Handling customer service on new social channels is very different to voice, email, or chat, but many commentators have failed to acknowledge just how different social customer service really is.
Social Media Today just published some interesting research focused on how nearly 600 businesses are seeing increased value in making sure their social customer channels are as strong – if not stronger – than existing ways to interact with customers.
The research led to four key findings:
- Listening; making this work is really about listening to customers. You might have thought that you were listening to them anyway, but now they are talking about your products without even getting in touch – so you need to listen online and monitor what people are saying about you, but not to you.
- Behind the scenes; customers don’t care about how you make your customer service function work and this is even more important in the transparent world of social media – you just can’t post Twitter messages asking someone to get in touch with an agent on another channel, customers want you to deal with them via whatever channel they have used to reach you.
- Cannot silence; you can’t stop people talking about your product or service. There are defamation and libel laws if someone is publishing someone that is factually incorrect and damaging, but in the majority of cases a customer complaining about a specific problem won’t be breaking any laws, but they might be ruining your business. You can’t silence them, but you can interact with them to ensure complaints are factually correct and dealt with – you may even create some fans with good turnarounds.
- Need team in place; you can’t just bolt on social support. It’s far more complex than a regular customer support function and needs a team of crack agents, familiar with what you are already doing and able to work in a transparent way where all their customer interactions can be seen.
Photo by Ross Mayfield licensed under Creative Commons