My Guest Post today is written by my social savvy friend, Erica Strother. Erica is the Community Specialist at the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI). Erica actively tweets and posts on LinkedIn about Customer Experience and other contact center topics. I asked her to share a recent post she wrote in which she shares practical advice on ways to manage the Social Service process.
Customers are now more socially savvy than ever, and they want to communicate with companies through social channels. According to 2013 research conducted by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), 67% of contact center leaders feel that social media is now a NECESSARY customer service channel.
In addition, statistics in a recent report from Software Advice show that
- 71 percent of those who experience positive social care experience are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19 percent of customers that do not receive a response
- 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
What does this mean for the business world and the contact center? Now is the time to develop (or refine) your social media customer service strategy.
Here are 5 steps that will put your organization on a path towards superior social customer service.
Step 1: Strategy
As with any other new initiative, you need to ensure you have a clear strategy, primarily regarding who should respond to what kinds of messages—marketing or customer support?
Once you’ve established who should respond, you must also consider when to respond, and how to determine which inquiries are most important. It may be impossible to respond to every mention of your brand, but these are key:
- Urgent Requests
- Negative sentiment
- Technical questions
Step 2: Listen
In order to remain competitive, companies must be proactive. It’s critical to listen to what your customers are saying about your brand on social media.
This means not only monitoring brand handle mentions, but also setting up alerts to monitor conversations about your brand, mentions of your competitors, and support indicators. Choose a system to monitor these conversations that is easy to use for agents supporting and provides you with the ability to do the searches for keywords and the robust reporting needed for your business.
Step 3: Triage Your Customer Service Tweets
When not properly organized and delegated, incoming social media inquiries can be overwhelming, and customers can feel neglected.
- Convert Social Messages in Trouble Tickets
- Prioritize Messages Based on Sentiment
- Automatically Re-route if Messages go unanswered
- Tag messages for other people of departments when appropriate
Essentially, treat social as you would any other customer service channel.
Step 4: Respond and Follow-Up
Once you’ve strategized, listened, and triaged, it is time to respond and react!
- Respond in a timely manner
- Don’t give customers the runaround
- Be human
- Provide links thoughtfully
- Always respond publicly
Step 5: Measure
Most contact centers have KPIs in place to measure success in traditional contact channels, and social should not be the exception. So how should you measure success with social media support? A few KPIs to consider:
- Average Response Time
- Average Handle Time
- Percent Response
- Customer Sentiment
…Are you ready to commit to superior social customer service this year? Industry experts agree; if you want your business to succeed, it’s no longer an option.
Erica Strother is the Community Specialist at the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) where she helps to manage the editorial content and community assets and engagement for icmi.com. She loves to write, is addicted to Twitter, and is passionate about the convergence of customer service and marketing. Erica is a proud North Carolinian, frequent traveler, and music enthusiast. You can tweet her @ens0204 or follow her on LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericastrother.