If you are integrating social media into your organisation to support your business strategy, at some stage you will be considering the implications for your customer services processes.
Even if you had not planned to use social media for customer service, consumers and potential clients may seek to contact you there.
Notable examples of organisations who were early adopters of social media for customer service include:
– Dell who opened up its social media command center to all employees, regardless of their function – they now monitor over 25,000 social mentions of the company daily in 11 different languages and have a dedicated Twitter account for customer support which is managed 24×7 providing global customer support.
– Best Buy the electronics retailer who developed “Twelpforce,” enabling thousands of employees across their organisation to receive and respond to customer queries via Twitter.
It should be noted in both these examples that there are clear processes in place and social media for customer service training is provided for their employees.
I know from clients that not all the people who are in your customer service team are equipped or effective in handling customer service questions posted through social media channels or visa versa. These organisations also have social media policies in place.
In 2012, Socialbakers introduced an industry standard called “Socially Devoted,” which they measure based on:
1. If a company creates an open line of communication with fans
2. If a company responds to its fans’ questions at least 65% of the time
3. If your company responds in a timely manner to questions raised through social media channels
You can review the organisations who are ranked on the “Socially Devoted” monitor here.
Many technology, utility and telecomms organisations have taken steps to develop protocols and processes including service level agreements for social customer support.
If you are using tools like Hootsuite for social media monitoring, you can now integrate tools such as SugarCRM which means that not only can your sales team who are using social media for lead generation and sales can manage the social selling opportunities that arise, customer service representatives an quickly create customer issue logs based on the social media messages posted about your business through social media channels so that you can quickly address and resolve customer complaints they arise.
Recent research from eDigitalResearch examined how consumers prefer to contact companies and then compared the various response times and satisfaction levels.
The survey asked more than 2,000 UK respondents how they expect to be able to contact a business – 92% selected email, followed by telephone (71%) and by post (45%). Fewer than one in four (22%) said live online chat and just 11% said social media.
A Practical Example Of How Small Businesses In Ireland Use Social Media For Customer Service
Blacknight the Irish hosting company recently wrote an interesting article about how they have integrated social media for customer service into their organisation.
For many years I have referenced Blacknight in my social media workshops for their use of their social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and their blog to keep their customers informed of any problems with the service they provide for example relating to website hosting and they use their social media channels to respond to questions.
They recently wrote and article about changes they have made recently in relation to using social media for customer service which includes enabling all their staff to respond to questions raised by current or potential customers.
They mention in their article that they are using ZenDesk as their customer service portal and have integrated Facebook and Twitter so that interactions with them on social media can be re-directed into their help desk.
They comment in the article:
Any messages that get routed to our help desk are handled by our customer service team. If the query is related to a technical issue or query, then it’ll probably be handled by someone from our technical support teams. If it’s a sales query it should get routed to our sales team and billing queries end up with our billing team.
Additional Resources To Support You In learning More About Social Customer Support
Read this recent article that covers essential research and data relating to social customer support in Ireland, the UK and the US.
If you have come across this article as a result of hearing me speak about social customer service and have questions about how to integrate social media platforms into your organisation you can contact me.