Imagine this: you’ve just ordered your favorite bagels for the office using a hip food delivery app.

Everything bagel with poppy seeds and onions? Oh yea. Warm asiago cheese bagel? Absolutely.

So Good

In no time a bag of delicious bagels are delivered to the office.

Moments later however you make a horrible discovery. The everything bagel with the lightly toasted crunch and veggie cream cheese spread you love so much?

It’s not in the bag. missing. GONE.

Now life, like any good choose your own adventure book, gives us three options:

  • Phone someone, wait on hold, then after 5 minutes decide you really didn’t need that bagel after all. “But today is gym day 😑”

  • Write a polite, but direct email inquiring about your missing bagel. Subject line? Do I need one? I guess "Missing Bagel" seems good, right?

  • Send a quick tweet, like "Yo Dawg, where my bagel at?"

Increasingly our customers are choosing the third option (yea, and totally misusing the Yo Dawg meme 😱. I know, right?).

3 reasons why customer care on social is exploding:

1. Social customer care is public

Amplify your best customer service interactions with a larger audience.

Traditional customer care channels like email are private, 1-to-1 interactions with our customers. But with social channels like Twitter, these interactions become public (at least to start).

We’re already wow’ing customers in other channels, like email and live chat. With social that awesomeness you’re delivering is visible to everyone. Those amazing customer experiences that create strong word of mouth marketing for us are now amplified to a much larger audience.

Existing and potential customers get to see first hand we’re responsive and actively supporting our products or services. They’ll know that if their bagel is ever lost we’ll make it right.

This is customer care as marketing in it’s finest form.

We can always move a public tweet to a private DM (Buffer Reply has a great feature for this) to collect sensitive info. But we can also solve a ton of customer issues in the open with just a Tweet.

2. Social customer care is fast and focused

Focused issues, faster response times and happier customers.

Twitter is famous for it’s brevity. It instills a sense of now. For many customer issues, 140 characters is plenty to get the point across and ask for help quickly. No TL;DR needed.

In fact, it’s often preferred over other channels simply because it’s so much faster:

With a focus on the short n’ sweet, something magical happens:

  • The barrier to entry for our customers drops dramatically. A whole email or phone call for a lost bagel is just ridiculous.

  • Focused and specific customer issues means we can reply faster. When a user Tweets in less than 140 characters it’s straight to the point and makes for easier replies.

  • Faster responses = happier customers = more $$$. Research shows faster responses actually generates revenue.

It’s easy to see why Twitter is quickly becoming the default customer care platform for major industries.

3. It’s where our customers are

Reduce friction and make it easy for customers to reach you form wherever they are.

At Buffer, a vast majority of our customers are on Twitter throughout the day. It’s where they’re at and where it often makes the most sense for them to reach out and get help. It’s also a great opportunity for us to dogfood our own product.

Pro Tip: if you’re a large brand or service it often makes sense to have two Twitter profiles with one solely dedicated to customer care. This makes it incredibly easy to filter customer intent (saying “hello” vs looking for help). Another option is to use a hashtag, like #BufferSupport.

It’s simple to find the best channels for our customers. Simply take a look at where they hangout or spend a majority of their time. Are our customers using any social channels or products as part of their day to day? Make it easy and meet them there for support.

It’s not all or nothing

But of course social isn’t the only place our customers reach out for help. At Buffer, In addition to Twitter we also support our customers via email using the wonderful Help Scout platform. What’s interesting is that the same customers will actually use both channels depending on their needs.

In short, we should go where our customers are to provide the best care possible.

What about you? Which channels are you using for customer care? Let us know on Twitter @GetRespond — We’ll be replying from Buffer 💁