Brand Reputation

Improve Customer Service and Satisfaction with Social Listening

What if you could take the words and emotions expressed about your brand across social media, and turn it into a data-driven asset? Social listening does just that, monitoring not only the tagged mentions, but also the untagged instances and the sentiment being expressed about you and your products. Knowing and understanding your current and potential customers in today’s business landscape is crucial for providing outstanding customer service and care. 

At the end of the day, it’s not much different than real life. Just like a brick and mortar shop, listening to customers with issues, complaints, or suggestions is essential for retaining and acquiring customers. Showing empathy, acknowledging them, and working toward resolutions are vital elements of customer satisfaction. 

The level of care shown matters — it’s called customer satisfaction for that exact reason. Social listening is a direct means to treat the scores of people across social media with personalized care, one that makes them feel like they’re being treated as a real human. Social listening implicitly improves customer service, and enhances customer satisfaction. 

Real, actionable methods to improve customer service, both the techniques used and the understanding of your audience, are available thanks to social listening tools. 

The significance of customer service in today’s business landscape

Satisfied customers are customer success stories — in fact, 80% of satisfied customers are more likely to spend more. Customers who give a five-star customer service experience are more than twice as likely to make a purchase again. 

According to research from NewVoiceMedia, US-based companies lost $75 billion because of poor customer service in 2018, and it’s believed that number has only increased since. 

A growing number of people use social media to ask a question, report a problem, or voice a concern. On social media, when someone sends a message to a brand, more than three-fourths of those people expect a response within 24 hours! 


In today’s landscape, customer service is more important than ever, because: 

  • Elevated customer expectations
  • Desire for personalized experiences, with empathy
  • Superb customer service leads to higher retention and trust 
  • It can increase brand reputation through social sharing
  • Outstanding customer service is leverage over competitors
  • People want to trust the brands they buy from and interact with
  • If complaints or issues go unacknowledged and unaddressed, it can turn into a PR nightmare and prolonged negative sentiment
  • Great customer advocacy leads to social advocacy and even brand advocates
  • Brand advocates tell the world your business is listening to customers

Customer service is oftentimes the face and voice of a company nowadays. According to Vonage’s Global Customer Engagement Report 2022, only 45% of people are “very satisfied” with their business communications, indicating an opportunity to stand above competitors. 

Practical example: JetBlue

A low-fare, affordable airline known for responding fast, with empathy, and presenting solutions. Pick a day, any day, and go to their Twitter account and look at their replies, such as these below from June 26: 

Source: Twitter


The company responded to both these inquiries fast, with the appropriate tone. The first message is more lighthearted with some upfront advice. The second message reflects more urgency and a serious situation, and the response is fitting. 

The role of social listening in understanding customer needs

Social listening is invaluable for excellent customer service because it makes the customer feedback loop incredibly more efficient while providing actual data about the words used across the online landscape — including social media, forums, blogs, video content, websites, and review sites.

People can state problems or express dissatisfaction without tagging or mentioning the specific company, making social listening important so those issues aren’t lost to the ether. By monitoring keywords and sentiment, social listening will bring these to your attention.

The power of social listening means every single mention doesn’t have to be scoured, either, with a social media manager constantly scrolling Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Social listening can quantify customer feedback, conversations, and sentiment, providing data and alerts about where and why the problems are being discussed. 

Immediate issue, or emerging trend? 

If an issue is a one-off, your team can respond directly to that person, to acknowledge, and if possible, solve the problem, or turn them over to the customer service team. Just last year, 63% of consumers believed that businesses still needed to do a better job of listening to feedback. 

If it’s an emerging trend affecting many people, a broader message can address the issue, provide details on the solution and even a timeline, if that information is available and relevant. 

Having the ability to sort through dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of social media messages is both effective and efficient. A great social listening tool sorts through it all and lets you know when something negative is occurring, especially if it’s on a bigger scale and warrants fast action to prevent negative sentiment and brand reputation from spreading. 

In fact, being proactive about issues might be a goldmine. Nearly half of people who have something positive to share about a company tell three other people on average. However, 48% of people suffering a negative experience will tell 10 or more people! That’s why getting to those pain points before they become widespread is crucial. 

Serve customers better by: 

  • Monitoring and responding to customer feedback in real-time
  • Identifying emerging pain points and trends
  • Acknowledging and addressing customer issues proactively
  • Continuously track and tag brand sentiment, to notice trends and enact solutions
  • Keeping tabs on how competitors use their social media customer service
  • Understanding the true voice of the customer by actively tracking how and why they engage
  • Creating a separate customer service/PR account to reply to messages


Practical example: Best Buy 

In the digital age full of online shopping, the electronics superstore Best Buy has remained relevant and even gained prominence online through total understanding of their customers, their wants, pain points, needs, and even emotions. 

Their Chief Customer Officer, Allison Peterson, said this about their approach: 

“Our first objective and primary goal is that we want to meet customers’ needs in whatever channel they want to engage with us in. Whether that’s digitally, physically, in their home via the app, virtually, we believe we can meet their needs regardless of channel. That’s the goal.”


Enhancing Customer Service through Social Listening 

Implementing effective social listening strategies enhances the customer service team’s interactions, achieves successful outcomes, effectively identifies pain points, and enables them to be more proactive.

Spend some time upfront making lists of relevant keywords, and parse them down to what your goals and needs are. Creating lists of relevant keywords upfront and refining them based on goals and needs saves time and aids strategy development.

Combining keywords with filters makes the data more relatable and understandable for your customer service squad, as well as other teams involved in identifying and resolving the issue, thus also helping future endeavors. 

The workflow you establish will allow everyone to be involved when they’re needed, and for them to stay abreast of what’s happening, even if they aren’t actively a part of it. This information can lead to the entire company seeing pain points before they arise, and for the lines of communication between customer service and the rest of the company to be open, respectful, and mutually beneficial. 


Social listening can directly benefit the customer service approach by: 

  • Creating personalized templates for specific answers
  • Developing prompts and reply systems so it’s response types are established and consistent
  • Continuously improving communication flow so the customer service team can notify the proper team(s) of issues, and that team in turn can inform customer service of any steps and timeline to solve the issue
  • Creating social media campaigns and utilizing case studies to highlight how your company problem solves by listening to the needs and wants of the audience
  • Noticing recurring trends for improving services and products
  • Preventing arising crises by encountering customer problems head-on
  • Encouraging empathy with customers and understanding your customers’ voice

Understanding customers better goes beyond polls and surveys, and promotes better empathy from within. 


Practical example: Lego 

Lego’s engaging social media feeds mostly revolve around cool building ideas and completed projects. Yet when a complaint arises, even when it’s only about their website and not the product, their customer service team responds promptly and professionally, providing practical advice, and even a direct contact for the frustrated customer. Social listening allowed the right team to provide the right response, paired with a coherent and caring response strategy.



Selecting the right tools and platforms for social listening

As we established earlier, customer service can set a business apart, from competitors and even against other businesses outside their industry, thanks to social media. Because of this, customer service’s importance is constantly rising, and the right social listening tool is essential to achieving ongoing customer success. 


New to social listening? Read our post on Social Listening Simplified, and Why it Matters for Your Business.

We invite you to try the SentiOne social listening tool with guidance from real people in tune with real-world needs. Ready to see how social listening will improve your customer service, enhance your brand reputation, and benefit your business as a whole? Simply click the link below!