For many leaders, this switch can resemble asking the symphony orchestra to get on stage and juggle.
It takes some effort, to be sure, but with a combination of the right people and processes, your agents can be up there singing and dancing in no time.
Creating a highly effective team starts with, as business management guru and author of Good to Great Jim Collins puts it, "getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” This is because your hiring practices set the stage for all else that follows.
For some, this means starting a brand-new team and selectively choosing talent. For others, it means training your existing resources as they are. For both situations, great team players will bring everyone up and reduce the learning curve while bad ones will drag it all down.
Make sure that your hires are enthusiastic about social customer care, and exhibit these traits:
With a busload of empathetic, personal, and resilient agents, you can now give them a process.
Good people become great at social customer care only with practice. Your training organization and structure should be focused around giving them mock opportunities and the space to play around, make mistakes, and get comfortable with being heard publicly. Just as it’s awkward to see yourself on video for the first time, so it can be for social.
Only after they’ve begun to practice, arm your agents with concrete examples of what good and bad responses look like so that they can model themselves after it. Create a social customer care playbook for common scenarios, but as the popular military aphorism goes, “no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.” The best you can do is to prep them with talking points and then you’ll have to trust your resilient hires to take it from there. That’s why you hired these folks, right?
Finally, training doesn’t end when they go live. It’s an ongoing and evolving process and for those using a social customer care platform, you can set training-wheel-like systems in place so that you can periodically check and approve their responses until you’re fully confident.
Then, institute ongoing training and feedback so that they skills remain fresh and they grow.
Follow these steps and you’ll create an effective, self-driven, constantly learning and adapting social customer care team. But, before you do too much planning, remember the words of Jim Collins: "First the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”
If you can hire agents who are resilient, confident, personable, and empathetic, they’re going to give life to the structure that you give them, and that’s where real social customer care magic happens.