Is Your Social Customer Service Best-In-Class? Seven Questions To Ask

Whether we like it or not (no pun intended), social media has quickly become an integral part of customer service. However, studies continue to show that up to a third of consumers who contact a brand on social never even get a response.

It’s time to step up, meet those growing customer expectations and become a class leader in social customer service. Here are seven questions to ask to help evaluate your own social customer service programme:

Q: Why are your customers reaching out to you across social channels?

A: Customer channel preference often depends on the complexity and urgency of the situation. A quick tweet or post can sometimes resolve a simple issue, whereas customers may turn to alternate channels for complex or personal queries. Often, social channels are used as a ‘channel of last resort’, where other channels have already failed them. It is important to understand customer preferences and create an omni-channel strategy that works across your customer service provision.

Q: Are you really listening to your customers across social channels?

A: Brands must gain a solid understanding of the Voice of their Customer (VOC) across social media. What are the key conversations and the trending topics? What are your customers and influencers discussing about your brand, products and services in the public domain? Set up a social wallboard that highlights breaking customer issues to you in real time and use reporting to learn from historical social conversations.

Q: Can we cut through the noise and get to the most important mentions?

A: Part of the challenge with social media is the sheer volume of social ‘noise’ that can be created across channels like Twitter and Facebook. It is vitally important to be able to set up workflow that can identify specific types of mention and prioritise a response. Filters that remove noise and retweets can really help optimise your social engagement. Similarly, highlighting high authority mentions or identifying posts from key customers or top influencers will help you manage your social activity more effectively.

Q: Do you have a comprehensive set of social media engagement guidelines?

A: Engagement guidelines are essential to cover all types of social responses, for both positive and negative mentions. Do you have guidelines covering tone of voice across social channels? Do you have a supervisor approval process if agents want to ‘risk’ some humour or engage more personally with a customer? Automated responses can also be developed to save time and reduce risk for certain types of social interaction. Also, make sure you have a comprehensive audit trail of all mentions and replies for full accountability!

Q: Do you have full command and control over your social media team?

The majority of social media interactions are in the public domain. Do you have full control over your social customer service team? Make sure you are able to define a range of permissions for each social agent, including restrictions on access for any social platform you use. Ideally, get a supervisor dashboard that can highlight every agent interaction in real time and make use of supervisor approval loops. Various features are now available to give you full control over when and how your agents interact over social… make use of them!

Q: Are you monitoring and measuring the right KPIs across social media?

Forty-two percent of consumers expect a response from brands within an hour on social media. Are you measuring the percentage of mentions that you respond to and how long those responses take? When measuring performance, make sure you distinguish between time-to-answer ‘from published’ and ‘from assigned’. You can only really measure and compare agent performance from time assigned (not published). You should also be able to compare response times across channel and across different ‘types’ of social activity. If you really want to be best-in-class, make sure you measure resolutions and track customer satisfaction scores across social.

Q: Can you track the customer journey across all digital channels?

Statistics show that sixty one percent of customers have to interact with a company on more than one channel to get their issue resolved. Are you able to move seamlessly across channel and keep track of ‘threaded’ customer conversations? Best practice across social now involves moving customers from public to private channels, from within the same platform and within the same team. This enables you to keep track of the customer journey and provide the best level of customer service, across all digital channels. It also allows you to build digital customer profiles over social channels, email and web chat.

To understand more about how we can help you reach best-in-class customer service provision across social media, please use the contact form below to get in touch!

FCA Guidelines: How to Switch between Social Media and Email Effectively

We enjoyed reading this recent blog from eConsultancy, where they discussed the recent guidance provided by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on how financial services should use social media.

The most pertinent part for us was where they outline the major challenges on social and specifically on how to deliver effective social customer service, whilst complying with the banking regulations.

This paragraph sums it up well:

“When it comes to customer service, banking or credit card companies cannot ask for account information on social, not even via private or direct messages. So customers have to be directed to a secure email channel. This is of course not inherently social, but it does mean that a customer can safely provide information that will give an advisor access to their account.”

