Over the last few years, Instagram has evolved from a photo-sharing app into a marketing tool. Why? According to Business Instagram, the platform has over one billion monthly active users, 90% of whom follow at least one brand in-app and 200 million users visit a business profile daily.

What is more, the popularity of Instagram shopping offers great sales potential for ecommerce businesses: 70% of customers use Instagram for product discovery and 130 million users tap on shopping posts to learn more about featured products.

However, showing off products on Instagram isn’t enough for ecommerce businesses to boost sales. 

Customer expectations are constantly rising. 

Today, people pay close attention to customer experience and customer service when choosing an ecommerce company to buy from. As specified in one research by GetVoIP, 79% of consumers want to make sure that brands take care of their customers before making the purchase decision, 64% of people claim that positive customer experience is more important than price, and 52% of customers want to get resolution within a day when reaching out to brands via social media.

The Sprout Social Index marks top five reasons why people reach out to brands on social media:

And if your ecommerce brand uses Instagram marketing, you must be ready to provide customer service in-app. 

Here’s why:

If it takes days, weeks, or even months for your Instagram followers to get their questions answered, your potential customers are more likely to lose interest in your company and switch to your competitors. Pretty bad, huh?

To help you keep your Instagram followers satisfied, you need to provide excellent customer service on the platform. 

In this article, you’ll find three actionable steps to great customer service as well as examples from ecommerce brands. Let’s dive in!

  1. Optimize Your Instagram for Customer Service

When customers want to reach out to your brand on Instagram, it’s important to make sure that they don’t have to put much time or effort into finding actionable ways to contact you. Thus, one of the best ways to improve customer service is to optimize your business profile first.

Here’s how you can do it:

Make the Most out of Your Instagram Bio 

Instagram bio is the first thing users see when they visit your business profile. It’s no secret that customers may have questions during the awareness phase, so it’s vital to use your Instagram bio and tell your potential customers how to get in touch with you.

Here’s an example from Zaful. The company has a separate Instagram profile for customer support and it’s easy for visitors to understand how to contact their customer support team:

Not all companies that have an Instagram presence provide customer service on Instagram. Thus, it’s important to tell your visitors about alternative ways on how to contact you. Check out how B&Q did it:

Do you have chat buttons on your website? Great! Since every Instagram user has an opportunity to add one clickable link in the bio section, you can link back to your website so that customers can leave messages and get real-time answers without leaving an app.

Add Various Contact Options

Customers have different contact preferences for communication. Not all Instagram followers want to get a reply from your company in-app. For some of them, it’s easier (and faster) to call your brand or send an email, so you’d better add various contact options to your business profile.

The more contact options you have, the better. For example, Target allows its followers to write a direct message, make a phone call, or send an email.

Set Up Notifications

Fast customer service matters. 69% of people say that the quality of a customer experience depends on a “quick response” to their requests. This means people want to get a prompt response from your company.

But if you receive a great number of inquiries or work together with other team members on customer requests, it can take a long time to write a reply. Thus, you need to improve team communication and make everyone on your team know how to proceed with a request. The faster you start working on the request, the better.

The solution? Set up push notifications! 

Here are top three push notifications you need to turn on:

  • Comments
  • Tags
  • Direct messages (new messages and message requests)
  1. Listen to Your Followers and Visitors

Since Instagram shopping is getting more popular among buyers, it’s no wonder that customers are not shy to share their customer experiences with other potential consumers. If you sell products on Instagram, get ready to receive customer feedback from your followers. 

However, you also need to pay close attention to what people say about your company and products. When you listen to Instagrammers, you can understand your target audience better and improve customer experience. There are two ways on how to do it:

Check out Comments

When people follow your business profile on Instagram, they are more likely to be interested in your company and products. However, most modern customers crave two-way communication, so they comment on brands’ posts to share their thoughts and beliefs and hear back from your company. 

