Snapper’s top 5 social media response tips

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One of our primary roles as a ticketing provider in Wellington is to provide customer service to over 300,000 Snapper card holders. We provide the traditional methods for customers to seek help, such as face-to-face at Service Centres, over the telephone from the call centre, or self-serve methods such as website, mobile and kiosks. However we have also seen an increase in the number of customers using social media as their preferred channel to report information, complain, or seek help. These channels include Facebook, Twitter and Google Play.
For many public transport operators, providing customer care through social media is uncharted territory, and while we don’t profess to be experts, we have developed some guidelines that have worked well for us, and we are happy to share with others to help structure the communications approach in this social channel.The five simple rules we use to guide social media activity are outlined as follows:

1. Redirect
2. Show care
3. Offer reassurance
4. Follow up
5. Sort and report


1. Redirect


When replying to a negative review, you should first should first reinforce the ways a customer can get help (service centres, call center), and when replying to a negative social media comment you should ask them to direct message you so you can help them “off-air”. This avoids lots of back and forth discussion on social media for everyone to read, and allows you to get to the bottom of the problem directly with the customer and in a way that protects their privacy..
Depending on your service channels you could use the following examples for a script:

• Hi *name*, message in app feedback and we can sort this out for you.
• Please give us a call on *Service desk number* and the team can sort this for you.
• Sorry to hear that. Please email us at *support email channel* and we will get to the bottom of this for you.
This type of response is also particularly helpful for comments and reviews that express nothing but the negative like “it just doesn’t work”.

2. Show care

It always pays to show empathy to each customer. If all the replies appear to be just a copy and paste, it doesn’t demonstrate a very high level of care or interest in your customers.
At a minimum this can be achieved by using their name, just saying hi *name* and ensuring you use colloquial, user friendly language, while remaining true to your brand.
If the user is having a bad experience- apologise. At the end of the day you want your customers to love and care about the app and your brand, so you are genuinely sorry to hear that they for whatever reason they have had a bad experience. For example you could say:
• Sorry to hear that…
• Our apologies for any inconvenience …

3. Offer reassurance

It is fair to say that when a customer leaves a bad review or comment on social media, it’s a reflection of disappointment, because they wanted your product or service to work and are feeling let down that it hasn’t. So if you know that their issue can be resolved, offer assurance of this should they reach out using the correct channels.
• We can fix this for you no problem
• ..the team will sort this out for you
• ..the team can troubleshoot this for you

4. Follow up

When customers request a feature, or report a problem that is due to be fixed/released anyway, always let them know. This can help any other customers with a similar issue to stay patient rather than post.
Once something is resolved, or a feature has been added, it is worth going back and updating your responses to let people know. In our experience, only 1 in 10 people will return to update their review, but when it happens it is woop woop wonderful!


5. Sort and Report


Many people treat social media as an informal channel and therefore fail to include results in service or operational reporting. Social media should be at the forefront of reporting, as it gives the current pulse on customer feeling (sentiment) and depending on the percentage of customers engaging through this channel, it could also be the richest pool of information for service improvements. We recommend that you categorise the common issues and track the number of complaints each month to assess whether the issue is getting worse or was a one-off. You can also use software tools like Hootsuite to automatically measure your customer sentiment over multiple social media channels.


Get started
If you are just beginning to provide customer care via social media or are looking to step up to a more structured approach, these guidelines will be a good starting point. It also helps to have some “house rules” regarding whether you respond to negative/abusive emails (usually not) and the time expected to respond to messages. Customers on Twitter expect responses within minutes, not hours or days, so you will need to create a separate set of KPI’s for your team responsible for social media compared with other service channels. This also applies to hours of operation (do you provide cover during the entire time your public transport network is running?) and the style of response.Social media can be a powerful way to connect with and help your customers – with these tips, you can get started with the confidence that you can provide great service in a style that suits your brand.