3 Best Practices of Social Customer Support

Recent International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) research shows more than two-thirds (68%) of businesses recognize social media as a necessary service channel, yet only 60% have formal social customer care programs in place. To compound the issue, eDigital Research indicates that 80% of social media responses from companies take an average of 12 hours (as compared to an average phone wait time of 56 seconds), according to a SmartCustomerService article.

Given statistics such as these, it’s clear companies need to make social customer support a priority in order to meet the demands of customers who expect to be able to reach companies at any time. By providing multichannel customer support options (social, mobile, live chat, etc.), companies can keep customers happy and prevent them from drawing negative attention online (an area of particular concern with social networks).

Here’s a look at 3 best practices companies with contact centers should consider incorporating into their social engagement strategies (if they haven’t already):

Engage: It may sound basic, but social engagement is not a tactic to be underestimated. Business Insider’s “State of Social Media ROI” report shows Americans spend more time on social media than any other major Internet activity, including email. It also shows 60% of social media time is spent not on desktop computers but on smartphones and tablets, indicating multichannel engagement is on the rise.

So what does this mean for contact centers? Engagement via social media is critical to connecting with increasing numbers of customers. Specifically, social can help agents identify customer pain points, values, behaviors, etc., all of which can lead to personalized communications that cater to a customer’s individual wants and needs. Zappos, for example, has a social team in place 24/7 to answer all customer service inquiries; the company boasts a 100% response rate and a response time of less than 20 minutes.

Dedicate Resources to Social: With the majority of customers now expecting real-time customer support, it’s important for companies with call centers to dedicate resources to each channel, including social media. This type of segmentation allows for trained service customer service agents to handle requests specific to each channel, which can ultimately serve to provide a better service experience for customers.

To continually grow and manage agent teams, call center managers and supervisors should also offer ongoing training opportunities that can make agents feel both satisfied with their jobs and committed to their customers. Specific areas of weakness can be identified with performance management applications such as myEureka, which delivers feedback as continuous, plain language alerts and notifications that is personalized for each user (individuals or team leaders).

Measure Performance: Speech analytics isn’t just important for uncovering performance insights and agent satisfaction metrics; it also provides contact center supervisors with actionable data that they can use to motivate and empower agents to improve their performance. With CallMiner RPM, the industry’s first results assurance program for contact analytics, companies pay only 85% of their analytics subscription price until their desired benchmarks are achieved.

Social listening and sentiment analysis is another way to evaluate agent and overall company performance by analyzing positive and negative mentions across social networks. “Brands can proactively address negative sentiment, turning public complaints into shareable solutions,” according to a NextWeb article on customer service via social media. “Customers that share their frustrations then find out that a brand really cares about what they say and think.”

Final Thoughts

In today’s digital world alive with multiple channels of communication between customers and companies, it’s crucial for companies to keep up with consumer demands and expectations. By developing a robust social customer support program, companies with call centers can connect with increasing numbers of customers and provide real-time responses to their concerns and inquiries.

What are some of your company’s social customer support best practices? Do you agree with our list above?


Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Oleksiy Mark