10 lessons that social can learn from traditional customer service

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The rise of social media has created an urgency for brands to become better at engaging with customers. And yet – brands have been talking to us on the telephone, via email and web-chat for decades. Surely they’ve learnt something useful along the way?

As it so happens, they have, and our friends at Sentiment have highlighted exactly what social customer service can learn from traditional service in this wordy but hugely informative infographic (below). For anyone embedded in social media – there may be some surprises (“What? Reputation crises existed before social media?’) – and there are also lessons for the contact centre crowd (“Managers can control what’s posted out on Facebook. Really?“).

We’ve pulled out the key points here, but it’s also worth noting some of the statistics and research in the graphic.

Right mention to the right agent

Traditional customer service is adept at directing queries to the right team or individual. Social platforms can also use automation by analysing keywords and phrases.

Managing spikes

To help manage spikes contact centres use call caps, queues and often overflow to an outsourcer. In social we can bring in back-up staff from other teams and also use automation to tag and remove ‘noise’ from the customer service queue.

24/7 support

Most traditional support is offered during limited hours, but some larger companies are able to offer round-the-clock support. They have staff on hand at all hours responding to urgent queries from any channel, including social media.

Last agent routing

With voice, if a customer calls back, contact agents would try to route the customer to the same agent they spoke to last time. Some social tools can now automatically assign the customer to the same agent they interacted with last time.

Supervisor visibility and monitoring

In voice, supervisors can listen to live calls. In social, monitoring tools give you the ability to set up Supervisor Dashboards which show important information such as the volume of mentions coming in, the number assigned to each agent, average handling time and more.

Command and control

Contact centres tend to keep close control of their agents, using scripts for voice or template responses for email and webchat. On social, there are a number of options for keeping close control or offering creative freedom, ranging from canned responses, to supervisor approval and blocked keywords.

Measurement of customer satisfaction

Across other channels, brands can track measures such as Net Promoter Score or Customer Effort Score to measure performance. Social can build on these, offering metrics based on sentiment, social NPS or a gratitude index.

Disaster recovery and business continuity plans

Most major businesses will have a disaster recovery plans for traditional channels. In social it should be no different. We should replicate this for social using pre-defined business continuity plans, giving us the ability to switch to an alternative plan in real time, as and when a scenario arises.

CLI recognition in voice

Traditional customer service allowed brands to identify callers using their phone number and provide personalised routing, such as moving important customers to the front of the queue. On social this can be replicated by storing Twitter usernames and routing customers based on their importance to the company, as well as their social influence.

Networked experts

With traditional customer service brands can route calls and emails to the person with the right technical knowledge. On social, we can do the same by identifying keywords – e.g. ‘TV broken’. The expert doesn’t even need to sit within the contact centre

Author: Jonty Pearce

Published On: 6th Mar 2014 - Last modified: 25th Jan 2017
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