If you are going to be servicing large volumes of customers on social media, you will find it necessary to move from focusing provision on one-on-one support, to creating solutions that can pre-empt service needs.
By pre-empting customer needs you can begin to offer proactive support and self-service options.
The aim of this is not to remove the need for all contact with your organization, but to focus that need so that customers only require one-on-one support for more complex issues.
This means creating a dynamic model of customer support; a model that actively reviews complaints data to identify opportunities that anticipate the needs of a wider audience.
It means taking an innovative approach to delivering this, e.g. via proactive information updates, video support guides, peer-to-peer support communities, etc.
Ultimately it means developing entirely new, value-add services around common customer pain-points that remove the need for support for these issues entirely.
This approach allows you to service at scale and optimise your operations so that customers receive the most appropriate level of support for their needs.
Innovating to help the customer self-serve
To see how this works in practice, consider customer experience in hotels.
Standardisation and automation at the expense of human contact are usually associated with the low-end of the market.
Hotels with no reception staff and automated check-in and out are not usually the ones that offer the best customer experience and their price normally reflects this.
But that’s not to say that high-end hotels can’t automate.
Hotels are increasingly using technology to improve the customer’s experience, but the ones that do this well also maintain a level of human interaction.
They innovate to help the customer to self serve, for example, they develop apps so the guest can control room temperature, order room service, make dinner reservations, request housekeeping services, coordinate transportation, check flights, and book spa appointments all via their mobile.
This mitigates many of the common guest issues and makes for a good customer experience, but it also frees up the hotels resources, so if the guest still has a problem the concierge is always available to offer more personalized help.
And customers want personalization – that is they want digital services that reflect their needs and situation.
However, sometimes they also want to be able to speak to a real person.
Self-service with a personal touch
Personalization and personal service are not the same thing but both are important for customers. Personal service does not necessarily need to be in branch or even face-to-face; it can be online, over the phone or even on Twitter.
Self-service, no matter how personalized and relevant, does not replace this and removing personal contact to cut costs is a false economy.
In fact, self-service and personal interactions complement each other.
Self-service means that you can focus your personal service on those that need it most.
It means that customers are generally better informed before they seek help and it can help the bank develop a more rounded view of the customer, opening up the opportunity to service their needs for effectively and efficiently.
Good self-service can also allow you to reduce the number of service staff and invest more in the remaining agents so they are better trained and can offer more value to the customer.