The holiday season is the most important time of year for most retailers. Unsurprisingly, this is also the time of year when the most strain is put on their customer service teams. Your customers have higher expectations than ever for the quality and speed of resolution they receive from companies over social media—and there is little room for error.
To get a better understanding of customer expectations this holiday shopping season, we asked over 500 US consumers about the impact of social customer service has on their purchasing behavior.
So, how should companies scale their customer service offering? Here are my top five tips for dealing with the increase in volume this holiday season:
One: Have a dedicated social customer service team
Consumers already have high expectations of customer service from companies on social media. Add the pressure of the holidays to the equation, and companies need to ensure they are meeting–and exceeding–these expectations around the clock. Forming a specialized social customer service team within your contact center will maximize impact throughout the holiday period.
Two: Integrate social into the contact center
Your customers expect an instant and completely personalized service, whether in-store or online, with an increasing demand that you know prior service-related issues regardless of the channel. You need to be able to collect real-time feedback from your customers at the point-of-sale or while a service issue is taking place. A social customer service operation that is placed within the call center is uniquely suited to provide a fully personalized experience, allowing agents to hit SLAs for metrics such as First Response Time (FRT) and Average Handling Time (AHT).
Three: Create clear lines of internal communication
As a general rule, when you put out more marketing messages on social media, you will receive a greater flow of inbound messages from your customers. Therefore it is imperative that, when marketing pushes a message, Customer Service knows in advance. This allows you to scale your resources internally, meaning that busy periods are covered by the right number of agents.
Four: Use social as an early warning sign
Social channels provide companies with a first alert system regarding promotional failures or if products are out of stock in stores. By listening to what your customers are saying about your company over social media channels, you can gain valuable business insights in real time, making actionable business decisions that help solve a customer's issue.
Five: Proactively engage to influence at the point of sale
Surprise and delight your customers by calling out to them when they indirectly mention you or use terms related to your brand. The opportunities for proactive outreach on Twitter provide an unprecedented way for brands to directly advise consumers on purchasing decisions without seeming too sales-y.
In order to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty this holiday season, companies need to achieve an integrated, authentic and efficient response model. To help scale your social customer service strategy, download our recently published Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service here.