Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Five Steps to Superior Social Customer Service

by: Sean Hawkins

Last week, ICMI hosted the webinar “Five Steps to Superior Social Customer Service”. Sponsored by Five9, the goal of the webinar was to help businesses “take the guesswork out of social customer service". Presenters Jonathan Russell of Five9, and Ashley Verrill of Software Advice, offered great insight for both the novice and the veterans of social media customer service.

Let’s face it, social media is more than an emerging channel, it is here! According to Verrill, nearly one in three social media users prefer to reach out to a brand for customer service through a social channel compared to the phone. And to further illustrate the power of social, Verrill pointed out that an overwhelming number of customers will recommend a brand to their friends if they have a positive experience via social media. After setting this stage, Verrill and Russell guided attendees through five steps designed to deliver quality service.

The foundation begins with solid planning. Before starting your program, you need to ensure you have a clear strategy. Jonathan Russell emphasized the importance of observation and organization. “You need to have business processes in place to interact, but those things will come AFTER you define where you are.” As part of their strategy, the group was given some best practices concerning which types of social messages deserve a response. They are:

·         Urgent Requests
·         Gratitude
·         Negative sentiment
·         FAQ (“This is the “low-hanging fruit.” It’s easiest thing to respond to, and it can drive traffic to your web site if you have this content there.”)
·         Technical question

Another point of emphasis was listening to your social channels. This should include mentions with and without your handle. Verrill suggested that companies setup queries that pick up every variation of the brand and social handles. Listening should also be extended to competitors as well.

Often, when a customer is tweeting both you and your competitor, they are at the moment of making a purchase decision,” said Verrill.

Thus, active monitoring could lead to a switch in brands. However, it is imperative to be quick and concise during these moments. A timely response and follow-up is essential.

“It’s impossible to expect that companies reply to every message on social, that’s why creating your strategy first is so important” said Verrill.  However, she continues, "there’s no excuse for some of the response rates I’ve seen. I ran an experiment last year where the brands responded just 14 percent of time.”

To add to this, Russell provided insight on delivering the ideal response. His advice was to maintain the human element and avoid providing agents with impersonal canned responses.

In addition, webinar attendees were given advice on case handling and performance measurements.  Overall, this was an informative session. Those committed to offer amazing customer service on social media were not disappointed. With the knowledge provided by such an outstanding panel, contact center managers have been positioned for success. For those who didn’t attend, you are in luck. A recording of the live webinar is now available for on demand viewing.

Many thanks to our friends at ICMI and their sponsor.

Sean is a Customer Experience, Contact Center and Help desk manager with over 12 years of experience. He has a terrific pulse on incorporating innovation into the contact center. He's implemented social, outsourcing partners, new technology, and new products, while maintaining an award-winning contact center.

In 2011, his team was awarded the ICMI "Global Call Center of the Year" for Small to Medium-Sized Centers. Follow on Twitter @SeanBHawkins

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