The VPM Blog

6 Ways You're Doing Social Media Customer Service Wrong

Posted by Kelvin Mastin on Jun 16, 2015 9:25:21 AM

Everyone knows what it's like to be in a new romantic relationship. Doing customer service on social media is a lot like dating--except there's a lot more people involved (you're not cheating on anyone. I promise). One wrong move and it won't just be a terrible breakup from one person, but potentially from over a thousand. If your business is committing any of these six social media customer service sins then you're probably on your way toward an ugly split. 


1. You only respond to followers on your customer support page.

In the modern day talking to a new significant other involves more than just one channel. Dating partners talk in person, through text, and online. In the same way, responding to your customers should be a multi-channel effort. It's great to have one Twitter or Facebook page for marketing and another page for customer care, but that doesn't mean you should only respond to people on your customer care page.

When people have a complaint or a compliment they don't really think about what page they post on. They go directly to your most popular page and post their grievances there. If you don't respond to them there, it will look like you don't care enough about your followers to respond to their comment. 

When you recieve a complaint on your main page, you should first apologize and then try to handle their issue there. If it is something that demands deeper or specialized attention, you can refer them to your customer service account or get their contact information so someone can contact them personally.

2. You wait 24 hours or longer to respond.

You know that feeling when you're texting the bae but he/she doesn't respond until the next day? That's the same frustration your followers feel when you don't respond to their posts in a timely manner. No one wants to wait a week for an answer to a simple question or a response to a complaint or concern. 

With that being said, responding to every person on time every time something is posted is impossible, especially for larger companies with millions of followers online. If that is the case, you should have a team of sociable people whose main responsibility is to communicate with your followers on social media. 

Another good idea is to have scheduled Q&A sessions where your followers can get immediate responses to their questions and concerns. This is a great way to get connected, solve problems, and give your followers that individual experience they want. 

3. Your responses are always scripted.

What fun is dating someone if they don't have a personality? The same is true for your online relationships. Your followers may like your products, but if you always respond with an overly scripted answer your followers might get frustrated and bored on your page.

People want to hear from other human beings who have the ability to understand their frustrations and problems. Responding to a customer complaint with an overly scripted comment or an automated response is not going to endear your followers to you. It's going to make the situation worse. Just ask American Airlines

4. You can't deal with criticism. 

Good relationships allow for some feedback between the partners on how each others' needs are being met. A online customer service relationship should be open to criticism as well, though the criticism is going to be a bit one-sided. 

Do not delete any negative comments on your pages unless they are discriminatory or otherwise offensive to your followers. Responding to those comments with empathy and understanding shows that your company is transparent and willing to make your mistakes right. Effectively responding to criticism also shows your followers that your organization is self-aware and working to become the best it can be. 

5. You're too predictable. 

If you already know what your date is going to say in every situation, your conversation can quickly become boring and stall. Why ask your date anything at all? Businesses do this when they always refer their followers to the customer service center. 

In certain situations, referring one of your customers to the customer service phone number is helpful. But, every complaint doesn't warrant a call to the customer service department. Your followers post to your online pages to get a quick response without the hassle of calling a phone number, speaking to a machine, and waiting for a customer service rep to pick up their call. 

If possible, try to handle their problem right there on the page. Try to contact them personally on their account. If the situation cannot be handled there then have a customer service representative call them instead. 

In every response be it either in a direct message or on the original post, always respond with empathy. Humans like to talk to humans. A thoughtful, empathetic response will show that you care and that you are doing what you can to help. 

6. You don't show your appreciation. 

It goes without saying. Showing your appreciation is key to maintaing good, fulfilling relationships. Online customer service is the same way. If you don't thank your followers when they post a compliment or even a complaint, it appears that you are ungrateful for their service. 

It's very easy to thank your followers. You can lead into your responses with a thank you, and you could simply post thank you messages every now and then to show that you really appreciate your followers liking your page and interacting with your business. 


Conducting customer service on social media is a lot like being in a new relationship. You have to communicate with your followers across different channels, respond to their messages on time, and show them your personality. You should also be open to their criticism, be spontaneous, and show your appreciation for them and their services. If you fail to do these six things, then you are well on your way to the heartbreak hotel. Learn some of the other pitfalls of online customer service here.

If you want to find out other ways your business can be better at social media marketing, click below to request a free marketing evaluation to make your business the best date ever!

 FREE Marketing Evaluation


photo credit: Crossing Road Grunge Sign - Heart-Stricken via photopin (license)

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