Social Customer Service: 7 Lessons I Learned from Running my Food Delivery Business on Facebook

Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

Does this sound familiar to you?

You were forced to bring your business to Facebook as safety measures tightened. Suddenly you found yourself thrust into the challenging aspect of translating your customer service to social media in a way that still feels familiar to your customer base.

Or you have long nurtured a business idea and are using Facebook to make those entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

I too managed a Food Delivery Business that ran entirely on Facebook. In the beginning, we had a physical shop, but because of new measures, we have to think of ways to keep the shop going.

No matter how you got your start, you are probably always thinking about improving how you can deliver great customer care that will keep the customers you already have and motivate them to come back.

Let me help you with these hard-earned lessons I learned from managing a business that ran entirely on Facebook.

Real-Life Lessons on How to Provide Customer Service on Facebook

Lesson #1: Honor even the smallest transactions.

Just because the order today only reached the minimum doesn’t mean it will stay that way. But even if it does, if you deliver service as good as the product, you will get repeat orders, positive feedback, or even a recommendation from your happy customers.

When we started, we had customers ordering the bare minimum to get food delivered to them. However, we managed to turn them into regulars just by treating their order the way we would a bigger one. The bonus was getting them to share their experience with their friends on Facebook and leave our Facebook page a glowing review.

What to do: Always think about the long-term. You can scale these repeated small transactions with many customers provided that you plan your delivery route well and manage other aspects of the delivery process such as delivery scheduling and delivery route planning.

Lesson #2: It’s okay to refuse orders.

It’s 11:00 am, and you’re riding (and possibly also drowning!) a massive wave of customer orders sent to your Facebook Inbox. It’s peak business hours, everybody is hungry, and they want their food right away.

As much as it is tempting to say yes to every order that comes in, you must consider your delivery capacity and keep a close eye on your inventory. Don’t ever say yes to something that you can’t deliver.

Refusing a potential customer’s order during peak hours is completely acceptable, rather than disappointing that very customer (along with others) with issues that may arise from trying to accommodate everyone.

These issues could be food running out because you said yes too quickly or late deliveries that affects everybody on the list because of taking in too much.

What to do: End the conversation by giving your potential customer a full list of your menu that week so they can order ahead of time. This type of message leaves the conversation open for another possibility.

Lesson #3: Be honest about estimated delivery times.

A big order comes in, and you are tempted to bump down other smaller orders in favor of the bigger one. You can do this if the delivery locations are within proximity. However, you have to be particular about managing the delay.

What you can do to manage the expectation is to be truthful about the delivery capacity. Make use of the Facebook Appointment Calendar to organize delivery slots.

What to do: If you can’t deliver at the desired time, tell the customer that and discuss another time slot. More often than not, customers will understand and will either proceed with the order or cancel.

If it’s the latter, don’t think that you lost the customer forever. Always end your conversation with an open line that could lead to a possible transaction. Sending your customer the menu ahead of time or reaching out to them after two weeks ensures that continued presence without being too cloying.

Lesson #4: Answer chats within 3 minutes.

You are not the only food delivery business out there. Your potential customers have a lot of other options, so being responsive and quick can win you more business or, at the very least, keep customers from abandoning potential transactions.

Doing so also activates the very responsive badge on your Facebook page that tells customers that you are there for them quickly and always.

Being quick at replying can be tricky to do when you have multiple customers messaging you simultaneously.

What to do: Set-up templated messages on Facebook Inbox as saved replies that you can send the customer right away.

These are examples of template messages that can be set-up ahead of time and sent out without typing over and over:

  • your menu of the day
  • an order format that your customer can complete (e.g., delivery address, to whom, desired time, order items)
  • and a message asking them to wait for a minute until someone from your team could assist them

Lesson #5: Respond to feedback. Even those that are unsavory.

You can’t make everybody happy. It could be a complaint about food quality or service left as a comment on your page or about late delivery or the food packaging.

Deal with negative comments and reviews by responding respectfully. Is food too salty? Reply to the comment by saying that you appreciate their feedback and take this up with the kitchen staff to improve the menu.

Other complaints could be delays or mixed orders. Depending on the severity, you can address these complaints by giving them a voucher that they can use on their next visit as a way to apologize for the inconvenience and thank them for bearing with you. Or apologize for it and mention that you will take this up with your team for improvement.

What to do: Remember to take action on these complaints — especially when you see a lot of the same — and discuss them with your team.

You can then show your customers that you listened by posting on your Page any product improvement, such as a visual poet, a video about the new packaging, and a behind-the-scenes look at food preparation.

Lesson #6: Know when to abandon toxic customer interactions.

It can’t be helped. Some customers can be rude despite your sales associate’s best effort to assist them with their purchase. Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on the customer if they are unreasonably insulting a team member and using foul language.

Abandoning a potential customer transaction is not easy.

What to do: Create a respectful parting message to the customer when you do so. You can say something like, “We cannot cater to your request at the moment and hope that you find a service provider that fulfills your needs.

You might also encounter an issue about payment channels that are not yet offered by your business. In that case, after you have exhausted all other available payment options, you can tell the customer that you will work on improving the payment channels. If there is enough volume and where it makes sense, work on getting that channel set-up and inform your network about your updated payment channels.

Lesson #7: Be consistent with your messaging and service.

To achieve consistency from initial customer experience down to order delivery, you need to communicate with everyone in the team — from the kitchen to customer service specialists and delivery personnel — your standard operating procedures.

What to do: A quick huddle before service starts to brief everyone on the menu of the day, highlights of the dish, key ingredients, and existing reservations to fulfill puts everyone on the same page.

Being aligned with your team is especially important because as it gets busy, it also gets harder to take a quick moment away from the kitchen to answer simple questions about ingredients that can be answered in the beginning anyway.

For consistent messaging, you can design a communication flow that will give your customer service specialist an idea of how to respond. A templated order form also saves time and keeps the information needed organized. You can set some of these up as saved replies on Facebook Inbox.

Filling up store hours and having the menu accessible with clear labels on ingredients helps customers understand what you are offering and makes the path to decision making easier.

Wrapping Up

Facebook is packed with features that can help you deliver a good customer experience. Use the available features to make it easier for customers to know about your offers, how they can pay, and other details that make ordering as pleasant and convenient as if you’re physically there.

Nothing replaces the ease with which customers can order when in a brick and mortar store. Still, with the use of technology coupled with planning and a dedicated social media presence, you can inspire your customers to keep going back to your Facebook shop.

Originally published on Umami Content.