Social Customer Service continues to be a hot topic. We have all heard the reasons not to engage – from the“United Breaks Guitars” video with more than 13 million views to the stories about companies that have neglected to respond when a problem goes viral. This is not one of those articles. This article is about the positive aspects of Social Media – and how important it is that customer service has a seat at the Social Media table - to ensure they are helping drive strategy, as well supporting the tactical details.
Some 73% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. Facebook is the dominant social networking platform in the number of users, but a striking number of users are now diversifying on to other platforms (Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Some 42% of online adults now use multiple social networking sites.
We have all seen the negative impact of social media on company brands but what about the positive? Have you seen that new viral video about the Olympics Proctor and Gamble created to celebrate the impact of mothers on the success of our lives? The video was created for social media. It was created to make people think positively about the P&G brand. The first time I saw it, I thought, “Wow – that was cool…” and I posted for my friends to see also.
So, if the marketing team is going to spend the dollars to push positive brand awareness, then I think it is our job in customer service to ensure that the brand is seen through the same positive prism when a problem arises.
The “customer service” organization has traditionally been to solve problems and support the sales, services and products of the company. Our bigger vision is to provide a sincere, professional – and pleasant customer experience. In fact, in most cases the contact center owns the majority of the customer experience. So when someone talks negatively about the brand, it is our job to listen and respond. And with the right response – we cannot only affect the positive perspective of the specific situation – but we can positively impact the perspective of all of our customers who are connected to that person socially.
As we work with companies who are thinking about engaging socially, I find that they land in one of four categories when it comes to social:
I believe the playbook is the key to social service success. But it is not for the faint-of-heart. Developing a good playbook will take weeks of work – and focus. And once you complete it, it is probably time to revise it again. It should be a “living and breathing” document that changes as the company changes.
When describing the concept recently to a customer she asked, “why would I spend so much time with the details?” My answer was simple. Remember when you began handling emails for the first time? We were scared-to-death that an agent would type something wrong. We were scared that the information shared would be wrong and somehow legally binding. Social has some of the same fears. So, yes – we need to spend some time thinking about how to manage the channel. Not fear it – but manage it.
So – where to start? Here are some categories outlined in an effective playbook: