Social media: If you have it, you need to be involved. Sometimes, your customers will use the power of social media to bring concerns and tough questions to your attention. Do you know how to handle these often very public situations? Today, we are talking to Agnieszka Jaśkiewicz, the social media manager at LiveChat. She’s going to talk about her process when it comes to handling tough customer interactions via social media, and you’ll learn how to provide the best customer service possible with your chosen networks and platforms.
Nathan:Your audience uses social media to keep in touch with their friends and family. Those folks are active. They respond quickly. After all, it’s called social media. Am I right? When your brand participates in social media, your audience expects you to participate in the conversation. Sometimes, your customers will voice their questions and challenges through social media. That’s why you and I are chatting with Agnieszka Jaśkiewicz today, on the Actionable Marketing Podcast.Agnieszka is the social media manager at LiveChat, the tool that brands like Samsung, IKEA, and Roku use to answer their website visitor’s questions. That means Agnieszka plays a major role in supporting LiveChat’s customers through social media. It’s a big deal because it naturally reflex upon the LiveChat brand.Today, she’s going to help you choose the networks you’ll support. You’re going to learn about handling tough customer questions on social media and you’ll learn a lot about Agnieszka’s process behind the scenes too.I’m Nathan from CoSchedule and I seriously can’t wait for you to learn how to provide awesome customer service through social media. Let’s listen in.Agnieszka, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I’m excited to have you.Agnieszka:Hello. Thanks for having me on the show. Especially since I’m a heavy user of CoSchedule and we’ve been using it for two years now. I’m excited.Nathan:Like I said, I’m excited to have you. We always like to feature CoSchedule users and all the interesting things that you guys are doing for marketing. I guess just to kick that off, could you tell me a little bit about LiveChat?Agnieszka:Sure. LiveChat is a popular customer service tool. I guess it’s not very hard to guess that it is a web chat application. You can install it on your website to easily communicate with your client. LiveChat also has a built in ticketing system which helps you manage all the communication with your customers from one place. For now, we have over 18,000 customers and we keep working on new stuff.Nathan:18,000 customers is a lot. I’m sure that you had a lot to do with that too. Could you just tell me a little bit about what you do at LiveChat?Agnieszka:I’m a social media manager. I guess people are often thinking that social media managers are just keeps scrolling through Facebook all day but it’s not true. I take care of our social media profiles, we have, for example, Facebook, of course, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, our Facebook branding profile and so on.I also keep in touch with our customers on social media. I share with them our posts, our podcast, updates of the product. I share with them tips and tricks on using that and often ask them if there’s anything we can do for them or if they need any help. I also do the media monitoring, and distribute our content, and spread the good news about how cool is LiveChat around the internet. For example, on Product Hunt, on Quora, and some other website communities like that.Nathan:That’s awesome, Agnieszka. You mentioned that you work with your customers through social media. Today, we wanted to talk about customer service on social media. Could you tell me your best story about providing exceptional customer service on social networks?Agnieszka:Actually, I have in mind a story that I really like. It’s a story about going one step further when it comes to customer care. The first thing at LiveChat, we are crazy about customer service, really, we are. Our customer support team are the most important people in the company.Our clients are also mostly customer service representatives. They are working on a front line with their clients. We call them the support heroes because we are joking that they might have some kind of super powers so they can handle all the support cases.We decided to start little, let’s say social media/customer service marketing campaign. We’ve designed, created and ordered support hero capes. Just like a cape for Superman. We sent these capes to our customers as a gift. We also wrote handwritten notes for them, personal notes saying, “We appreciate your work. We think you’re a true support hero. We are sending you this cape but please don’t try to fly in it.” It was really, really great because they shared with us their pictures. They sent us short movies. They sent us some letters so it was really great.Nathan:I love that example. It really connects the dots between a digital platform like social media and the people.Agnieszka:Exactly. We wanted to make with them some personal touch to show them that we appreciate them, that we see them, that we know that their work is hard—sometimes, it is hard working as a customer service representative—and to show them that their work is really important.Nathan:Yeah, definitely. Agnieszka, one of the things I wanted to talk to you about was just social media in general and providing customer service through that. Could you give me an example of how you’ve done that at LiveChat?Agnieszka:Actually, at LiveChat, we have 24/7 customer support using of course, our tool. As I mentioned, we have a team of great