Twice a year we gather together with a number of our our top #SocialFirst customers in one room, creating a think tank on the current state social customer service, and what the future holds. These Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) consist of brands from an array of industries, but all with the same goal—to provide outstanding customer service through social, mobile channels. In November of this year, in conjunction with Incite’s industry leading Customer Service Summit, we hosted our East Coast CAB in New York.
The biggest theme of the day was on how to enable truly effortless service interactions through social and messaging channels. We discussed a major case study from one of our customers that found that a ‘high effort’ service interaction vs a ‘low effort’ service interaction were 40% more likely to churn for customers—that’s a massive impact on top line revenue. The same case study discovered that customers found social care significantly easier than any other service channel.
But this kind of benefit doesn’t come from just responding to Tweets—a #SocialFirst approach is needed across multiple facets of customer service. One of the biggest discussion topics was how to enable full resolution within social channels. With the growing maturity of social care, risk and security teams are paying more careful attention to how private customer data is handled (discussed below in ‘Social Authentication’), especially in regulated industries.
The Conversation has Changed
There has been a definitive shift from internal ownership to scaling without losing the essence and appeal of social customer service. Adoption of new channels and the development of our own platform expectedly are having the greatest impact on operations. The fundamentals of effortless customer engagement once more come to the forefront, with the ease at which resolution is reached a key factor.
Any service channel that dreams of staying relevant must evolve to meet the behavior and expectations of users. Social networks like Twitter have emerged as an innovator in building functionality specific for social customer care (such as their latest product releases DM Dispatcher and their Automation Experiences).
To make customer service interactions on social truly effortless, companies must be able to fully resolve issues on the channel that the customer reached out on. A hot topic for many in the room was centered around authenticating customers within social media and messaging channels, something we call Social Bind. This is a way to authenticate customers through social media channels without ever having the customer's PII (Personally Identifiable Information) pass through the social network. It also serves the purpose of binding the Customer’s social identity to their internal customer record in a CRM system, enabling us to deliver full context about the customer to the agent.
This is an essential step for any brand who cannot authenticate customers purely through DMs. Deflecting customers to other channels is an extremely frustrating customer experience that has been proven to decrease customer loyalty: if you want to be #SocialFirst, full resolution is step one.
Hiring Today the Agent of the Future
Hiring the right agent seems to be key for most of our customers. Regardless of the vertical, one truth rang true, agents carry an important role and must be able to cope, whether in a crisis or simple daily interactions. The sensitization of agent and customer engagements makes a difference. Unanimously our CAB members agreed that these empathetic, versatile and loyal agents are key to successful social media customer service. But what of the agent of the future? What skills will they need to be successful? Are the agents of the future home workers?
It’s crucial to have agents with the right skillset working on social. This team is the trusted brand representative to their communities’ customers each and every day. This trust spans from delivering great customer service, maintaining consistency of the brand's values, and staying true to its existing customer service processes when dealing with large volumes of enquiries.
Effortless Customer Engagements ARE the Future
While most companies are responding to customers over social, only a few have been able to take social customer care from the initial “test-and-learn” phase to its status as a highly repeatable and profitable revenue generator. The key to unlocking the ROI of social care is effortless engagement. Our CAB members actively promote and drive traffic to social, mobile channels, which are easier to use for customers and more mobile friendly than expensive legacy channels like voice and email.
The future of customer service will be driven by delivering effortless engagement. Companies that are able to achieve this will reap fruitful gains, and companies that don’t will continue to perceive their contact center as a cost center.
Want to learn more about how you can better serve your social, mobile customers? Download our Definitive Guide to Social, Mobile Customer Service and start learning how to meet your customers' expectations on the channels they own.