When was the last time you’ve talked to a brand on social media? Would you like to learn how to use that experience to improve your brand’s customer service on Instagram? In this article, I’ll show you how to use Instagram to provide customer service. You’ll also learn tips and tricks to help your customers even better. Let’s begin. The Benefits of Using Customer Service on Instagram Image Source First things first, why should you use Instagram as one of your customer service channels? Well, there are some good reasons for doing that, actually. Be Where Your Followers Are Instagram is one of the most engaging social media platforms over the last few years. It simply makes sense to go where your followers are. Once you start building your brand’s Instagram presence, customer requests may come organically. Whether you’ve planned it or not, you need to be prepared to adjust to your customers’ needs. If they spend more time on Instagram Stories, you might want to think about how to make them more interactive. Or if you see an influx of customer requests on your Instagram DMs, then it’s time to be more serious with your Instagram customer service strategy. Interact More Easily Many of us love using Instagram on our phones. It’s an easy way to keep up with our friends and brands that we’re following. What makes Instagram powerful is its simplicity compared to other social media platforms. This is also why it could turn out to be a great addition to your customer service. If this is the type of interaction that your followers want to have with your brand, you cannot ignore it. After all, the customer is always right. And if they want to get in touch with you, you need to make it as easy as possible. Reply to Customer Inquiries Faster Don’t you love using Instagram’s DMs for quick interaction with a closed group of friends? Well, now you can also use it in a similar way for your brand’s customer service strategy. Instagram’s simplicity can also help you to gather quick feedback about your latest product. You can encourage your followers to send a direct message on the day that they purchase your new product to gather useful insights. Just like that, you are making interactions easier and faster. Boost Your Professional Brand All posts and every single interaction represents your brand. Thus, it’s important to be professional and help your customers as much as possible. For example, how about adjusting your overall customer service strategy to Instagram’s best practices? What if you use it more creatively to showcase your authenticity? Your brand can be part of every interaction. It’s up to you to decide on how you want to make the most of it. Setting Up Your Customer Service on Instagram If you are ready to set up your customer service on Instagram, we’ve got you covered. Here are five tips to follow to stay on top of all requests. Switch your account to a Business profile Image Source Switching to a Business profile allows you to help you add your business information, such as opening hours, address, phone number, and a website link. Here’s how to set up a Business account. Go to your Instagram profile Click on the menu button Go to Settings Scroll to find the option ‘Switch to Professional account.’ You will be asked to add the relevant details. You’re ready to go! Accessing a Business profile allows you to become an Instagram Business, which gives you additional insights about your audience, promotional options, and contact buttons. Set Up an Engagement Plan Image Source The best way to help customers on Instagram is to set up an engagement plan. Work with your customer support team on the best way to approach the incoming comments, brand mentions, direct messages. How is your customer support strategy different from other channels? What can make you stand out? Set up a monitoring workflow that will help marketing and customer support be productive without missing any inbound requests. Decide on your priorities and make sure that you maintain an engaging brand. Aim For an Average Response Time Social media is all about speed. You don’t want to leave a customer waiting for a response for months. You don’t necessarily need to respond to all requests within five minutes, but it’s still good to agree with your team on the average waiting time. Aiming to respond within a few hours can help you boost your loyalty. It can also serve as a competitive advantage over other brands that may be slower in their responses. Work on Default Replies When Needed A good way to save time and address common concerns is with the use of pre-populated responses. Are there set questions that you keep receiving? What if you write down a series of default replies that you can adjust based on each customer’s message? Create a document that would serve as your customer service FAQ and write down the answers to the most popular questions. Set Up a Crisis Plan With Your Team You never know when a brand/PR crisis may hit. One message can backfire into a big social media crisis affecting your reputation and potentially your sales. There’s no need to panic! All you need is a crisis comms plan to address such cases. Start with ‘risk evaluation’ and think of the possible ways that things can go wrong for your brand. Now it’s time to come up with potential solutions for each scenario. For example, what if an unhappy client starts bombarding you with negative comments? What if a new campaign leads to negative PR that goes beyond Instagram? Or how about the case that several unhappy customers request refunds all at the same time? The more prepared you are, the easier it becomes to deal with an actual crisis. Tips to Get a Successful Customer Service on Instagram Whether you already have a successful customer service strategy on Instagram or not, there are always new things to learn. Let’s look at practical tips to help you improve your customer service on Instagram. Connect Facebook and Instagram A good way to stay on top of your DMs is to link your Instagram account to your Facebook page. It can help you combine all the incoming messages to speed up your response rate. For example, it makes it faster to use pre-populated messages for questions that may be common on your