support heroes. I guess thanks to that, I, as a social media manager, have much less work to do than social media managers from some other online businesses.It’s because our clients are used to using LiveChat, so they treat our application as the first contact bond. It’s natural for them. However, we still get some queries and we get them mainly on Twitter and on Facebook, people often ask if we have some features or how to change something in the application. I know how to help them because I went through the customer service training.It was the first thing that I’ve done when I came to LiveChat. I went for a training like a regular customer service representative. I was chatting with our customers for a week or two just to know the product better and know the customer’s needs better.Nathan:Excellent. What does your process look like for providing customer support through social media?Agnieszka:It usually goes like this, someone posts let’s say a question on one of our channel and if the issue is easy or on Twitter, if it can be resolved in 140 characters, I resolve it. If it’s a simple question like for example, do you have this feature or do you have this option, it’s even better because other customers can also see this reply and use it as well.But if the question is more complicated or if the question some more sensitive information, I usually ask them to write more details on a private message or I send them link to our chat and ask them to go to our chat directly because it’s much easier to resolve it on a chat. I know that on our chat, they will also get an immediate answer so I don’t say, okay write an email. I would rather say, okay, let’s go to our chat or please write me a private message so I can help you and we’ll ask you for some more information.We also have, I call it life saver feature on LiveChat. For me, it is because every tweet, or notification, or direct message that we get at LiveChat on Twitter can appear in our ticketing system as a new ticket. Thanks to this option, our support heroes can take care of those issues when I can’t because for example, I don’t have access to the internet or it’s the middle of the night. Normally, I do take care of those issues but if I’m not able, they appear in our ticketing system as a new ticket.We have also a feature that can be implemented on Facebook fan page when a customer goes to our fan page, he sees that he can with us and can start a chat also from the fan page, not only from the website.Our support team have my phone number and they have permission to call me and wake me up even if it’s the middle of the night if something would happen but thankfully, they don’t have to use it.This is the first part when a customer comes to us and asks for something, when they come to our Twitter, or to our Facebook, or LinkedIn.There’s also a second part of providing good customer service via social channels and it’s proactive customer service. I mean here that I proactively check if customers are talking about our brand, let’s say, behind our back. I mean here if they for example, want to know something on Twitter but they didn’t use our Twitter profile so I monitor Twitter searching for keyword LiveChat and check if they are talking about us, or maybe they want something, or maybe they are asking for something.I also check if there are some questions in other places. For example, I check if people are asking for something on Quora. I monitor the internet in general using mention and brand 24 to see if, maybe, people are looking for some information about LiveChat.Nathan:Agnieszka, you mentioned that you are looking at several different social networks. How did you choose the social networks where you provide customer service?Agnieszka:In general, we have our profiles on every big social media channel but I’ve been as a social media manager at LiveChat for two years now and I can say that when it comes to customer service, people definitely are having queries via Twitter and Facebook so I focus on these channels when it comes to customer service.Nathan:With that too, do you recommend, for other people, being on every network or should you just hone in on a specific one or two?Agnieszka:I think I would use here the customer service mantra, be where your customers are. As I said, the channels that works best for us are Twitter and Facebook but I would advise to check where customers are talking about your brand.If it’s a new business, I would recommend to simply ask their clients where their customers spend most time. They can for example, create a survey or something just to know where they are and be there as well.Nathan:That seems really smart, Agnieszka. You mentioned the idea of 24/7 monitoring. I’m wondering if we could dive a little bit deeper into that. How do you staff or set some of those expectations of when you will provide that customer service through social networks?Agnieszka:In general, I am the person who is responsible for responding to all the social media queries. If I’m not able to do that, then it is my thing to find someone who can do it instead of me. When I’m going to vacation, I have to find someone who will keep an eye on it.As I already mentioned, we provide 24/7 customer service and I work closely with our customer support team so for example, I go to a mountain trip and know that I will not have access to the internet, I go to the room and say, “Hey guys, please just take a look at our social media more often because I will not be aware of that.”Nathan:That makes a lot of sense. I think a really common thing with customer service is that people expect service quickly. I’m wondering if you could