For a long time, companies have viewed social media as a brand marketing channel. Community managers post links to the deal of the day or other promotional materials, along with recent news articles tossed in for good measure. As a whole, however, much of the content shared is very brand centric. By including a customer centric focus in your strategy, taking care of customers, solving their problems and keeping them happy—that delivers a different kind of value. And it also helps you work toward the alignment of sales, customer service and marketing in a way that makes perfect sense.
Smart brands are using social media channels for customer service interactions. In fact, a recent VentureBeat report found that while 62 percent of consumers use Twitter, Facebook and other channels to broadcast service complaints, a vast majority of those messages never receive a response. Part of the problem is a lack of process, planning and technology to efficiently handle the job.
To meet this need, software vendors have developed a new class of social media products that enable customer service teams to instantly identify, prioritize and address customer feedback sent through social media. Here’s how it works.
Find and Prioritize
Tools such as Salesforce Social Hub and LiveOps Social use customized keyword identifiers to extract customer service requests from more than 150 million social networks, blogs, forums and other sources. These tools scan for messages that combine #CompanyName, @CompanyName and brand mentions with customer service-related triggers. This includes generic words like “help” or “need assistance,” or specific phrases like “My cable is out.”
These requests are automatically prioritized according to content, the customer’s purchase history, social activity level, tone of the message and other data. A cell network provider might for example apply higher priority to a request from someone whose contract is about to expire and just tweeted about how much they hate their current carrier.
“More than half of Twitter users expect a response within two hours of tweeting a complaint. 51 percent of Facebook users expect same-day response.” –Oracle
Doesn’t this sound about right? But it’s a big challenge. Even if your company creates a system for prioritizing social media service requests, this doesn’t address the need to respond in real time. Social Dynamx, another social listening tool similar to the aforementioned, uses role-based interfaces to automate message routing. The system considers agent expertise, work group, current caseload, average time to respond, and service satisfaction rate. The platform might, for example, choose a top service-rated agent to handle a strongly negative issue.
Users can easily change or add expertise as needed. For instance, imagine if a company needed to implement a recall. The customer service team could create a new work group and tag corresponding agents as the sole recipients for tweets related to that issue.
Many companies struggle with creating an efficient process for handling social media requests. If the community manager sees the comment on Twitter and responds, how does the company track that interaction? What if the question on Facebook or Twitter needs to be discussed privately? Do you tweet your service phone number? Provide an email address? What are the risks of either?
LiveOps Social is cloud-based contact center software that processes social service requests exactly like tickets submitted through voice, email or the Web. It searches for requests by Twitter hashtag or keyword, or by designated Twitter and Facebook accounts. Once LiveOps identifies a request, it creates a ticket that shows up in the service queue along with requests from other channels.
The work item is synchronized with other relevant customer data to prioritize the request, including service and social history. When an agent views the next work item routed to them they can see the overall context to understand a customer’s contact experience and respond accordingly.
Track and Improve Process with Reporting
Social Media Spaces, The Social Hub and other social listening platforms allow supervisors to analyze social response data so they can constantly tweak prioritization and routing rules. The dashboards use metrics such as social customer satisfaction, first contact resolution and ticket rerouting rates to help improve processes and reporting.
This shows managers where they are having the most success, as well as possible areas for improvement, which is particularly important for prioritization and routing rules. Social CRM by Parature uses more than 10 years experience in the customer service software industry to craft such rules. Chairman and co-founder Duke Chung says emotional implication plays a big role in ranking the importance of social message, but so does intention.
Create a Complete Customer Profile
The bigger picture benefits for the software mentioned here are greater marketing, customer service and sales alignment. By integrating customer service activities with marketing and CRM data, your team can have the broadest possible picture of each customer. Social media is just one more piece of the puzzle.
Research for this article was provided by Software Advice. This report is not an all-inclusive list of social customer service tools available on the market today. Features listed for one vendor may also be offered by another, even if not specifically mentioned.
Ashley Furness is a CRM Analyst for Software Advice and has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Prior to joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising.
Image by armigeress via Creative Commons