Why Social Media Care Is The New Customer Service

Comments: 1

  • Disclosure: I’m a VP at mBLAST one of our main markets is helping customer service organizations (through our software partners), so I’ve got a horse in this race.

    “Social Care” is here and I applaud the Chobani, State Farms and Wells Fargo for using their customers’ preferred channels to engage back with the customer… but sadly, there are many internal tugs-of-war happening in companies that are preventing this type of behavior from becoming the norm.

    In most of the companies I speak with (and many analysts I speak with hear the same thing), social channels for customer care are being “hot potatoed” between marketing and customer service. Customer service is challenged with limited systems that make it hard for reps to easily engage, and most companies have policies in place that prevent reps from reaching out via social channels or – when they do allow CSRs to engage – they see this as “risky” and rely upon canned responses. Most companies I talk to still look to marketing to own the social channels because social falls under the umbrella of “branding” and we know who owns branding…..marketing.

    And that’s the challenge. Marketing may own the brand but they’re not staffed, equipped or trained respond to a customer’s comment. Marketing traditionally doesn’t have the responsiveness innate in the customer service department.

    If customer service can respond quickly but can’t due to technical system limitation or company policies, and marketing is not in a service capacity, how does a company make the paradigm shift to providing “Social Care”?

    Given my background, you won’t be surprised when I say you must invest in the technology that will allow your agents to quickly accurately find and then respond to customers in need; and then you must give your CSRs the training and freedom to be the voice of the company back to the customer on whatever channel the customer wants to use.

    Many companies say,” I provide ‘Social Care’; we have a Facebook and Twitter account that we monitor”. Folks, I that is a GREAT start and but monitoring and even responding only to the customers who are proactively reaching out to you is only half the story.

    So what’s the other half of the story? Finding the customers that are speaking about your product off channel and connecting with them. And doing so when it’s not immediately obvious that they’re asking for your help (e.g. they’re not tweeting @ you or posting on your Facebook wall). Here’s an example: a company I spoke with at a recent Social Care event said that their brand was getting a mention somewhere on the social Web every five seconds. How are you going to figure out which of those mentions are worth proactively responding to? Are you going to have a person monitoring a console and making that decision 12 times a minute for 24 hours of every day? No – you’re going to need a tool that can clear up the noise (“I just ate a Chipotle” vs. “I just had a bad experience at Chipotle”) and which can also make sure that the most important voices (e.g., those who can have the most effect on your business) rise to the top.

    Companies need to adopt Social Care or Social Customer Service, I agree… but as you venture into those waters be aware that most conversations by your customers about your products are happening without you being actively looped in… and those are the customers that can cause the most damage to your brand. Those customers are not seeking help from you – they are likely in complain mode and they are taking to the social airwaves to be heard. If they wanted your help they’d hit your Facebook page or put that @ into their tweet.

    Now, imagine how customer satisfaction would grow if a customer got listened to and responded to when they didn’t think you, the company, was listening. Now that is Social Care at its best and it is easily possible.

Add a New Comment

Thank you for adding to the conversation!

Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately.