If you’re a business owner, you understand the importance of providing high-quality customer service through many different channels. You might already handle customer inquiries and complaints through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, Instagram is fast becoming an essential component of customer experience, and if you’re not using its many tools and functions to improve your customers’ satisfaction, you could be losing sales.
Now that Instagram includes options to make purchases from your online store via a link in your profile, your customers will use the platform to ask questions about the status of their orders, your return policy, or how to get a refund if an item arrives damaged or defective. Always provide a contact link in your profile and keep a close eye on your inbox.
Every photo or video you post to Instagram provides a forum for customers to comment on your products and services. If you post a photo of a store you’re opening at a new location, for example, customers in that neighborhood might respond positively. On the other hand, if some of your customers had a negative experience at another location, they might resent the fact that you’re focusing on expanding rather than fixing the problems in your existing stores. You might find your feed littered with complaints about rude employees or messy shelves.
No matter how stunning your images, negative comments or unanswered questions make you look bad, which means it’s vital that you respond promptly and demonstrate to all your followers you’re acting in good faith. According to Later, 88 percent of customers who make inquiries on social media are less likely to make a purchase if they don’t receive a reply, and at least 30 percent will purchase from your competitors instead. On the flipside, 65 percent of customers feel more brand loyalty if a company acknowledges their feedback.
The best way to handle most issues is to thank the customer for the feedback, apologize for the inconvenience, and then suggest the customer send you a private message to discuss the details. Never ask followers to leave personal information in the comments. Staying on top of customer service requests takes time, especially if customers are commenting on older posts, but there are many Instagram tools to streamline the process. Management tools like Buffer allow you to view all comments and other activity in the same dashboard.
Customer care isn’t just about fixing problems; you need to be proactive to prevent problems from happening and gain a clearer picture of what customers want. First, you want to use precision targeting to ensure your content is reaching your ideal customers. Services like Socialsteeze use smart filters to target your niche and engage with the accounts most likely to respond favorably.
Once you find your audience, you need to create the content that will keep them engaged. Entertainment is an integral part of the customer experience, and Instagram Stories are the perfect way to inject a little fun into your business. Because Stories are only viewable for 24 hours, they foster a sense of exclusivity and anticipation. Teaser videos about upcoming product launches are especially enticing.
Stories now feature questions stickers. Followers click on the link in your video to send a question, which you answer later during a Live Q and A session. Addressing frequently-asked questions in a Live video saves you the effort of replying to followers individually. Regular Live chat sessions also give customers the opportunity to communicate with you in real time.
Your longer video content is a means to provide assistance without customers having to ask for it. Create video tutorials to demonstrate how to use products, navigate your online store, or troubleshoot your software. Organize your content around themed hashtags, so followers know what to expect. If you’re a foodie, for example, post your dessert videos under #tuesdaytreat, use #wednesdaywine for photos of your favorite pinot pairings, and repost older content for #throwbackthursday.
The easiest way to find out what your customers want is to ask them directly. Create polls to get feedback on a particular issue; if you discover 95 percent of your followers prefer chocolate protein powders, you won’t waste time and money developing other flavors that won’t sell.
Ask for testimonials you can post as images, and keep an eye out for user-generated content you can re-gram as free advertising. Hold photo contests where followers post photos of themselves using a certain product in exchange for a discount code or chance to win a prize.
How do you use Instagram for customer care? Share your ideas in the comments.