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The Road to Social Customer Service Nirvana - Where Are You Now?

By Rachel Tran on Jun 20, 2013 12:04:00 PM

Over the coming weeks we will be releasing 5 Quick Guides to Social Customer Service, taken from our Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service - the most comprehensive guide available to building a social customer service program. You can follow this series right here on our blog.

In the last few years, the marketing buzz around social communication has gradually made its way to the forefront of conversations on Customer Service innovation. Using ‘social for social’s sake’ is no longer a viable option. Businesses should be looking to use social communication to achieve strategic goals – but where are you now on this journey?

Every company is different, and your social customer relationships are centred around the unique products, services and approach you offer. Whether you are starting out your social customer service program, or a leader in social customer service within your industry already, evolving your strategy to reap real business value is essential no matter where you sit on the scale.

The Altimeter Group’s recent survey of social strategists and executives found that only 34% felt that their social strategy was connected with business outcomes. Developing a social customer service strategy certainly doesn’t happen overnight, and when you successfully connect engagement fully into your wider business goals, you’ve reached true social enlightenment.

Where do you think you are on the scale of maturity?

What does each stage mean, and how do you make the transition onto the next?

Elementary:

The earliest stage of social communication. Your company is dabbling in social media for one reason only: to promote corporate marketing. You’re not yet using these channels to get in contact with customers or respond to the problems they bring to you, but purely to broadcast messages to new audience. If your company is at this stage, have you done a real investigation into what customers are saying back, and considered other tactics for delivering the experience they expect?

Start understanding how your customers are using social media. Listen to their complaints, questions and problems and evaluate who in your business needs to pay attention. Once you know what customers want, you can start developing a social customer service plan, to take your business to the next stage as a social business.

Explorer:

You’ve set up some fundamental goals for using social media as a customer service channel, and understand how your customers are using these platforms to engage with you. You have a two-way dialogue with customers over social media; using it for both marketing and customer service. Your Social Customer Service team, albeit small, is reacting to customers’ real issues and trying to offer resolutions on the public channels these problems are raised on. Now what?

You’re at a great baseline for Social Customer Service, but there’s further you can take it to beat customers’ expectations and stand out among the pack. Start evaluating what customers are saying about you before they bring their issues directly, and identify where there are valuable opportunities to be seized by reaching out first. Review your organization and look for barriers where your internal structure is causing a disconnect between communications and customer service. Are you ready to move from Contact Centre and Marketing to Social Engagement Hub?

Advocate:

Your business can finally be called truly social. You’re approaching customer service in a brand new way, delving into social conversations to meet customers at their first point of need, and your organisation is fully connected through the Social Engagement Hub. Customers receive a completely connected up customer experience from your brand, because you’ve got seamless processes and effective communication between departments; the siloed contact centre has gone. You’re tying your social customer service activity to real business value, and making changes to your business from the feedback you receive on social. Well done. You’ve reached Social Customer Service nirvana.

Most businesses today should be an “Explorer” at social customer service, but everyone can strive to be a true advocate. Are you ready to continue the journey?

Download our first Quick Guide “Social Customer Service: Making the Case” to read more about why your business should have a Social Customer Service program, and for the full Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service, click here.

Be sure to join us for our Webinar to discuss The Business Case of Social Customer Service on the 26th June.

Topics: Best Practices, Customer Service, Customer Experience

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