What makes top cloud-based services like Gmail so attractive for businesses today? Sure, everyone is obsessed with “the cloud”, but I’m talking about what makes it attractive to the actual people who use it?

I’d argue that the main reason is ease of use. It just works. You plug in a credit card, you’re operational instantly. No wait. And as you bushwhack your way to the coveted “inbox zero” each day, you hardly notice it, because it’s perfectly suited to your needs and it simply does exactly what you need it to. It’s purpose-designed. And I think there’s something to this “it just works” mentality that’s totally missing from social care.

I’ll explain.

A crash-course in truly caring

Social care evolved out of the marketing department. They were the first ones to latch onto social media and they developed tools for it long before customers learned that they could go there for customer support. Now it is the primary place that customers go, but the tools haven’t evolved with us. Customer support departments have pulled phone and email agents over to work social, but they aren’t using a purpose-made tool.

I’d equate this situation with asking them to make house-to-house deliveries with an airplane. They’re overshooting targets, clipping power lines, and dropping crates onto the wrong houses. What they need is a helicopter, and someone needs to buy it for them.

With the old marketing tools, care teams are stuck monitoring impressions, reach, demographics, highest performing posts, and tons of things that just don’t matter to them. With the totally wrong vehicle, how are they supposed to calculate their response times in business hours, resolution rates, average handling time, or sentiment conversion on an issue-by-issue basis? How can they effectively drive down operating costs inside their care organization if they can’t even compare channel performance?

And man, if your answer to all of the above is Excel, I don’t want to be anywhere nearby when you open that spreadsheet.

With marketing tools, care teams are stuck monitoring impressions, reach, posts, and tons of things that just don’t matter to them.

Plus, agents using marketing tools basically need multiple personalities to keep up with multiple simultaneous queues of social complaints. As I write this I’m looking at my own Tweet deck on a second screen as I type and I’m having trouble keeping up with just two Twitter handles (humble brag, nbd — kbd). How do you Mr./Ms. Big Enterprise expect your agents to keep up with four Twitter handles, eight Facebook pages, an Instagram feed, and a bunch of vloggers flooding your YouTube channel and still provide quality care?

Because you can’t have both. Not with the marketing tool at least …

Get to de’ choppa

With a unified inbox like Gmail, something that’s purpose-built for what you’re asking your agents to do, it’s a completely different story. I’m talking about a social care tool like Conversocial which summarizes all their social content into a single queue that just works. It’s great for me but even better for big brands who can ensure that everything gets a response before their agents log off for the day. Sprinkle in a bit of automation and distribution and you have Nirvana for your care team: a fully functional helicopter that helps them make deliveries precisely where they need to go.

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That’s what a best-in-class social care tool brings to the table.

But ok, listen, if you made it this far in the post, you’re intrigued to know more. You’re also probably a little skeptical. Why do I think you’d be skeptical? Because the objection I get all the time to this is “My agents are trained to use the marketing tool—they don’t experience these problems with workflows, we’ve made it just work.” Click, phone call over.

Well, here’s my response: just because the hard way has become comfortable doesn’t mean that it’s not tremendously wasteful.

Here’s a favorite comic of mine that illustrates this nicely:

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Image credit: ACL Services

People also used to do deliveries by horse and buggy, and I’m sure they said the same thing … right up until they went out of business.

Plus, if you want to know how your agents function best in the wild, just watch what happens when you hire someone out of your call center to add them to your social team. They’re confused and appalled. Why? Because they’re used to seeing things in a single queue because that’s what’s most efficient.

Agents love social care tools because they’re custom-fit for the call center: They’re intuitive. They just make sense.

So. It’s time to take social back from the marketers—get your own platform for your team that allows you to effectively manage volume across all channels and divert volume to appropriate channels effectively driving down your operating costs. Do it, and it’ll make you look like a damn rock star.

And isn’t that what we all want? Walk to talk more about how your team can start using a tool that just makes sense?

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