Contact Center Transformation Featured Article
Four Strategies for Better Social Media Customer Service
February 20, 2013
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
Call centers are no longer the only channel for customer service. Social networks are playing an increasingly large role in the lives of consumers, so it makes sense that companies must engage along those channels.
And they are. Roughly 60 percent of contact centers now offer social support, whether it is Facebook (News - Alert), LinkedIn or Twitter, according to the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI). Chat also is gaining traction in the contact center; roughly 32 percent of contact centers currently offer chat support, according to the ICMI, with SMS supported by 37 percent of contact centers and instant messaging supported by 29 percent.
That doesn’t mean that contact centers know how to properly conduct social media service, however.
“If a brand is unskilled in social media customer engagement, adapting customer service programs to new channels can be challenging,” wrote Ernan Roman recently in an article for the Huffington Post. “Brands might default to reactivity--essentially, playing 'defense'--when faced with disgruntled customers online.”
But defense is not enough. Consumers spend 21 percent more with companies who deliver great service, according to the 2012 American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer. Thus it is incumbent that companies offer great customer service, and that means playing on the social media channels.
Roman, who is president of the marketing consultancy, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, suggests four strategies that can help contact centers effectively provide social media customer service.
First, make passion for service a corporate value. Customer service representatives are the front line of a company’s marketing effort, and they need to realize that every service engagement as an opportunity to increase engagement and drive brand advocacy.
Second, companies should surprise and delight with authentic engagement. Roman mentions Ruby Receptionists, which was voted the Best Small Company to Work for in the U.S. by FORTUNE Magazine. The company looks for ways to impress customers in unexpected ways, like regularly sending customers handwritten “thank you” notes, demonstrating a hybrid form of customer service.
Treating every service interaction as a marketing event is another core strategy.
“Every service opportunity affects your brand's reputation; thus, representatives must be trained to treat interactions as opportunities to communicate relevant and personalized messaging,” noted Roman.
Finally, prioritize immediacy since social media happens in real-time.
“Track brand mentions, concerns, and questions 24/7, and respond immediately,” wrote Roman. “People will show their appreciation by retweeting your responses, broadcasting your good deeds to hundreds of others.”
Edited by Rich Steeves
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