As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wage on, online customer service practices remain an essential part of many companies’ strategies. Instagram, one of the largest social media platforms available, is a place where a lot of businesses create and nurture relationships with customers. When used well, Instagram can be a place of connection and effective content marketing. But when not used well, it can be more trouble than it’s worth.
Some companies excel at providing world-class service through Instagram. Others flounder and see it mainly as a place to post pretty photos. But if you aren’t using the platform to engage with customers in a meaningful way, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Now more than ever, customers want to meet businesses where they’re already spending time—and for many people, that’s Instagram. Being able to help customers thrive and utilize your products and services through a platform they’re already spending hours a day on is key.
Here are five Instagram mistakes customer service representatives keep making. Make sure your reps avoid these crucial errors.
Ignoring the Comments
Are you posting and bolting? If so, you’re missing out on an important opportunity to interact with your client base. Oftentimes, customers use Instagram comments to ask questions, voice their concerns, or interact with customer service representatives. Even if you don’t want to utilize comments in that way, it’s important you at least acknowledge each comment and point the commenter in the right direction. Leaving your comments hanging seems unprofessional and lazy. If you’re a large brand that gets hundreds or thousands of comments a day, you don’t need to respond personally to every single one, but it takes a minimal amount of time to scroll through and at least “heart” each one. And some of them, both positive and negative, should be responded to to show people there are real humans on the other end of the app and not just a faceless company. You also may want to come up with some guidelines for what happens if commenters start arguing with each other, which can happen when tensions get high, as they currently are in our world.
Not Using Links Properly
On Instagram, your link options are limited. You can post one link in your bio, you can link to a series of links utilizing an app like Linktree, or you can utilize the swipe-up feature in stories if you’re a business account with over 10,000 followers. Simply sliding complicated links into your captions or as a reply to comments isn’t helpful. It looks clunky and like you don’t really know how to use the app. If you’re telling someone to reference your FAQ, make sure it’s linked before shooting off a quick “Check out the link in our bio for more on this!” People aren’t going to take the time to close Instagram and type up a whole new Web address in their browser, but they might actually click over to your bio or stories if it means simply clicking on a link. Instagram customer service should be about ease of use for the customer, not ease of use for the customer service representative.
Not Acknowledging Customer Feedback
What’s your system for monitoring customer feedback on Instagram? When people are tagging your account or mentioning you in stories, do you have a way of tracking that? If not, now’s the time to do so. A negative news story about your business can go viral in the time it takes someone to snap a photo of a product that was delivered broken and share it to stories. There are plenty of apps that allow you to streamline this process, like Sprout Social or HootSuite. Being able to keep close tabs on who’s talking about your business on Instagram—and what they’re saying—is essential to providing solid customer service and maintaining your brand’s high reputation. Letting customer feedback simply fly into the ether without acknowledging it and interacting with it isn’t going to go over well. People post on social media platforms oftentimes out of frustration, and being able to go the extra mile and handle that frustration over the social media platform can go a long way.
Being Overly Salesy Without Solid Service
Is Instagram great for sales? Sure. But if all you’re doing is selling, not serving, you’re going to get a whole lot of unfollows. Try to approach social media with the idea of service first. Even when you’re letting people know about a new product or service, do it in a way that makes people feel as if you’re helping them with a problem, not asking them to open their wallet and hand you a credit card. In truth, Instagram probably isn’t going to be the place where you make the majority of your sales efforts—an e-mail list is much more effective for that. Instagram in general is more about connection; it’s about conversing with customers and walking them through tricky problems. Having an Instagram Live session to talk about a new product? Great. Having one a week later to help troubleshoot any problems people are facing? Even better.
Not Having a Goal-Driven Strategy
Customer service can be incredibly hard to measure. Digital customer service? Even more so. But going in headfirst without so much as a goal or two is going to be ineffective. Find a way to measure your customer service on Instagram, whether it’s the percentage of comments you responded to, the number of clicks through to your customer service portal, or the number of direct messages you got in a single day. Your Instagram presence needs to have some type of customer service goal in order to create a strategy that will truly serve customers and not simply be a time-suck. Take a look at your current social media customer service efforts—what are they leading to? How are they bettering the lives of your customers? How are you connecting with your client base and helping them achieve their goals? These are the types of analytics that are essential to track.