Customer Experience News & Trends

Like an Oscar selfie: Social media can take customer service to new heights

The customer service pros who handle social media must be trained and empowered to handle almost all issues that come their way. And while you might think the younger, social media service pros would be the best to handle social service issues, many companies have found that’s not always the case. Instead, the veterans — who have the most soft skills as well as company and product knowledge — still handle issues fastest and with the most confidence.

And here’s where that selfie fits in well. Have reps include lively head shots of themselves or silly images of something they enjoy — pets, hobbies, books, etc.

One caveat: Issues that are personal, highly emotional or security conscious should be taken offline for resolution. Reps can invite customers to share email or talk on the phone to resolve the situation. Then they can decide whether to post that it ended well.

Engage customers

178716575Of course, social media doesn’t just have to be about responding to customers on the social platforms.

“You want to give them a reason to connect,” says Thomas. “Invite them on every platform where you are.”

Then, more importantly, make it beneficial for them to be on that platform. Make connections by offering valuable information such as details on how to use a service more efficiently or get longer life out of a product. Link them to industry news and research that will help them live their lives or run their businesses better.

“But forget the notion that being engaged is free,” says Thomas. “It might cost nothing to post in social media, but you have to invest in the people to create real, human relationships.”

Be the connector

Social media can also be the fuel behind a valuable collaborative effort.

“Companies can help customers find each other,” says Thomas.

Provide the content — industry, product, service, information, etc. — and invite customers to be part of a community that discusses, uses and gives feedback on that info.

For instance, employees at an outdoor gear retailer might see a conversation between customers on one of its social media platforms where they refer to hiking. Then they jump in with information on great trails (that they know from experience), not backpacks or canteens. It’s a conversation that adds value to the customers’ experience, whether it’s with the store or in the woods.

Be ready when customers are

89940422Customers who use and prefer social service use it for a few specific reasons: speed, informality and expertise.

Fortunately (at least for the smaller and mid-size organizations), that still doesn’t mean you must have staff available to handle social media requests around the clock. Yes, in some industries — such as telecoms, utilities and medical software — it’s a growing need to be available socially around the clock. But not for everyone.

For industries that have less pressing issues, tell customers when you are available in social media. Post hours (if you aren’t 24/7) and have the staff available to handle social media requests quickly.

And while most social media exchanges are informal, they should always be professional. Staff should be reminded to use the same level or professionalism they do in email or written correspondence — just on a shorter, more direct level.

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