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The Future of Customer Service: Trends in Social Media Support

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the future of customer service social media support BLOG

Social media support has emerged as a pivotal element in customer service. And we’ve been waiting for this moment for nearly eight years!

As a social media and customer care consultant, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of social media support in enhancing customer experiences with both large and small brands.

The future of customer service is being reshaped by several key trends in social media support that your business must embrace to stay competitive and meet customer expectations.

Today, let’s digest the six trends we’ve seen that have staying power.

1. AI & Chatbots: Enhancing Efficiency in Social Media Support

One of the most significant trends in social media support is the integration of AI and chatbots.

These technologies have changed how brands interact with customers by providing immediate, round-the-clock support.

AI-driven chatbots can handle a wide range of inquiries, from answering frequently asked questions to troubleshooting basic issues. Thus, freeing up human agents to tackle more complex problems.

However, as you undoubtedly hear me say, proceed with caution! There are plenty of horror stories igniting from brands who carelessly launched AI programs for customer experience. [READ: How Microsoft, Meta, and Air Canada screwed up with AI!]

Tactical Advice in 3 Steps:

  1. Implement AI chatbots on your social media platforms to provide instant responses to customer inquiries. Stick with FAQ bots in the beginning to avoid any AI disasters.
  2. Ensure your chatbots are equipped with natural language processing capabilities to understand and respond to customer queries accurately.
  3. Regularly update and train your chatbots with new information to improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

AI and chatbots provide immediate, round-the-clock assistance, handling routine inquiries and troubleshooting basic issues, which frees up human agents to focus on more complex problems.

Embracing AI-driven solutions not only improves response times but also elevates the overall customer experience, positioning you to meet and exceed the ever-growing expectations of your customers.

The best AI programs combine tech with human expertise.

2. Personalization: Crafting Unique Customer Experiences

Personalization is becoming increasingly crucial in social media support. In fact, I might say it’s the biggest thing you should focus on with your social care program.

First, check out our free webinar on how to transform your social media engagement with social care.

B Squared Media free CARE Webinar with Brooke Sellas

Second, realize that your customers expect you to recognize their individual needs and preferences.

Third, understand that leveraging data analytics and customer insights can help you tailor your interactions to provide more relevant and personalized support.

Personalization on social media is a powerful tool for brands to create meaningful and engaging customer experiences, so let’s go even deeper.

Here are nine ways you can effectively use personalization on social media:

1. Tailored Content

Brands can use customer data to deliver tailored content that resonates with individual users. By analyzing user behavior, preferences, and interactions, brands can create and share posts, articles, and videos that match the interests of specific audience segments.

For instance, a fashion brand can showcase different styles based on the browsing history and purchase behavior of its followers.

2. Personalized Responses

When customers reach out on social media with questions or feedback, responding in a personalized manner can enhance the interaction.

Using the customer’s name, referencing past interactions, and offering solutions tailored to their specific issues demonstrates that your brand values and remembers them as individuals. This approach can significantly boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Targeted Advertising

Social media platforms offer sophisticated targeting options that allow brands to create personalized ads based on demographics, interests, and online behaviors.

You can segment your audience and deliver specific ads that are more likely to appeal to each group.

For example, an e-commerce company can target users who have abandoned their shopping carts with ads featuring the products they left behind, perhaps offering a discount to encourage purchase completion.

4. Exclusive Offers and Promotions

Brands can enhance customer loyalty by offering exclusive deals and promotions to their social media followers. These can be personalized based on the user’s interaction with the brand.

For instance, a coffee shop chain might offer a special discount to frequent customers who engage with their social media posts, or send personalized birthday offers.

5. User-Generated Content

Encouraging and sharing user-generated content (UGC) is another way to personalize social media engagement. Brands can feature photos, reviews, and stories from real customers, creating a sense of community and recognition.

This not only personalizes the brand experience but also builds trust and authenticity.

Plus, you can use UGC for sales! (As seen below)

calls to action example UGC

[Source]

6. Customized Messaging

Using tools and AI, you can send personalized messages to customers. This can include welcome messages, thank-you notes, or follow-ups on previous interactions.

For example, after a customer makes a purchase,  can send a personalized message thanking them and suggesting complementary products or services.

7. Interactive Experiences

You can create interactive and personalized experiences such as quizzes, polls, and surveys. These not only engage users but also provide valuable data that can be used to further personalize future interactions.

For instance, a beauty brand might create a quiz to help users find the right products for their skin type, and then use the quiz results to offer tailored product recommendations.

Check out Ulta’s quiz below:

ulta beauty brand quiz social media support

[Source]

8. Social Listening

Social listening tools can help your brand monitor what customers are saying about you on social media. By analyzing this data, brands can identify trends, preferences, and pain points, allowing them to engage in more personalized and relevant conversations.

My advice: You can’t have a stellar, proactive social care program without social listening!

For example, if a customer tweets about a specific issue with a product, the brand can respond with a customized solution.

Social Listening tools we recommend:

  1. Sprout Social
  2. Emplifi
  3. Brandwatch 
  4. Brand24

9. Segmentation & Campaigns

You can (and should) segment your social media followers into different groups based on their behavior, preferences, and demographics. This segmentation allows for more targeted campaigns and interactions.

For example, a fitness brand might create separate social media campaigns for professional athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and beginners, each tailored to the specific needs and goals of those groups.

The Power of Personalization

Personalization on social media is not just about addressing customers by their names; it’s about understanding and responding to their individual needs, preferences, and behaviors.