give me the lowdown on some of your best tips for responding to customer questions really fast on social networks.Agnieszka:I can share my tips and tricks on that. The first thing is turn on notifications. I have my notifications turned on so when someone writes something on Facebook, I always get it. The same story goes with Twitter. I have the Twitter desktop app and the applications keep working in the background so when writes something, I get this push notification on my desktop so I can answer immediately.I also of course, have social media applications on my phone. This is unfortunately, the last thing I do before going to sleep and the first thing I do in the morning. Just a quick check out if everything is good. Actually, before we started our chat, I’ve also made a quick route through our social profiles.Another thing is, speaking of answering quickly, people don’t like to wait on social media. They came to social media because they want their query to be answered quickly. For example, someone asked me something on Twitter and I don’t know the answer immediately, I don’t leave it but I say, “Hey, okay, I can see that. Let me check it. Just give me five minutes. I will check it.” I want our customers to know that we take care of them, we are checking the internet, and we are on it.Nathan:Yeah, all of that seems like really great advice, Agnieszka. I love it. I’m wondering too, once in awhile, with customer service, sometimes people may write something that’s a little bit, maybe let’s just use the word angry.Agnieszka:I get it.Nathan:It happens, right?Agnieszka:Yeah, sometimes it is happening.Nathan:What is your best advice or your best tips on handling customers who might’ve written something that’s just a little bit angry on social networks?Agnieszka:Like in a, let’s call it regular customer service channel, just stay calm and be polite. This is a thing that I always stick to. Stay calm, be polite.The second thing is I always try to feel the customer’s mood. It means if a customer, I can see that he has a sense of humor, then I know that I can joke even though it’s a complaint or an unpleasant situation. But if I see that he’s serious, I know that I have to be 100% serious too. Normally, I like to make some little jokes, etc. to keep them in a good mood even though we have some little issue.Nathan:I think that’s pretty smart. Something that I wanted to just ask you because LiveChat really helps with customer service, do you think it’s necessary for every business to provide customer service through social media?Agnieszka:I think nowadays, it is necessary to provide it for almost every business. I mean maybe a small grocery store doesn’t have to do it. But if you have an online business, it’s a must.I’ve noticed that people started to use Facebook like it was Google. I mean here that people are searching for information in Facebook search. If they’re looking for information about a new restaurant, or some place, and I also do that, I type its name on Facebook rather than on Google because I like to have all the information in one place.I’m used to the design of Facebook. I know where to look for pictures. I know where to look for opinions of other clients. It’s really comfortable for clients nowadays. I think if you’re running an online business, it is a must.Nathan:Definitely. Something that I just wanted to ask you is obviously, you guys are providing really great customer service through social media. What results have you seen from this sort of strategy?Agnieszka:I don’t have numbers. I can’t provide any numbers like percent of revenue but I’ve read a few researches that were saying that in general, customer service via social media can increase your revenue. The numbers will be different but the conclusion was always the same. Better invest into it and you can expect more money.I think that thanks to this smooth customer service, we can also see a great loyalty of our clients. They show us this loyalty. We can see it when we talk with them. We can see it when they tweet something to us. I think it’s also thanks to providing an immediate customer service.The third thing is of course, the reputation of the brand. It is priceless. We have to take care of that.Nathan:All of this is really smart advice, Agnieszka. I’m wondering, just to wrap this up, what’s your best advice for someone looking to improve their customer service that they provide on social media? Where should they start?Agnieszka:If I were to choose one general advice, I would say make one person responsible for answering this queries on social media. Even if you have a small marketing team, like including only two people, make sure that one of them feels responsible for replying on social media.The second thing, try and disperse them like you would train a regular customer service representative because they just have to have this knowledge. They have to know the product to have customers.Nathan:Awesome, Agnieszka. Thank you so much for being on the podcast, for sharing everything about customer service and how you guys approach that at LiveChat. This was a really fun conversation so thank you.Agnieszka:Thanks a lot. Thank you for having me.Nathan:At CoSchedule, our customer support and training team loves to support our customers where they ask their questions. That means if someone tweets at us, we want to answer the question on Twitter. If they message us on Facebook, we want to answer that question on Facebook.It’s a matter of expectation. We believe that brands need to be present where their audience expects them to be. So Agnieszka, thanks a lot for sharing your story with us. This was great.