4 Ways to Apply Telephone Etiquette to Social Media


The online realm has impacted the way we handle customer service in more ways that originally thought. Customers now have more ways to contact a business than ever and social media inquiries are now growing in popularity. A recent infographic shows us that 52% of customers now expect a response via social media within 30 minutes. With the influx of customer queries now being targeted at online profiles, businesses now have to navigate the minefield of online customer service.


This new technology may seem baffling to some, but taking some old school tips from the reliable telephone may be the answer to a flawless online customer service strategy.


Answer fast


Customers are now used to a sense of instant gratification. It takes a matter of seconds to send a tweet or Facebook post and they expect the same speed when it comes to answering their inquiry. You must be on the ball for incoming inquiries as they are likely to pile up and become lost in a sea of notifications. Most call centers keep a record on how many rings it takes for a phone call to connect to an operator, take their lead and make sure you’re keeping up a good reaction time.


Your customers will tweet you long into the night, as is the 24/7 nature of the internet. You can’t be expected to reply to every single tweet that is sent out of hours, but you should be consistent and upfront with customers when an issue is going to take longer than expected.



Communicate clearly


Although there is a 140 character limit on Twitter, it is not an excuse to shorten and abbreviate words. Some of your customers may not understand what you are trying to say or feel as if you are not taking their issue seriously.


Telecommunication officers are taught to speak clearly and carefully so that the customer knows exactly what the issue is, you must take direction from them when answering social media inquiries. Use full sentences and correct punctuation even if your customer doesn’t illustrate their issue in the same way.


One person per issue


You may have more than one person working on your social media account at a time. However, including more people can confuse the situation so try to make sure each moderator tends to the needs of their own customers. Sharing customers could lead to conflicting replies and make the customers issue worse or slow down the time it takes for you to resolve the issue.


Take it offline when necessary


Not everything can be solved online. Sensitive issues and those that require an in-depth analysis will often lead to phone calls. Overall the telephone is still the superior service for customer inquires as it is much easier for staff to evaluate the situation and they can focus on one customer at a time, rather than a timeline full of increasingly agitated customers.


The infographic states that 80% of customers who do not have their issues solved via social media turn to their telephone. The key to a successful customer care strategy is accessibility. Keeping your customers happy is a matter of availability. If they can’t message you on social media or call your offices, they will simply seek out someone who will.


 About author

Sue Ratcliffe is the Head of Client Services at alldayPA, a telephone answering service, specializing in bespoke packages to suit any size business. You can visit at

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