Starting the social customer service journey
Organisations across the world are grappling with how to best use social media for customer service. In an era where consumers are increasingly using networks such as Facebook and Twitter to share their experiences, good and bad, how should companies respond? Who should handle enquiries? How can processes be changed to ensure that enquiries are dealt with quickly to keep customers happy, while still integrating with other channels and ensuring efficient operations? With recent research finding that 70% of complaints aired on social media are going unanswered, many companies obviously still need to focus on how they deal with this new channel.
For those worried about where to start, the best idea is to see social customer service as a journey. Everything doesn’t need to be done at once, but it is important to start the journey now – as Gartner states, “By 2013, at least 35% of customer service centres will integrate some form of community/social capabilities as a part of the contact centre solution.”
Based on Eptica’s experience, working with social customer service pioneers such as AirAsia and La Redoute, here’s an eight step guide to getting on with the journey.
Step 1: Stem the flow of high volume, low value contact
Many organisations have already deployed self-service systems on their websites, improving the online customer experience while reducing service costs. Essentially high volume, low value questions can be dealt with quickly, accurately and automatically, without the need for customers to call or email the contact centre. With organisations finding that up to ten times the number of consumers are visiting their Facebook page compared to their website, it makes sense to deploy self-service software on your Facebook page too. But not as a standalone solution – add your existing self-service solution to your Facebook page to maximise the benefits of using a centralised knowledgebase and response management workflow.
Step 2: Let people champion your web self-service answers within social media
Give customers the opportunity to Like and Retweet your self-service content through a single mouse click, spreading your knowledge consistently through Facebook and Twitter. Harvest and analyse information from social media communities for your own customer service use, learning from your users.
Step 3: Use the power of your customers
Create clear links from customer service information in your web self-service pages to social media communities such as Facebook. Use this as an escalation strategy that demonstrates your commitment and channels people to your social media community to continue the conversation.
Step 4: Deploy your self-service knowledgebase to communicate service information across ALL service channels
Make your self-service knowledgebase accessible through every service channel. So whether it is responding to a question via self-service, email, phone, the web, Facebook or mobile, customer service information is always up to date and consistent, improving efficiency and quality of service and providing a scalable, easy to administer platform. This means that service levels remain constantly high as all queries are routed through the same interface to customer service agents. They follow the same, straightforward processes to answer queries, removing the need to undergo additional training and ensuring consistency across channels.
Step 5: Effective management of incoming enquiries via social media to your customer service team
The rise of Facebook means that for many customers it is the preferred method of communication and interaction with companies. Consequently, organisations need to embrace it and use its features to better talk to their customers in a proactive as well as reactive manner. Use it to push out updates on products or services, such as changed opening hours or timetables, in the case of travel companies, to strengthen relationships with customers.
Step 6: Listen for conversations and questions
Social media provides an unparalleled opportunity to listen to and better understand customers but many organisations cannot cope with the sheer volume of noise generated across social media platforms. For most companies, the majority of tweets are not customer service related – for example, 70 per cent of McDonalds mentions are simply directional. Use software such as Eptica Social Observer to cut through this social media noise to identify relevant mentions of your company, brands or products.
Step 7: Enabling enterprise wide conversations
Some questions may be too specific or specialist to be answered by service agents or social media staff, but require escalation to subject experts within your organisation. Adding new channels such as social media shouldn’t add complexity, cost or time to the customer service process. To ensure that queries reach the right person and are successfully answered requires a robust, overarching workflow.
Step 8: Analyse
Finally, to complete the loop you need to analyse performance. Use multichannel analytics to provide a complete view of overall customer service across all channels, allowing managers to drill down to specific areas and even individual cases or agents. This ensures total, real-time control of customer service, whatever channel your customers decide to use.
In the same way as the introduction of corporate websites changed how companies communicated in the 1990s, social media is creating a seismic shift in the relationship between your customers and your company. For every organisation, now is the time to begin the social customer service journey. To provide advice on making social customer service a success Eptica has written an in-depth white paper on the subject. Click here to download a copy now.