yell at a real human being than we are to yell at a logo.

On the don’t side of things, it sounds so simple, but not all issues can be solved over social media. If the issue’s complicated, or you think you’d need to exchange private information to move the conversation forward, try another channel. Rather than have the customer call or email you, create a ticket for them, or get them to DM you their phone number, and give them a call. Making customers do the legwork to contact you through another channel is like making someone wait in line, only to be told they waited in the wrong one.

Learn More

Join Zendesk and Sprout Social for the upcoming webinar “Trusting Your Support Team with Social Media.” Register below.

Trusting Your Support Team with Social Media.