Being an “adopted American” I get the best of both worlds, Thanksgiving stateside and Christmas back home. For me this means eating, drinking, present giving/receiving and all of the above (although the hangover from both usually lasts until mid-February). All-in-all I can't wait for this time of year!
For the social customer service manager this time of year brings a slightly different feeling - one of anticipation for what is to come. Black Friday alone can bring even the most resolute social media manager close to tears (and 2015 was the most social on record).
So with your marketing teams gearing up to push out promotional sales led messaging, it’s critical to be prepared for the inbound messages that will result.
It is very rare situation for companies to not have a crisis management plan in place. Luckily, it’s even rarer that this crisis management plan has ever had to actually been put into action. It’s important to “stress test” what happens when the crisis alarm goes off. What makes for a social crisis? What is your first move?
It is imperative to clearly define internally when an issue needs to be escalated, and where it needs to be escalated to. Your first response should be planned according to a multitude of scenarios and be approved by your PR team. It’s not always possible to stop a social crisis from ensuing, but you can get ahead of it!
Customers will always have a whole host of questions for you. With volumes ever-increasing during the holiday season, creating FAQ sheets to answer the high volume, repeated questions will improve response and resolution time. Allow your social agents to handle more conversations by deflecting repetitive questions to boost efficiency.
This kind of initiative involves both marketing and operations so you have a fully stocked arsenal of replies regarding promotions, operating times, return policies, etc. Once this quickie holiday knowledge base is created and approved, be sure to designate your internal workflows, and don’t forget to format each response into 140 characters for Twitter.
Determining your brand’s voice when engaging on social is an ever-evolving task. The holidays are a pressure cooker, so coincidentally response and resolution time are paramount. There is no time for trial and error.
To better prepare, have a look at 2014s social interactions. What worked? What flopped? Consider constructing a word cloud to better visualize the top ranking terms/words. Let these insights drive your social tone around the holiday season. This is the best way to meet your customers with real 1-2-1 conversations while being authentic to your brand’s voice.
Staffing, the never-ending conundrum. There are times where you know the spikes in volume are on the horizon and you better be sure that you are fully staffed. Be prepared to shift your ‘hot agents’ over to social if volumes get overwhelming, or consider fully training a new set of dedicated agents to manage the volume.
It’s also important to have expertise internally within your physical outlets or stores. You need a clear line of communication to people on the ground so they can solve issues at scale in the most personal manner possible, face-to-face.
At the end of the day, it is the festive season and therefore reason to be cheerful. Help self-promote your hard work by showcasing the great customer interactions and examples of your company doing social customer service well.
Give your team a holiday budget to go the extra mile and make your customers feel special. It’s the old surprise and delight maneuver - make them feel special with every interaction. That’s the least you can do after they have braved the awful Black Friday sales lines.
Wherever you are in your holiday rush customer care prep - I hope you have found these insights helpful!
For more information on how to prepare for this year’s holiday season, check out Conversocial’s Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service. You can also request a demo of our social customer care platform, trusted by companies globally to power their social care programs.