Instagram and Facebook Pages. Just like that, you’re improving your customer service while keeping your customers happy. It’s easy to access your Instagram DMs on Facebook. Just go to your Facebook Page’s Inbox and click on the Instagram Direct. You can also access your Instagram comments to simplify your monitoring. Think Like Your Instagram Followers The best way to make the most out of your customer service on Instagram is to think like your followers. What do they expect from you? What level of support would make them happy with your brand? Draft your strategy based on the best tactics that would bring you closer to your audience. For example, if you are managing an ecommerce brand, you know that a good response rate is important across all social media platforms. Your followers are your potential customers, so you want to maintain a healthy engagement to boost your sales. Be Approachable and Engaging Every detail matters in a successful customer experience. It’s important to be helpful but also engaging. What does your brand’s tone of voice say about your customer service? Or is your brand easy to reach? You need to be willing to go beyond your customers’ way to make them feel at ease. For example, if you want to boost your customer service on Instagram, make sure that you monitor all comments and DMs. If you cannot do so, make sure you redirect your customers to the best ways to reach you on other channels. This way, you are not risking losing your customers, and you’re still able to lead them to the best point of contact. Image Source Set Up Roles and Responsibilities to Improve Your Success If you’re ready to commit to boosting your customer service on Instagram, it’s time to get your team together. The best way to stay on top of things is to assign roles and responsibilities among different departments. Marketing and customer service should work on a plan that benefits both teams. For example, you need to draw the line between a fun comment that may require attention and a customer asking for help on a product. Should the customer support team jump on the second one? Or do you need to train the social media manager to handle the initial response? The earlier you work on the roles and responsibilities, the easier it becomes to focus on the incoming requests. Using the Right Tools to Maximise Your Success Now that you’re ready to improve your customer service on Instagram, it’s time to use the right tools to make the process easier. Here are the different types of tools that would help you manage your customer service on Instagram: Social Media Scheduling A successful social media presence starts with the right Instagram scheduler to help you organize your content. How about using your content calendar to update your followers on your customer support availability? Use your content strategy and your visual planning to make it easier for your followers to reach you. Monitoring Monitoring tools are vital for marketing but also customer support. You can use a listening tool to track conversations about your brand, your products and services, and your campaigns. You can also gather feedback and address issues right when they occur. CRM Software Your CRM software can help you integrate marketing and customer support. You can blend your marketing data with your customer database to get a better understanding of your followers. For example, if a customer messages you on Instagram, you can track your database’s interaction. This allows you to use this interaction for future reference while building a complete profile for your customers. Customer Support Platform If you are serious about your customer service on Instagram, you might want to integrate Instagram into your current customer support platform. There’s no need to use your phone to respond to a customer request. You can link Instagram to your existing CS platform to have all requests in one place. Examples of Brands Running Their Customer Service on Instagram Looking for inspiration from brands that are already running their customer service on Instagram? Let’s look at a few examples and what we can learn from them. Monitor the Comments to Promote Your Products Image Source You can be proactive with your customer support and engagement. It’s not just about the DMs that you’re receiving. Keep an eye on the comments and start interacting with your followers. You never know when a question can lead to a new sale. Answer Product Questions Image Source The more time we are all spending on Instagram, the more opportunities for your brand to increase their sales. That’s why it’s important to be ready to respond to all queries as fast as possible. For example, Nordstrom replied to a practical question on a product’s price with the necessary details to move prospective customers closer to the sale. You don’t want to lose a prospective customer once they are considering buying your products. Monitor Both Comments and DMs Image Source Good customer service starts with understanding the best practices of the specific platform that you’re using. In that case, you need to know how your followers use Instagram. It’s common for many Instagram users to add a comment if a brand hasn’t responded yet to a DM that they’ve sent. That’s why you need to monitor all forms of contact to keep your customers happy. Protect Your Customers’ Personal Information Image Source You don’t want to put your customers in danger with their data. That’s why it’s common with customer service across social media to ask for your customers to continue the conversation through direct messages. For example, H&M wanted to investigate a problem with a customer’s order, so they asked her to send her personal information on a DM to track the order details. Takeaway There are almost a billion active users on Instagram. It’s not surprising that many of them expect your brand to be responsive to their messages. Customer service on Instagram is all about being genuinely helpful and understanding. It’s important to find the process that works best for your team, but it’s also crucial to make it easy for your followers to reach you. Find your authentic voice and aim for a satisfactory response rate to boost your customer engagement.