So, the need to respond to customers in the public domain… but, with the ability to move seamlessly from public to private (or social to email) channels? This shouldn’t be a big problem. But, unfortunately, this often means redirecting social customers to a completely separate email team that has very different SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

Currently, what we’re seeing time and again is a pro-active social team, responding to social enquiries within minutes. But, then passing that customer to an email team that may have an SLA of 24 hours. This may be acceptable for a pure email channel, but it is definitely NOT acceptable for social customers to wait 24 hours for responses within that channel!

The solution is to equip your social agents with the means to quickly identify enquiries on social and then to enable that transition to email (or web chat) through the same platform, from within the same team. Immediately, you get a social team that can manage the conversation across all digital channels and resolve enquiries more quickly and more effectively.

In addition, you have the opportunity to keep track of the customer journey and maintain consistency for your social customers, across channel. An audit trail will provide complete accountability for ‘threaded conversations’, where an enquiry that started on social, moved to email and back to social can be tracked, with associated KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

If you’re in the financial services sector and looking for the best way to comply with the new FCA Guidelines for Social Media, then please take a closer look at DigiDesk. Use the contact form below to arrange a quick demo and we look forward to discussing best practice in (financial) social customer service with you!

ECCCSA Finalists Demonstrate Real Innovation in Social Customer Service

ECCCSA Finalists Demonstrate Real Innovation in Social Customer Service

It was great to be a part of the judging panel for the annual European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA) last week. We were treated to four excellent presentations from finalists, spanning both public and private sectors and representing technology, retail and financial services.

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The 10 Commandments of Effective Social Media Management

The need for an effective social media management strategy is becoming more and more important for brands. It is now vital that any business provides a credible presence across social channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

But, how do we find relevant content to post and build up a following on Twitter? What are the new rules of engagement in managing your Social profiles? Here, we take a look at 10 best practice tips for social media management:

1. Create a Creditable Profile

Do personalise your profile page, with a nice design, imaging and description of your business.

2. Monitor for Relevant Content

Use a ‘listening tool’ to search for and identify posts that would interest your targeted audience.

3. Build a list of Influencers and Industry Sources

When these guys post, there’s good potential to share independent, best practice news and advice.

4. Regularly Share your own Content

Work on a ratio of around 1 in 10, to promote your own blogs. Don’t be afraid to share older content.

5. Use a Tool to Post Content

It’s much easier to use a publishing tool to create and schedule posts, potentially across multiple profiles.

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Measuring Voice of the Customer (VOC) across Social Media

One thing that the growth of social media as a customer service channel has provided brands is access to a wealth of customer insight, across the public domain. It’s there right now, available in real time… and it’s not just mentions about your brand, but also comments about your competitors too. Continue reading “Measuring Voice of the Customer (VOC) across Social Media” »

What Are The Top Social Customer Service Priorities for 2015?

Social media has now evolved into a key customer service channel. Unlike other more traditional contact channels, it sits within the public domain and this provides a unique set of challenges. Social customer service teams need to respond quickly and effectively to manage customer expectations and protect brand reputation.

Continue reading “What Are The Top Social Customer Service Priorities for 2015?” »

12 Key Social Media Challenges for the Contact Centre

Over the past 5 years we have seen a revolution in social media, with our customers now demanding customer service across social channels like Twitter and Facebook. More than that, their expectations are high:

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4 Key Steps to Meeting Customer Expectations on Social Customer Service

In recent years we have witnessed a revolution in social customer service. Customers are now reaching out across social channels and their expectations are high. Numerous recent studies show a much higher customer expectation across channels like Twitter and Facebook vs what brands are able to deliver.

social-statsMeeting these expectations is even more prevalent when we consider that social channels are in the public domain and, therefore, a brand’s service levels are evident for all to see. We must start to do everything we can to ensure that we meet customer expectation on social customer service.

