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Social customer care: Are you doing it right?

16 Nov 2015

Customer care using social media can’t be that hard, right? Or is it trickier than simply setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter account and waiting for the shares and retweets to roll in?

It’s easy to think social customer care is measured by the number of followers an organisation’s Facebook page or Twitter account has, but according to a report from Aberdeen Group, that’s not the case.

Companies using social customer care well are able to gauge their social success through metrics such as agent productivity and customer satisfaction.

 So what makes for a company that’s leading the pack in terms of social customer care?

Companies that are best in class in terms of social customer care don’t just establish accounts and then leave them, or only check them from time to time. It’s important to establish processes that allow the company to understand the issues the customer has and then connect the customer to the right service agent in a timely manner.

There are two methods top performing companies use to identify customer needs using social media. The first are reactionary responses. This means the company only monitors its own social media channels and then responds to issues and requests that come from those sites.

The second form of customer service is opportunistic. This means the organisation monitors non-company social media sources such as forums, blogs and the like to identify issues the customer might have with the company.

The company then reaches out to the customer and creates a support ticket, routing the customer through to the correct customer service agent, much as they would when they are using a reactionary response.

It’s not hard to see which is a better solution: opportunistic companies will have higher customer satisfaction and client retention rates than companies that are purely reactionary.

It’s also vital to have inter-department communication when it comes to social media customer service. If a client-service agent in one department, such as sales, isn’t aware of the conversation that someone in a different department is having with a client, then the result is inconsistent messaging. The customer hears one thing from one person, and something else from another person. This can lead to customer frustration, or in an extreme case, litigation.

In order to combat inconsistent messaging, customer service agents need to have a whole-of-customer view. However, as Aberdeen notes, many companies struggle to implement this overall customer view. And as we’ve seen, this leads to inconsistent customer messaging and interactions.

 The keys, then, to becoming a high performing social customer service company are as follows. First, develop an enterprise-wide social media strategy. Second, provide employees with easy and timely access to customer data. Finally, as a high performing customer service company, you need to regularly assess your performance in order to introduce continuous improvement.

 With those keys, companies will have better customer interactions, and happier customers regardless of the social media platforms that you use.

By Kristen Pimpini, Aspect Software ANZ managing director