Customer Experience News & Trends

Case study: How we divided and conquered social service

There’s a social media marriage that probably needs a separation. The two parties almost always function better on their own.

In the early days, social media was masterminded by marketing. And when social media-loving customers wanted more than product information and updates, customer service became marketing’s social media bride.

At many companies, the two distinct branches of social media ran off the same systems, were manned by the same employees and handled from a strong marketing angle.

But customers’ social media needs are different now. Marketing and customer service aren’t the same. The bride needs to be on her own.

That’s what Discover … well … discovered.

Recognize the problem

Like most companies, credit card network Discover built a social media presence through marketing, boosting brand awareness, generating leads and engaging customers.

Then customers got engaged and started requesting help via social media. Discover responded with answers and solutions, which was still a function of marketing.

Meanwhile, customer service was handling all the other traditional inquiries and measuring their performance and customer satisfaction. But they couldn’t measure social media service and its effects on overall satisfaction.

The social media system was so active with outbound marketing material, inbound customer inquires and the answers to them that it even crashed from time to time.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and prompted the customer service and marketing teams to consider ways to break up the social marriage.

Make the break

The first step was to find and put marketing and customer service on separate platforms. They identified their different needs, researched vendors and picked one for service to establish its new social presence.

The plan was to move from having a customer service presence on social media to making all social media outlets easy channels to get any kind of resolution.

Separating allowed marketing and customer service to get out of each others’ way.

The two groups divided the social media responsibilities with customer service handling all inbound inquiries and the responses. Marketing created content strategies and published the posts that resulted.

“After adopting a dedicated social customer service solution, the quality of communication between our marketing and customer support teams drastically improved,” said Jess Lee, project manager of digital servicing & customer experience at Discover. “Not only were we more organized, but we also had clearer objectives.”

Make social service special

Discover wanted to make its new social service an extension of its already highly rated customer service. Social media can be less interactive than a phone call, and usually doesn’t allow front-line employees and customers to connect personally.

That’s why Discover trained its service team to create “magic moments” when possible. The effort was based on Discover’s popular “We treat you the way you treat you” approach to service. Managers coached employees to treat customers well, showing them that they cared, even adding some humor when they could.

Plus, they took steps to help even more customers. Their first priority was customers who contacted them via their own social media handles. Service pros used the technology to find and proactively respond to Discover inquiries in social media that didn’t use its handle (@discover).

Once service was on its own, they boosted responses and social media engagement by 65%.

Work in tandem

It wasn’t a clean break by any means. Marketing and customer service maintain a strong relationship. Three keys to the connection:

  • They kicked off the venture with a meeting to identify what they needed from each other, examine the gray areas that would be created by working on two different platforms and find ways to align their efforts. Then they continued to meet weekly to clear the gray areas and stay aligned.
  • At quarterly meetings, marketing updates their launches in social media and other channels so customer service has time to create content — such as links, responses and updates — and customer engagement plans for what was being launched.
  • Customer service regularly creates voice of the customer (VOC) reports to show the level of response to marketing’s various campaigns.

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