Here’s a list of 4 key steps to improve response time across social channels:

1. Reduce Noise Into Relevancy

The sheer volume of social mentions that a brand receives can be a problem to manage. So, how do we determine what is social ‘noise’ and, in turn, identify the ‘relevant’ mentions that we need to focus on?

  • Keyword Tables – by using a number of keyword tables we can define a subset of keywords and phrases that allow us to automatically identify specific types of social mention.
  • Tag, Prioritise and Assign – each type of activity can then be tagged as marketing or customer service or ‘noise’ etc. So, we can then define a priority level and assign to the appropriate team.
  • Bulk Actions – if we get an unforeseen spike of ‘noise’, use bulk actions to search by keyword and manage that subset of data with a bulk tag, priority setting and assignment (or close).

The net result should be a much more focused stream of relevant mentions which are tagged, prioritised and assigned across a number of teams and agents.

2. Identify Key Mentions

As well as analysing the content of a tweet or post, we need to be able to identify social mentions that come in from specific influencers, key customers and also spot mentions that are ‘trending’.

  • Top Influencers – use analytics to understand who the key influencers are across sector and across social channel. Then, make sure you identify and prioritise their tweets and posts.
  • Key Customers – over time, you should now be identifying your own key customers. Whether it’s a setting post-interaction or intelligence gleaned from CRM, identify your key customers and prioritise a response.
  • Recent Customers – if a customer has previously contacted you within a period (say 24 hours), it is often due to an unresolved issue. Make sure you track this and prioritise a response.
  • Top Mentions – use real time analytics and alerts to track trending topics and specific mentions that have been liked or retweeted multiple times. Engage in these conversations quickly and manage the situation proactively.

By identifying key mentions, you can proactively look to manage key social conversations and protect brand reputation across the social sphere.

3. Distribute Mentions Effectively

Now that we have a stream of relevant social mentions to work on, we need to ensure that we distribute them effectively across a virtual team of social customer service agents.

  • Teams & Agents – with keyword tables in place, make sure you have the virtual team and agent structure in place to direct the right mention, to the right agent, at the right time.
  • Dynamic Distribution – you must ensure mentions are only delivered to teams and agents that are available, logged in, have the right skills and are capable of responding to the issue quickly.
  • Overflow Options – if not, make use of ‘mention caps’ and ‘time elapsed’ settings to redirect mentions to a wider team of overflow agents that can at least respond within an acceptable timeframe.

An intelligent distribution of mentions across a core team (and potentially an overflow team) is key to ensuring social teams can match up to the ever-increasing customer expectations across social channels.

4. Measure Relevant KPIs

Delivering effective social customer service relies on a mixture of real time analysis of social insight, along with tracking a range of internal KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and metrics.

  • Real Time Insight – as mentioned above, we need to track trending topics and top mentions in real time. We also need to be aware of spikes as they occur, to be able to proactively manage the response.
  • Internal KPIs – supervisors need to be able to monitor the volume of mentions, across channel, team and agent in real time. TTA (Time to Answer), AHT (Average Handle Time) and performance against a defined SLA (Service Level Agreement) are all key metrics to track for optimising response times.
  • Customer Satisfaction – even if our response times are good, we still need to measure customer satisfaction across social channels. Use post-interaction surveys to capture customer feedback, tracking customer scores and comments in real time.

Make sure your social media platform provides both real time analytics and a range of KPIs across customer engagement to proactively monitor and improve the delivery of your social customer service!

18 Key Reports and KPIs For Effective Social Customer Service

What a revolution we’ve seen in social media over the last 5 years. There’s been a distinct move from seeing social media as purely a marketing channel, into what is now a vital social customer service channel.

With this in mind, we must start to understand the key social media reports and KPIs that we need to help deliver effective social customer care. To get us started here’s a list of 18 reports and KPIs that you must start tracking:

Analytics Reports

1. Buzz Volume

Here we’ve got to track the volume of social mentions that we receive, across multiple social channels. It’s essential to track Buzz in real time, so we can get an early indication of any spikes in social activity.

