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Get Your Executives to Invest in Social Customer Service

Jaclyn Fu
By Jaclyn Fu on May 17, 2016 10:24:42 AM

investment-blog-image.jpgTo deliver a socially mature customer care strategy, there must be both Investment and Innovation. This chapter focuses on insights and practical tools you can use to demonstrate social care ROI and build the business case you need to propel your efforts to the next level.

Today’s customer has greater choice and voice than ever before. With low barriers to switch, fickle loyalties and eroding margins, many companies are recognizing that customer experience is a powerful and effective brand differentiator. Social has become a channel of choice for customers to connect on, and for brands to nurture customer relationships. It’s where businesses, large and small, can begin to build trust, innovate and revisit their humanity.

You have ambitious plans for how your brand can more conveniently engage with your mobile customers on social. You’re forward thinking, and recognize that the company needs to move as fast as the speed of digital to catch up. Your social engagement team may have started to make a tangible impact, but there’s more that can be done, and you need the resources to do it.

True success in social media customer service requires not only financial ‘buy-in’, but also dedicated time, human-power and executive leadership support. To determine what Investment you might need, take a moment to answer:

  • Who is your social care champion? Is there a dedicated social care team?
  • Does the Leadership team understand the value of social care impact? 
  • Are you struggling to handle the high volumes of incoming messages?
  • Are your social media initiatives currently Reach-focused or Resolution-focused? 
  • What department has control of the social media budget? 
  • Are you using a best-in-class social customer service approach? 

For a full evaluation, take the free Social Maturity assessment.

We’ve worked with hundreds of global companies like Sprint, Hyatt and Alaska Air to transform them into successful #SocialFirst brands, and we’ve gathered some of their tips and experiences on how they did it. Whether you are building a social care team from the ground up or looking to expand the scope and contributions of your team, the key to unlocking Investment remains the same:

1) Defensibly demonstrate the ROI of social care: from bottom line results, to the impact on customer experience.

It’s no secret that better customer experience correlates with higher revenue growth in most industries, so why does proving social care ROI remain so elusive?

Because social isn’t like any other channel - It’s customer-owned, multidimensional, human, and spontaneous. Measuring humanity-at-scale requires an approach that can unite the online experience with the offline, the hard numbers with the soft data.

In addition to being a cost saver, many companies are starting to leverage customer service as a revenue generator:

  • A global online women’s fashion retailer found that based on their incoming Facebook interactions, it takes an agent 25-30 messages to generate one sale.
  • Air New Zealand sees that having a strong brand correlates to more seats sold. Their team uses tracking links and pixels to measure website conversions.
  • A food subscription company prompts sales by offering a coupon code to prospective customers who are identifiable based on intent-to-buy keywords. Coupon code redemption has lead to conversions and an increase in volumes on social.

At the end of the day, you must be able to show how your agents’ interactions had a meaningful effect on your customer experience. A memorable interaction between customer and brand has a greater impact on loyalty and retention than any advertisement.

  • Hyatt mixes the quantitative with the qualitative by showing examples of customer conversations that showcase to senior management how the team is bringing care to life for their guests, and how they’re driving overarching company purpose versus just having fun on Twitter. Hyatt’s team creates a video of the best 3 or 4 social conversations that week that is shared internally.
  • BMO paints a well-rounded picture by measuring Sentiment in addition to Response Times. Since launching their U.S social care operations, they’ve seen an impressive decrease in First Response Time by 83%, while also increasing positive Customer Sentiment by 167%.

Use new tools like Twitter CSAT surveys to instantly capture the most authentic and in-the-moment view of the company’s success or failure in meeting customer expectations.

Above and beyond customer experiences can drive positive word-of-mouth and increase brand affinity. This playful interaction between Sainbury’s and a customer received hundreds of likes and press mentions.

2) Mitigate risks by putting the right processes, platforms and people in place

Instill confidence that the Investment will be put to good use by having a solid plan ready. Proactively address doubts by establishing:

  1. Agreed upon KPIs for benchmarking before and after implementation
  2. Outlined workflow changes with clear roles and responsibilities
  3. Recommendations for vendor choice
  4. Timelines for project completion

Ensure you’re set up to start proving your business case from Day 1 by establishing a baseline, as well as ongoing measurement, of:

  • Impact to specific revenue streams (e.g up-sells, coupon redemption)
  • Costs-to-serve (e.g reduction in Handling Time, call deflection)
  • True resolution (e.g sentiment conversion, Resolution Rate, CSAT)

To keep stakeholders and the leadership team engaged, share these upsides of socially maturing with timely reports and dashboards. For example:

The leadership team of a major U.S airline started using a real-time dashboard to follow social KPI performance. The social care team was able to expand its operating hours from 5 days a week to most recently a 24/7 operation by demonstrating KPIs such as Sentiment Conversion, Resolution Rate, and Tag Sentiment Analysis to justify the additional resources.

3) Learn and earn: The entire business benefits from social care insights

Due to the raw, emotional and in-the-moment nature of social engagement, data from the social care team can be immensely constructive. Provide examples of how amazing social care doesn’t remain in the contact center, but has a far-reaching impact to other teams. By capturing and sharing ‘voice of the social customer’ feedback with other departments, the entire business can benefit from these authentic insights.

Aligning customer care with marketing activities is especially valuable for extending the investment in social by optimizing campaign performance, providing content ideas and refining messaging. For example:

  • JackThreads’ social care team built a business case for the Marketing Team to update their Facebook ads that resulted in improved user experience and conversion rates. Using sentiment analysis to measure the customers’ reaction to the ads, the social care team found that customers were being driven away because of a poor website experience that originated from the ads.
  • Vega’s marketing and social engagement team meets for a monthly recap to discuss how their content is resonating and what they should do more or less of.

Sharing social customer insights to other teams in the customer journey can create a better experience across all touchpoints:

  • Hyatt engages with hundreds of social customers every day, and takes nuggets from the conversation to add into the guest’s CRM profile so that interactions become more guest centric. So if a guest requests for soft pillow over Twitter, they’re also able to remember and repeat it.
  • Costa Coffee’s dedication to making its customers happy led to a successful launch of a new gluten-free product to the menu. The team analyzed social conversations using tags and sentiment, and shared with the rest of the business that they were not adequately serving their gluten-free customers.

4) Show not just what can be gained, but also what’s at stake. Engaging with your customers is no longer optional.


Put into perspective the missed opportunities and the risks associated with them. Ignoring your customers can have very real consequences to brand reputation and the success of your business.

Here’s an infamous example of what can go wrong:

hvsvn-tweet.pngThis was seen by 76,000 people and it took 8 hours for the customer to receive a response.

Are you losing customers because of customer service complaints? Are your competitors winning because they've given your customers more attention? Your business can't afford to miss another opportunity to engage.

Key lessons to help convince your Executives to invest in social customer service:

  1. Make your ROI case defensible with impactful data
  2. Create a bulletproof plan that outlines how the additional investment will help meet business goals
  3. Extend the value of social care insights beyond the contact center
  4. Show the costs of inaction

The journey to #SocialFirst maturity is a complex one, but you don’t have to do it alone. Working with a trusted vendor partner like Conversocial that has a proven time-to-value methodology is critical in safeguarding your project’s success.  

To get personalized guidance on building the business case to invest in social maturity, get started by taking the Social Maturity Index quiz.

Topics: Best Practices, Customer Service, Social Leaders

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