In the crowded digital landscape, personalized experiences will be a key differentiator that sets your brand apart from competitors.

3. Omni-Channel Support: Seamless Customer Journeys

Customers today interact with brands across multiple channels, including social media, email, phone, and live chat.

We’ve outlined today’s (wild) digital customer journey before …

B Squared Media Digital Customer JourneyToday, the digital customer lifecycle is increasingly complex due to the multitude of available channels.

Your customers seamlessly transition between social media, websites, email, and live chat, expecting a consistent and cohesive experience across all touchpoints. This complexity requires you to integrate and synchronize your support efforts to meet customer expectations effectively.

Providing an integrated omni-channel support experience ensures that customers receive consistent and cohesive support regardless of the platform they use.

Tactical Advice in 3 Steps:

  1. Know your customers’ channel of choice. *“Channel of choice” refers to the preferred communication medium selected by a customer for interacting with a brand, such as social media, email, phone, or live chat.
  2. Train your support team to handle inquiries seamlessly across various channels.
  3. Ensure consistent messaging and branding across all customer touchpoints to provide a unified experience.

4. Proactive Support: Anticipating Customer Needs

Proactive support involves anticipating customer issues and addressing them before they escalate. This approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also reduces the volume of support requests.

It’s also why I said above that social listening is required to have a proactive strategy!

Tactical Advice in 3 Steps:

  1. Regularly update your social media pages with useful information, tips, and solutions to common issues.
  2. Monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand and respond proactively to any issues or concerns; use social listening to go beyond those mentions and be proactive. Remember: Social media monitoring and listening are NOT the same!
  3. Use predictive analytics to identify common customer problems and address them preemptively.

TRUST INSIGHTS CASE STUDY: PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS

For an example, check out this case study from our friends at Trust Insights on using predictive analytics.

Using predictive analytics to forecast the most popular, talked-about topics up to a year in advance, Trust Insights was able to create the right content at the right time and improved referral traffic to a B2B website by 53.3% year-over-year.

By understanding the timing of key topics, Trust Insights delivered what their audience wanted, when they wanted it, which resulted in significant traffic increases:

trust insights predictive analytics case study

[Source]

5. Visual & Video Support: Engaging Customer Interactions

Visual and video content is increasingly becoming a preferred mode of communication for customers. Using these formats in social media support can enhance engagement and provide clearer, more effective assistance.

If planned correctly, your videos can also support your sales efforts.

If I may, allow me to use myself as an example. This year, (2024), I launched Brooke Bytes, a two-minute “show” on social media customer care. In May of this year, I received the following email on LinkedIn, from a person who had seen by videos:

B2B social media lead for social care example

It took about 26 two-minute videos, but look at how amazing the outcome is!

Tactical Advice in 3 Steps:

  1. Create and share how-to videos and tutorials to address common customer queries.
  2. Use visual aids like infographics and screenshots to provide step-by-step solutions.
  3. Encourage customers to share videos or images of their issues to facilitate quicker and more accurate support.

6. Real-Time Support: Meeting Instant Gratification Demands

Customers expect real-time responses. I know; that feels like a gut punch for some brands.

However, providing live support through social media platforms can meet this demand and significantly improve your customer satisfaction scores. And, if you can’t be real-time, be as real-time as possible.

Tactical Advice in 3 Steps:

  1. Use live chat features on social media platforms to offer real-time assistance.
  2. Ensure your support team is trained to respond quickly and effectively to live inquiries.
  3. Monitor social media channels continuously to provide timely responses.

social media response times state of social care report b squared media

[Source]

As you can see from our research, nearly 75% of brands are aiming to answer queries on social media within five hours or less.

How do you measure up?!

Integrating Insights from the “State of Social Care 2023”

And since we’re on the subject, the insights from B Squared Media’s “State of Social Care 2023” report align perfectly with the above trends.

Our report highlights the growing importance of response times, personalized interactions, and the need for a seamless omni-channel experience.

2023 b squared media state of social care report

The report also underscores the value of proactive support and the integration of advanced tools like AI and chatbots to enhance customer service.

Proactive & Omni-Channel Approaches

The State of Social Care report emphasizes the need for proactive support, noting that customers today demand more than just solutions—they seek genuine engagement, near-immediate responses, and a seamless omni-channel experience​​.

This aligns with the trend of anticipating customer needs and ensuring consistent support across all channels. And, to tell you the truth, I see this trend becoming the norm (if it isn’t already!).

Personalization & Community Building

Our report also highlights the increasing importance of personalization and community building.

Your customers expect tailored experiences and value brands that recognize their individual preferences​​. Building a community around your brand on social media can foster loyalty and provide a platform for peer-to-peer support, further enhancing customer satisfaction.

The Future & Social Media Support

The future of customer service lies in embracing these emerging trends in social media support. By integrating the above ideas, your brand can stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving expectations of its customers.

As we continue to navigate digital communication, it is essential for businesses to adapt and innovate. By doing so, they can not only enhance customer satisfaction but also build lasting relationships and drive long-term success.

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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
Conversations That Connect
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Category: Customer Care, Customer Experience, Customer Service
Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, B Squared Media, Brooke B. Sellas, Brooke Sellas, chatbots, dedicated social media support team, efficient social media support, omnichannel experience, omnichannel support, Personalization, proactive support, real-time response, , , , UGC, user generated content, video support, visual support
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