Customer Support in the Age of Social Media


January 25, 2024

Written by

Althea Lallana

Gone are the days of relying on a hotline or email and waiting for what feels like forever to get help when encountering problems with a product or service. In today’s digital era, a lot has changed in the contact center services industry.

The growing popularity of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, has enabled prompt and valuable assistance. A quick chat, tweet, or direct message (DM) can make the customer service process more accessible, interactive, and personal. 

The social media shift in customer support has allowed businesses to provide exceptional customer support solutions. This is especially true for multilingual customer support, which enhances a company’s global reach.

Multilingual customer support services refer to providing assistance in multiple languages that cater to a diverse customer base. Multilingual customer service ensures that people across the globe can voice out their concerns, receive support in their preferred language, and have access to multilingual customer care.

Now, let’s explore the impact of social media as a powerful customer service tool for businesses to showcase their dedication to customer care.

The Rise of Social Media in Customer Support

using social media

Social media platforms are a hot spot for individuals to connect, share, and engage. It is worth noting that the total number of active social media users is nearly 5 billion, which equates to 61.4% of the world’s total population. 

Aside from being updated with the latest information and trends, social media is the central avenue for users seeking guidance and assistance. Meaning, that businesses use these platforms to connect and assist customers globally.

The significance of social media on customer expectations goes beyond immediate accessibility and communication dynamics; it extends to establishing brand reputation and earning customer loyalty. Here are some positive effects both customers and businesses can expect when using social media:

  • Accessibility

Consumers can now look forward to receiving quick responses to their queries and concerns. The immediacy social media platforms offer has reshaped the traditional concept of customer service, with users expecting businesses to be available around the clock for prompt assistance.

  • Enhanced Communication

Considering how social media transformed the ways and means of communication, businesses make the most out of it by communicating directly with their target audience more transparently and authentically. This two-way communication has enabled businesses to respond and carefully consider individual needs. 

Also, proactive communication is an effective approach to resolving customer complaints and concerns before they arise. This is how businesses meet, manage, and exceed the ever-changing expectations of customers. 

  • Community Engagement

Social media platforms enable customers to develop a sense of belonging and active participation within a brand's online community. Businesses gain customer loyalty and create lasting relationships by engaging them in digital promotions and campaigns. This collaborative environment enhances the customer experience and allows businesses to understand their audience better, leading to higher customer satisfaction. 

Best Practices for Customer Support on Social Media

using social media on a phone

Prompt Response Times

When reaching out to a brand on social media, around 40% of customers anticipate a response within the first hour, and 79% expect to be acknowledged within 24 hours. With this in mind, quick and timely responses significantly contribute to providing exceptional social media customer support. Prompt responses mirror the dedication of customer support teams to addressing and resolving problems as quickly as possible. 

Providing a specific timeframe would also be great for managing customer expectations. In this case, a sample message, whether automated or not, can be: 

"Hi there! Thanks for getting in touch. Rest assured, our team is working diligently on this matter. We'll get back to you within 24 hours. Your patience is appreciated!"

Customers will perceive your brand as reliable when they experience efficient issue resolution. This perception helps you gain a favorable image and adds a layer of trustworthiness.

Moreover, the following are some tools and strategies for monitoring social media engagement to provide timely responses:

  • Hootsuite: This allows you to track mentions across different social media platforms from a centralized dashboard. Hootsuite makes managing and responding to comments, messages, tweets, and DMs easier.
  • Brandwatch: This tool helps analyze social media data and gives insights into brand mentions, sentiment, and trends.
  • Hashtag Tracking: Monitor hashtags relevant to your brand to track conversations and engage with users participating in those discussions.
  • Competitor Analysis: Keep an eye on what people say about your competitors. This helps you identify areas for improvement, refine your strategies, or learn from their experiences.
  • Engagement Metrics: Pay attention to likes, comments, and shares. High engagement indicates positive reception, whereas negative comments may require prompt resolution and timely responses.

Personalization in Communication

Social media has helped businesses offer personalized customer interactions using data gathered from their social media behavior. With this knowledge, businesses can understand customer preferences and deliver targeted content or recommendations. 

Let’s take Facebook Marketplace, for example. Once you search for a particular product in the marketplace, similar ones eventually show up because Facebook uses personalized algorithms to analyze your buying behavior and preferences. 

Tailoring responses to individual customers helps enhance customer support experiences and foster stronger relationships. Businesses show that they hear, value, and truly understand the individuality of each customer when they acknowledge their unique needs, interests, and preferences. Here's a guide on effectively personalizing responses: 

  • Understand customer profiles by collecting information from their purchase history, interests, and previous interactions with your business.
  • Address customers by name to create a more personalized and special interaction.
  • Provide suggestions or recommendations based on past interactions and customer purchases.
  • Show empathy by acknowledging the customer’s cultural background and experiences. 
  • Tailor the tone and style of your responses to match the customer's communication style, making the interaction more relatable and comfortable.

Transparency and Honesty

One of the main ingredients in achieving customer satisfaction is transparency. Being transparent means openly addressing customer concerns and providing accurate information without misleading details. 

