We held a Customer Roundtable in Dublin to get together with our customers to discuss where they feel they are heading in the context of the social customer service industry and what trends they are seeing as the market matures.
As we all know, social is scaling and rapidly. Customers have higher and higher expectations of social as a channel for customer service in the moment they need to speak to that brand. However, the business resources to run social still seem to be in short supply, with social teams remaining in a silo in some businesses. How can a brand be expected to deliver against this kind of expectation?
At Conversocial, we believe in a Social First strategy to successfully embed social customer service as a successful part of your brand. This was raised at our RoundTable and all our brands had something to say.
AIB’s In-Channel Resolution Strategy
AIB , Allied Irish Bank, a Conversocial customer of 3 years, is one of the two largest banks in Ireland. AIB gave us some great insight into how social ROI is being used by the business. More and more AIB customers are choosing social to connect as their queries are dealt with quickly and effectively. However, without tangible money saving to the business, investment in making social the first choice of customer service response channel presents challenges. AIB remains true to its philosophy, that a brand should respect the customer’s channel of choice and (as appropriate) resolve the query in that channel. Increasingly, for AIB, this represents their social channels.
Bord Gáis Energy is one of Ireland's leading energy suppliers agreed that there can still be a chasm between social teams generally and the rest of the teams in the brand. Very often, there is a leap of faith needed to bridge that gap and get everyone as focussed on being a social customer service. Only then can a social customer service operation scale successfully.
Customer Expectations on Social
The team at Eir, previous Eircom, Ireland's leading telecoms provider via eir fibre broadband, phone, TV and mobile shared some useful insight around the consumer expectation being higher on social channels, which is why all levels of a business need to buy into social. With over a billion users on Facebook accessing the platform daily, and the rise of the ‘mobile first’ consumer, Messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp will become more and more popular for consumers to talk to brands.
But as social matures, it has to have the same procedures of compliance and regulation as its’ counterparts - email and phone. Brands are still spending too much time driving back to other channels for verification of the customer. How can we as an industry work together to ensure that the verification is as simple as other channels to ensure that the consumer can choose to contact your brand through social and have their query resolved. We’ve seen that by integrating systems, as we’ve done for some customers, that this customer relationship management is possible. However, more brands need to be taking advantage and investing in this capability.
As the mobile first consumer adopts more social channels into their daily lives, there is an ever increasing assumption that social is the faster response channel - with a standard SLA that is quicker than other channels. This is the main contributor as to why a customer hates being pushed into another channel for resolution - brands who can provide this same channel response are always going to be ahead of the curve. Those brands whose channels are still in silos will struggle to deal with the volumes as they increase.
With volume comes scale, and the team at Aer Lingus, the national airline of Ireland commented that scaling the operation is hard at times, especially with the growth of volumes. There is a weight of expectation between the online versus offline response time. This is still a chasm to be bridged by internal contact center teams so that they can provide a #SocialFirst approach across all communications channels.
As AIB stated, you can be victim of your own success, if you’re not doing social properly, you may as well turn it off. Therefore, bring your teams on your journey, share the successes, and the learnings as your social operation grows. Social has to be integrated across teams and departments, not have social in a silo. The teams have to be trained the same, with separate and blended skills to rise to the challenge. Only then, will you truly have a social first business.