Creating a Social Media Customer Service Plan
Recent surveys have indicated that social media is an increasingly important part of customer experience, with an increasing number of people using Facebook and Twitter as their primary customer service communication channel. Big brands ignore social media at their peril, as even if a presence doesn’t exist on social media, there are probably still people talking about the company, its products or services.
It’s tricky for many companies to get started in social media. It’s unchartered territory, and works much differently from conventional customer service communications. Basic monitoring and response is essential, but most businesses want to think strategically about the best possible use of any social media presence and activity to achieve a variety of business goals.
When to Listen
As well as administrating a Facebook profile or Twitter account, brand searches reveal what people are saying about a company online. It’s easy to end up swamped in data, so it’s important to only monitor as much data as is useful. Working out which mentions you are going to respond to should help you work out how many staff need to be on the project, how they should be trained and a rough estimate of response times.
How to Engage
Once you’ve decided who to listen to, it’s time to decide how to respond. These responses will probably be similar to that given on conventional customer service communication channels such as email, phone or mail, although obviously it’s preferential to give responses through the same communication channel that the customer instigated originally, whether that’s emails, tweets or private messages. Think carefully about which conversations you would rather have in private.
You should also consider how to prioritise customer communications. Twitter users may be loud and public, but does this mean that they should have their query dealt with more quickly than those that choose to use a telephone? Often users only resort to social media when conventional customer service communication channels have proved ineffective, so removing resource from the old customer service channels could make matters worse.
Empower the Team
Getting into social customer services is about more than training up call centre staff for social media. If you want to run this area efficiently you should empower staff with levels of autonomy which can help them engage and respond rapidly with customers without having to go through a lengthy approval process. This could include pre-agreed processes for unhappy customers and providing standardised perks for customers who have received poor service.
Like any business activity, one of the most important things you can do is measure its effectiveness. It all depends what you are trying to achieve, but measurements around cost per resolution, resolution speed or positive mentions could all be set-up to measure the effectiveness of any activities. You can also benchmark social customer service against traditional customer service channels.
Alan Cairns writes on a number of subjects including business continuity and telephone answering services on behalf of CSNotepad.