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Your Questions Answered: Making Social Customer Service Measurable

Joshua March
By Joshua March on Feb 22, 2013 6:03:00 PM

Thanks for all the great input into the webinar discussion #weownyourbrand. Today, I want to share some thoughts on our attendees' questions about how to take social customer service to the next level.

Last week, I shared some insights with you on questions surrounding 'Rules of Engagement' from our recent webinar "Your Customers Own Your Brand". Making social customer service measurable is another major goal I speak with companies about on a daily basis, and is essential to ensure you're continually delivering value to your customers. 

Here are 5 interesting questions I wanted to delve into:

1. How do you account for the influence of the customer?

Influence has limited value when it comes to delivering social customer service. Our mantra is very much that customers are equal on social channels – if for no greater reason than that their treatment is public. A celebrity may have great power to spread negativity about your brand to their followers, but if you don’t focus on good experiences for the masses you’ll also find that collectively they have a powerful voice. The American Express customer service barometer shows that on average, consumers tell 15 people about their good experiences and 24 people about their bad experiences. Regardless of follower counts, those customers complaining are most vocal offline too. You can’t measure a customers’ influence ‘offline’ on purchasing decisions.

2. We are challenged to measure quality for social media customer service interactions. Any tips?

So far, the most common measurement for service levels on social media is response time. This is important given the speed of fast-moving channels, and can be considered an indicator of whether you’ve missed the boat on a customer issue. It’s the best starting point, but there’s much further social customer service quality measurement can go. More companies are moving to track resolution time, to ascertain whether customers have been successfully turned around. When monitoring the quality of your agents’ responses on social (many companies set up approval processes before these go out) you should be checking for language and tone against brand guidelines as well as spelling and grammar.

3. Marketing and Customer Service are functions that are very good at measuring success with KPIs. What are some suggested KPIs that can measure effectiveness/success when the two disciplines are working together?

Customer sentiment is a great measurement to traverse customer care and marketing functions within a social customer service team. It provides insight into the effects of your agents’ responses, and ties heavily into traditional metrics of customer satisfaction and NPS. When it comes to social customer service, these two departments actually have a huge amount in common: advocacy. Social customer service teams have moved on from handling contacts to engaging with real people and creating superfans.

4. How do you measure productivity to predict/forecast for staffing? And what KPIs do you use to measure success? Does this differ per channel, such as Facebook or Twitter?

This can largely be tackled in the same way as traditional customer service channels. The important thing to know is how long it takes, for how many of your team to deal with how many customer issues. It’s the only way you can understand how much money you’re putting into your program and whether you’re getting more efficient over time. The important consideration for social customer service, as it’s at such an early stage for so many companies, is consumer expectations whether they are being met. Tracking when your customers speak to you against when you’re there to respond can help you make resourcing and productivity decisions to reduce backlogs and unsatisfied customers.

5. If your company is afraid to use Twitter because of complaints, what arguments can you give them for being on Twitter?

One of the biggest things that executives who aren’t involved in customer communication can fail to understand is “this is happening anyway”. Some of the companies who have developed social customer service programs at an early stage are those whose CEOs are conscious of the risk of brand damage in failing to act. Social media is not an owned channel; you don’t have control of the message. Staying out of it won’t discourage consumers from using social to talk about your brand. But stepping into the dialogue presents huge opportunities. Customers often use social channels as a last resort when they are close to leaving, and engagement can support customer retention, in a visible way. 88% of consumers who see ignored complaints and queries on social channels are less likely to buy from you in the future too. And if that isn’t enough to convince them – dealing with contacts through Twitter is around 4-8 times cheaper than when that customer picks up the phone!

Hopefully this helps to answer some of the questions that might be puzzling your organisation too. If you'd like to know more, or have any other questions on social customer service then ask me in the comments below. 

Topics: Best Practices, ROI, Twitter

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