Take a look at any popular ecommerce business that uses Instagram marketing and you’ll see a great number of comments from happy and unhappy customers. 

When you don’t reply to comments, people leave negative thoughts only as they want to warn other customers. For example, Made.com gets dozens of negative comments.

When people share their customer experience on your profile, they want to help your business grow. What is more, they want to be heard. Thus, you need to reply to all comments and therefore improve customer satisfaction. How? Ask your customer service representative to analyze Instagram comments and deal with satisfied and dissatisfied consumers. 

Be More Empathetic

No matter how good your products are, you must have customers who are not satisfied with the quality of your products or services. When people share negative customer experiences on Instagram, they want to hear back from your company. 

Showing empathy is a proven way to win your customers back. In fact, 45% of customers will tell their friends and family about a good experience if they get a response from your brand.

Here’s how MadeWell communicates with customers in the comment section and shows empathy:

  1. Provide Proactive Customer Service

If you know your target audience from A to Z and you help your customers before they need assistance, that’s great. This means you provide proactive customer service that helps to keep your customers satisfied.

Look, the idea of using social media for ecommerce businesses isn’t new, so you can check out best practices and learn from brands how to provide proactive customer service. Here are some proven ways to do it on Instagram:

Leverage Social Proof

When people discover new products and services, they want to be sure that your company can satisfy their needs and wants. Thus, 82% of people read customer reviews before buying from a new company. In other words, people seek out social proof and when you provide followers with social proof, you ease the worried minds of potential customers.

Providing Instagram followers with social proof leads to brand trust, more likes and comments, and loyal customers. For example, when Guess published a post with J.Lo, it got 5x higher engagement rate than other posts (115k likes and 315 comments while average posts get 27k likes and 120 comments):

Want to know how to provide social proof on Instagram? Consider publishing the following content type on your profile:

  • User-generated content
  • Customer reviews
  • Case studies
  • Influencer endorsement

Invite Followers to Leave Customer Feedback

When you know your target audience well, you can satisfy their needs and therefore make a perfect product they want to buy and recommend to their friends and family. Having an Instagram presence, you can make the most out of your loyal followers and invite them to leave customer feedback.

One of the easiest ways to do it is to link back to your customer satisfaction survey and write about it in the caption. But not all customers will be ready to spend their time and fill out your customer satisfaction survey unless they are motivated to do it. 

If you want to convince more followers to share their thoughts with you, offer brand rewards. For example, you can run an Instagram contest and give away a gift certificate so that the winner can choose the prize of his or her choice, just like in the example below:

However, there are many other ways to collect customer feedback on Instagram. For example, you can invite customers to leave their thoughts in the comments or team up with influencers who can motivate their followers to write about your product.

But if you use Instagram Stories for business growth, check out how to use ephemeral content for market research.

Monitor Brand Mentions

Not all customers visit your brand’s profile to share their thoughts about your company or product. 

Just imagine: 96% of those who discuss your brand online don’t follow your business profile. This means ecommerce brands need to track brand mentions and analyze what their customers think about their company. 

Luckily, the modern market offers different social media management tools, so it’s easy for companies of all sizes and niches to find brand monitoring software that suits their budgets. However, it’s also important to spy on customers’ profiles and read comments. 

When people discuss your business on their social media profiles, they encourage their followers to join the conversation, so you can find more insights from customers in the comment section:

In a Nutshell

People want to reach out to brands on platforms they use more often. When consumers discover new products on Instagram, they also use this social media network to get in touch with brands if they have questions or concerns.

If you want to make the most out of Instagram and boost ecommerce sales, be ready to solve customer requests in-app. Not only can it improve customer experience and convince followers to buy from you, but it also helps to stand out from the crowd of your competitors.

About the Author: Val Razo is an SMM consultant who believes in the power of Instagram marketing. With over six years of SMM experience, Val writes for marketing blogs to share her tips. Check out her Twitter to read the latest blog posts.