Additionally, providing customers with real-time updates regarding their problems is essential in social media customer support. You have to keep them informed and reassure them that their concerns are actively being addressed. Doing so helps you instill customer confidence and reflects your commitment to transparency and responsiveness.

Businesses that prioritize transparency freely share insights into their processes and acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses. This overall integrity empowers you to earn customer trust and establish credibility in the long run. 

Utilizing Multimedia for Support

The power of using visuals in social media platforms proves its significance in producing user-generated content and providing customer support. You may create customer service infographics and incorporate images and videos in responses.

Multimedia allows for a more comprehensive representation of products, services, and issue resolutions. It facilitates a more efficient exchange of information as well-crafted images or videos can convey messages faster than text alone. Thus, visuals help enhance customer experiences because they find such content more:

  • Understandable
  • Persuasive
  • Engaging
  • Memorable
  • Relatable 

Overall, visual content sparks clarity and effectiveness in communication and aids in understanding complex issues in the best way possible. Images and videos provide clear step-by-step visual instructions, which allow customers to follow the troubleshooting processes or comprehend solutions easily.

Pitfalls to Avoid in Social Media Customer Support

warning sign

Ignoring or Deleting Negative Comments

Ignoring criticism on social media leads to significant risks and consequences. When businesses delete negative comments or dismiss customer complaints, it can result in an undesirable brand image and weakened customer trust. Unhappy or dissatisfied customers will likely share their experiences with others, leading to a ripple effect of adversity. 

What you say to customers in response to their complaints is just as important as how you address them. Ignoring those comments drives customers away. 

So, to handle negative comments constructively, here are some strategies to bear in mind:

  • Address negative comments in a timely, respectful manner. 
  • Maintain professionalism and composure to avoid tension and show that your business takes feedback seriously.
  • Acknowledge the customers’ concerns and empathize with them. Let them know their feedback is valued and the company understands their perspective. 
  • Demonstrate a proactive approach by taking concrete steps to address recurring problems and make promising improvements.

Lack of Consistency Across Platforms

Another pitfall to avoid in social media customer support is the lack of consistency. Different social media channels may have distinct communication styles, response times, and even varying information dissemination methods. This inconsistency can result in an incoherent customer experience, where customers receive different service levels or conflicting information depending on the platform. 

Maintaining consistency across social media platforms is crucial for several reasons. Being consistent helps:

  • Ensure that customers receive cohesive information and assistance, regardless of their communication platform. 
  • Build trust and credibility—key factors in fostering positive customer relationships. 
  • Establish a positive brand reputation that reflects the company's values and commitment to exceptional customer service.

Automated Responses Gone Wrong

The drawbacks of over-relying on automated replies include the potential lack of personalization and human discernment. While automated responses bring efficiency in customer support, these sometimes fail to address each customer's unique needs. It creates a perception of robotic, generic, or one-size-fits-all assistance, which should not be the case, especially if your business has a diverse customer base. 

Another drawback is the risk of miscommunication. Automated responses may not always understand the context of customer queries or concerns, leading to inappropriate or irrelevant responses. Such responses can frustrate customers and escalate simple problems into larger ones. 

Therefore, balancing automation with a human touch is vital to forming genuine connections. Customers appreciate it when businesses go the extra mile in listening and understanding their needs and interests, which makes them feel valued and special. Indeed, combining automation and human efforts creates a powerful team together. 

Future Trends in Social Media Customer Support

translate words

Integrating AI and chatbots enable businesses to handle a large volume of daily inquiries and provide round-the-clock assistance. This allows human agents to focus more on core and complex customer support duties and provide personalized assistance where needed. With that, the power of AI helps enhance the efficiency, scalability, and flexibility of business operations.

Moreover, individuals can look forward to experiencing the following: 

  • Regardless of geographic location, users can have more inclusive and personalized customer support across social media platforms. 
  • Many platforms feature translation options that help facilitate seamless communication between and among users, regardless of language differences.
  • Translation tools bridge language gaps and ensure users can engage with content in their preferred language.
  • Advancements in translation tools leverage AI and machine learning for accurate and real-time translations of customer queries and responses.

This boils down to how multilingual customer support outsourcing services effectively cater to and engage with customers from different linguistic backgrounds.

Multilingual Customer Service: The Path to Global Social Media Support

global team

Many individuals, as does the customer service industry, continue using social media to stay connected with others. Businesses adapt to the best practices of social media customer support and position themselves as responsive, customer-centric, and inclusive. This way, they embody persistence to meet customers where they usually are—in the digital realm. 

In essence, thriving in the social media era of multilingual customer support is not just a trend but a stepping stone for businesses to succeed in an ever-evolving market. So, if your company wants to stay up-to-date and relevant, consider outsourcing to New Media Services to take your customer support up a notch!

New Media Services is, without question, a trusted partner that provides flexible business processing outsourcing solutions for emerging businesses and global industries. Our dedicated and experienced multilingual support agents strive to bring businesses and customers closer to fostering stronger relationships. 

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