20 learnings from the frontline of social customer service (part 2 of 3)

20 learnings from the frontline of social customer service (part 2 of 3)

Danielle Sheerin

Last week I shared the first 7 or my 20 learnings from the frontline of social customer service. Today I am sharing 8-14. If you missed the first post in this series, check back here.

8. Good team leaders are essential for social customer service: A good team leader will champion the team, instilling the culture and ethos that a great social customer servicing team needs. They also act as the conduit for insight back into the organisation, allowing you to capture actionable MI to ensure that service improvement is continuous.

9. Operating hours and SLAs should be led by customer: Do some basic analytics on your social spaces, when do customers send the most queries. If it is during the evening or weekends and you only operate in office hours, then look at extending your service. The same goes for your SLAs, an 8-hour response time is not going to do any good at all but this doesn’t mean you necessarily need to respond within 2 minutes. Ask your customers what their expectations are and deliver to that. The chances are that 30 minutes – 1 hour will suffice, unless your business is particularly time critical.

10. Get the tools that work for the agents not the ones that procurement think you should have: Don’t stick with a tool that doesn’t do the job just because it is cheaper or you already had it in house. Get the tool that lets your agents do what they need to do. Agents need to be fast, so get a tool that lets them see queries and respond quickly. Agents also need to track ongoing conversations, so make sure that they can easily see threads. Sit with you agents and find out what else makes their lives easier and if it means changing tools, then bite the bullet and do it.

11. Train and practice for crisis and surge: Don’t wait for the worst to happen with your social customer service. Pre-empt it and prepare. Work out how your agents can spot a crisis and ensure they are clear on what to do when one happens. Run a crisis simulation on social media to test out your processes and responses so you are confident in your crisis handling ability. Prepare for surge events in the same way. Consider what you would do if an event happened at the weekend or out of hours. How would you scale to handle it?

12. Create clear escalation routes into the business: Your crisis training should ensure that agents are able to spot a query that requires escalation but you also need to ensure that the people you are escalating to are aware of their role. Train them, set SLAs and make sure that everyone knows their roles and is accountable. Training, process and leadership all have a role here if customer service quality is to be maintained.

13. Be ready to offer proactive support: Proactive support can be a lifesaver if unforeseen issues arise. If you have a systems outage, a well-timed tweet can head off a volley of calls to the contact centre. Proactive updates and information on your social channels will mean that you can control the situation. You can also use proactive support in other instances, for example, proactive messaging around product launches and clear FAQs can help educate customers and offset support calls. Make sure your operating model is setup to do this; create the right channels for this information to flow through to your social customer service team and ensure that the right messages can be generated and released at the right time.

14. Build up repository of support materials for internal and external use: Be creative use Vine, video or other tools to create support materials to make customers’ lives easier and deflect support calls.

Next week in the final part of this series I will share the last 6 insights, so be sure to look out for it next Wednesday.

[Photo credit: Ian Britton]