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6 Expert Tips to Help Your Brand Provide Better Customer Service Over Social

Harry Rollason
By Harry Rollason on Feb 7, 2014 11:50:47 AM

Last week we sponsored the Social Media for Customer Care Summit in San Francisco. The event brought together leading speakers from top brands to discuss everything social customer service. Here are some of our highlights from a packed two days.


1) Set processes early on––and know when to involve other departments - StubHub

In an engaging opening session Randy Rubingh, Director of Customer Service at StubHub, discussed the processes in place to deal with potential programmatic issues on social channels. Not only does StubHub set the precedent of a 10-minute response for issues that fall into their ‘negative category’, they also have processes for when social message are considered problematic and need more attention paid to them. These include creating social customer centric policies, looking at complaints on a case-by-case basis and having a predefined escalation policy. When threatened with social media activism, Randy suggests that you handle each case on an individual basis, checking on the influence and reach of each user and escalating to PR and Marketing when appropriate. 

2) Use practical examples to build the case for social customer service – Intel

So you know your customers expect your brand to provide social customer service, but you can’t seem to get buy-in from senior management to make support over social a reality. Blake Landau, Social Media Program Manager at Intel, explained her best practices for getting buy-in.  One example of this is sharing practical, positive examples of customer resolutions in social channels with senior management. This gives them a visual image that is easily understandable and shows real impact. Blake also touched on a very interesting point: support IS marketing. The sooner brands wake up to this, Blake said, the sooner customer service will have a seat at the table.

3) Be where your customers are - BBVA Compass

While many financial institutions have taken a conservative stance towards offering customer service over social media, this mindset has changed greatly as leading companies have provided excellent examples. Carolina Aramayo, Social Customer Care Manager from BBVA Compass, talked about an approach centered on the philosophy of being in the forums that your customers demand. Getting this right requires a certain number of considerations before implementation. One of the key takeaways was to create clear guidelines that are not only communicated internally but also externally to your customers. This means being 100% transparent so consumers know what they can expect. In addition to this, Carolina made the point that even when you are not be able to solve a customer issue publicly on social due to privacy issues, you should follow up with post issue resolution on that given channel. This not only shows you still care, but allows for issues to be resolved in a public forum still.

4) Deflection is not social customer service – TRADEKING GROUP

As more brands turn to tools like Twitter for customer service – one of the increasingly common strategies is to “escalate” issues away from social channels. This is particularly pertinent if you operate in an industry such as TRADEKINGS, where questions are very technical and sometimes require complex answers.  For many brands, this results in a feed full of unanswered messages, or brands immediately engaging with customers who share a question via Twitter by telling them to call the 1800 number. Rocco Sabino, Principal of Social Media and Content at TRADEKING, shared his brand’s approach to this, namely teaching all agents that is all right to say “I don’t know” over social. This means that the customer has been acknowledged in the channel of their choosing, and allows time for their questions to be analyzed, routed and answered in due course. 

5) Find opportunities to surprise and delight your customers – The Clorox Company

In a highly entertaining presentation, Ryan Dickman, Global Insight Lead of Consumer Affairs, shared some compelling real life examples of how to surprise and delight your customers. Ryan pointed out that one of the key benefits of offering customer service over social media is the ability to humanize your brand. It makes you relatable to your end user and promotes a sense of humor that can act as a real differentiator in crowded marketplaces. He made the case for setting a clear tone and conversational approach and then sticking to it, even being casual and cocky in some cases--#TeamBrita for example.

6) Create brand advocates – Nokia

One of the highlights of the conference was to hear Sean Valderas, Social Care Manager at Nokia, discuss how to empower employees to become advocates. Sean shared some of the key learnings from the process of building a social customer care team, as well as how to get employees motivated for social. Chief among the points raised in his presentation was the idea of equipping your employees with the right skill set, ensuring employees are aware of all the tools, polices and procedures needed to represent your brand positively online. Sean also emphasized keeping them motivated through gamification–letting them know that their contribution is valuable to the company.

Learn everything you need to deliver first-class social customer service with a free copy of The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service below.

The definitive guide to social customer service

Topics: Customer Service

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