More and more companies are jumping on the social bandwagon to provide customer service. No matter what the new channel of interaction, in customer service it always pays to pay attention to the person behind the curtain. After all buildings don’t buy products, people do. And, if you haven’t taken the plunge yet, here are some recommendations to help you get started on the social bandwagon.


Just to get started, you should begin with listening. Simply by listening, you start understanding the customer needs, issues, reasons, frequency, volumes etc. You can also learn a lot by listening on a competitor brand.


The listening should lead to learning. You can get many insights just by listening. Here is a list of things you should be looking for:

  • Do you see lots of posts for your brand on social channels?
  • Do the posts comprise of service queries or issues?
  • On which channel do you get larger volume of posts?
  • Are these posts due to an ineffective primary customer support channel?

You can also learn a lot from tracking your competitors and setting up a competitor brand tracker.


Based on the above learning, develop the methodology, guidelines, best practices, and any other kind of employee enablement guides or programs. Quite simply this content should help the potential employees assigned to manage social customer support to respond to customer queries by adhering to your guidelines and be able to provide successful resolution.


Beyond the core team that developed the above methodology, you need to identify the larger pool of employees with the right skills, attitude and aptitude to manage the social customer support. You need to plan for training them in the understanding the guidelines that you have developed and be able to use to resolve customer issues. There is also a need for refresher training on a period to address new and evolving requirements or customer situations.


Having trained your employees, provided the guidelines, the next important thing is to empower the employees. After you onboard your team of passionate employees, you need to clearly empower them to deal with different customer situations. These could be decisions that they can take in terms of addressing specific topics, value, policies etc. Beyond the empowerment, you need to define a process for the employees to follow to address exceptional scenarios.


It is time now to let your employees connect with your customer on social channels. Ease your employees into the role. Ideally, if they have been involved from the early listening stage, it would help. For those employees who were on-boarded later, they could shadow the employee who was involved from the early phase.


This is an important ongoing need. Your employees should learn to relate and understand the customer need / request. Empathy to the customer need would help them propose an ideal resolution. In some cases, a customer query needs a simple, direct response back to resolve. In other cases, the customer query may need more details, and the best way may be to move the conversation to a different support channel.


When your employees understand the customer pain and are fully empowered, it would help them go over and beyond their call of duty to resolve a customer query and then provide some. It helps to provide that extra bit of value or service to the customer so that they go back a delighted customer. Delighting each and every customer should form the DNA of your team.

You will notice the set of criteria is no different than the criteria you would need to support or engage with your customers on the traditional channels. Finally, keep in mind that technology is just the enabler for social customer care. It’s about people and processes.