2. Channel Breakdown

Any modern brand should be operating across multiple social channels. Make sure you’re tracking activity across Twitter, Facebook and any other social profiles. A channel breakdown will let you identify the key conversations, across each channel.

3. Regional Breakdown

Once we have a social profile, we can not control ‘where’ our customers reach out to us from and potentially in which language. If you have a multi-national brand, make sure you’re tracking which country your customers are contacting you from and position your resource accordingly.

4. Keyword Tables

Make sure you set up keyword tables. These can help you understand more about the nature of your social media enquiries. Are your customers contacting you about delivery issues, payment problems or specific products? Through keyword tables you can better understand the voice of your customer (VoC).

5. Key Influencers

It doesn’t matter which industry sector you operate in, there are always key influencers that you need to track. Whether they are posting blogs or replying to tweets, make sure you are tracking and reporting on the activity of a subset of key individuals or social influencers.

6. Track Sentiment

Automated sentiment may have its limitations. But, tracking sentiment is still an important metric for brands to measure. The days of standard positive, negative and neutral sentiment should be behind us now, with brands looking to differentiate automated sentiment on a 1-10 scale for more meaningful feedback.

Engagement Reports

7. Agent Performance

Assuming we have a team of social customer service agents, we must start to analyse their workload. How many mentions have they been assigned, how many have they completed, what was their average time to answer and their performance against a defined SLA?

8. Team Performance

It is common now to see at least a marketing team and customer service team working across social channels. We need to be able to compare workload and performance across teams, often helping us more accurately define and forecast resource requirements.

9. Response Times

With ever increasing customer expectations across social channels, we must accurately measure the percentage of mentions responded to and the TTA (Time to Answer). Often, this depends on our ability to reduce social noise into relevancy.

10. Interaction Breakdown

Social customer service involves a range of interactions, from replies and direct messages, to tagging activity, retweets and follows. Make sure you are tracking all types of social interaction to better understand the workload of your teams and individual agents.

11. Resolution Breakdown

As with other contact channels, you should be tracking the resolution of each customer interaction. By its very nature, social media creates a lot of noise and this needs to be monitored. But, we also need to measure all types of resolution, with agents using the appropriate resolution codes.

12. Customer Satisfaction

As mentioned above, standard sentiment monitoring is important for marketing. But, we should be asking for and tracking customer satisfaction across social channels. Whether we ask for a simple 1-10 NPS rating or link to a survey, make sure you track by agent and monitor satisfaction levels closely.

Other Key Reports and MI

13. Publishing KPIs

Generally more important to marketing, but customer service should monitor these KPIs too. Monitoring how many like, shares, favourites, and retweets your posts receive will help customer service understand the top topics and key conversations going on in the social sphere.

14. Publishing Schedule

Paramount to resourcing is ensuring that customer service has visibility of marketing’s planned publishing schedule or calendar. If marketing are about to launch a new campaign or offer on social, we need to be aware of the potential impact on buzz volume and resource accordingly.

15. 24/7 Alerts

We know that it’s best practice to define your social media team’s working hours. However, if you can’t provide 24/7 support, make sure you at least make use of real time alerts or notifications. These can be triggered by a simple keyword or if a key influencer tweets about your brand.

16. Key Customers

Although social influence (or Klout) is still important, it is becoming more important to understand who your key customers are across social channels. Hook into your CRM and start to record the Twitter and Facebook IDs of your key customers so you can start to prioritise a response.

17. Data Overview

Having an overview of all your current social activity, across channels, can help a supervisor to really manage the distribution and prioritisation of mentions across a team of agents. During spikes, bulk actions are key to helping to manage noise and ensure priority items are dealt with effectively.

18. Audit Trail

Without a detailed audit trail you do not have full accountability for your social channel. Make sure that you have a record of every mention and every social interaction dealt with by your team, with related time/day stamp, agent name and associated notes.

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