Looking back at 2014, it is clear that it was the year that social customer service grew up. The increases in the number of customers using social media as their primary customer service channel was matched by company uptake, with many implementing more established and integrated social customer service strategies.
But there is still room for improvement. In an always on and real-time messaging world, consumers expect far more than they have before. Resolving customer issues slower than consumers expect–or even neglecting to answer social complaints at all–will result in consumers abandoning companies. Companies must now make social a core customer service offering that is efficient and scalable.
So with the holiday season finally having come to a close, it's now time to put those 2015 New Year's Resolutions to the test! Here are my six resolutions for what companies need to change to really adopt a social first approach to customer service;
1. Get social customer service buy-in from your CTO
The transition of communication from private to public channels makes social customer service fundamentally different from traditional customer service. Systems built for the old paradigm of one email chain, one customer, and one ticket do not work when a conversation can pass seamlessly between private and public. Therefore having your CTO involved in technology implementation is paramount. If companies embrace this concept they can benefit from continued business success, as purchasing decisions will be made with longevity in mind. Even if your CTO does not think so in the short-term as social becomes ever more impactful they could live to regret the decision of not being involved in the long-term.
2. Integrate social customer service into your contact center
2015 should be the year that social media moves firmly into the contact center. We saw signs of this in 2014, with brands acknowledging the importance of having social savvy contact centers; this year we should see an even stronger movement in this direction. Therefore integrating with popular systems to exchange information in a multi-channel support environment is essential for any forward thinking business. Focus on case management, CRM and contact center ‘stacks’ as a starting point.
3. Build a single view of your social customer
For years, all online identification mechanisms were not only completely separate from real identity, but were also unconnected to each other. Because of this, companies have been struggling to obtain a 'single view’ of the customer for decades. Building a social identity has the potential to tie all of these details together. If you can tie the data together–not just between customer service channels, but at all points your business touches a customer–it gives the ability to deliver completely personalized service. Consumers expect a joined up seamless interaction, therefore this should be a key consideration for brands going into 2015.
4. Make your community a part of your social customer service strategy
Social needs to be evaluated in the broader context of the full contact center stack. By integrating a best-of-breed social customer service solution into the ecosystem, only then are you able to deliver a holistic and seamless omni-channel customer experience, bringing in context of all interactions, and applying the workflows and analytics that are most suited to the channel. If contact center agents and community experts can work together, customers can get faster, even more human answers to their questions over social media. Companies can tap into their existing community on social to leverage their knowledge and passion and crowdsource customer service.
5. Staff and train your social customer service team accordingly
The dangers of messing up a customer service conversation in a viral medium means that the training and processes for agents need to be very different from traditional customer service. The potential for negative impact from service being below consumer expectations is just too high. A clear focus on agent training will help eradicate this as a potential problem area.
6. Use social customer service data to deliver actionable business insight
Social customer service delivers a wealth of data that gives real insight into your business ecosystem. Make it easy for your customer service team to drill down on metrics and see the underlying data for informed decision making.
Social customer service comes into its own when meaningful, two-way dialogue takes place between brands and their customers. With brands clamoring for market share in saturated, consumer driven markets, delivering great customer service in public arenas like Facebook and Twitter offers a clear differentiator to build a competitive advantage.
2015 bodes to be the year that social customer service not only grows up, but GROWS UP!
How about you? What are your 2015 resolutions? I'd love to hear what you have planned, or if you disagree with me. You connect with me on Twitter here if you wish! Or you can learn everything you need to know to deliver first class social customer service by downloading your copy of The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service.