Evolution of Customer Care

Today was another #SMChat session which focused on customer service. This tweetchat session is held totally in public view on twitter only using a specific #hashtag. Kind of like a flashmob but only an exchange of opinions here. Here is an assembly of some of the answers provided today.  All this is just an extract and the entire exchange lasted less than an hour. A fuller transcript can be found here. www.storify.com/ambercleveland

~~~~Framing post and questions/answers~~~~

Customer Service & Social Media are a powerful combination. Many organizations focus on the marketing aspect of social media and overlook the inclusion of their customer service departments. Internal disconnects can become external issues – we discussed how to avoid this through evolution…

Q1. How does your organization evolve to meet the needs of your customers?

  • Customers expectations have changed Orgs do need to adapt, however adapt intelligently/strategically not as knee jerk
  • Org needs to bring down the silos. borders between keep customers always guessing who’s right
  • Evolve is good word as customer service through sm as an add-on is not evolving. Need whole system change
  • Changing with customer needs based on consumer feedback, can’t be knee jerk must be built into brand alignment
  • Love the Zappos example – every employee is required to take 4 wks of customer service training. Now that’s integration!
  • What customers expect is (at a high level) the same; where (and how ) they want to interact is evolving
  • Organizations must first have a solid underlying customer support infrastructure before adding social on top

Q2. What is the best way to insure the continuity of the brand regardless of the channels used to serve the customers?

  • Being available for customer at point of need – online, offline, phone, in-store – Re Diff adoption & Need points
  • Internal message has to be clear and embraced and used by the Whole company in the same tone/speech
  • Setting expectations, listening & understanding customer touch points with ability to service them
  • A clearly defined voice. Once everyone in your company understands the rules and the voice things go smoother (sometimes)
  • Constant and clear communication between each group involved with customer service is a must

Q3. How do you enhance traditional customer service departments by including social media?

  • Empower ur employees to respond, SoMe is just a platform, need to be able to engage with customers same voice/differ platform
  • Traditional Cust Serv folk already know common touch points. Easier to teach them social vs teach interns custserv
  • By listening – SoMe done well can facilitate collaboration
  • Educate them, empower them, manage them, monitor them. So, actually nothing new here
  • Use guidelines to empower not restrict. Great rules allow cust serv to solve issue quickly vs frustrate through policy
  • Employ smart tools to manage the flow from #SoMe as they do with other comm channel

Q4. What additional training needs may need to be met to support the evolution of including social media in customer service?

  • Training not just tools but approach Know parameters & using discretion within predefined limits Understand goal of CustServ
  • If they are to handle the mass of #SoMe msg then they need to handle HR, PR, legal on top of #custserv items
  • Cultivate dialogue learning by listening, asking good questions, training knowing what to do with responses
  • Social customer service training point: learn when to move the conversation to a nonpublic forum & when to take it offline
  • New metrics will be needed. not measured like their usual CC fair
  • Cross departmental training, share insights internally to add value externally. Also internal comms channels critical

Q5.  What would prompt you to recommend that a company NOT use social media as mechanism to provide customer service?

  • Some industries just not set up for custserv – eg bailiffs
  • Not having resources to manage expectations – can cause more damage
  • If a company isn’t ready to provide SM support – not doing it is better than poorly doing it
  •  If there is no clear Social #CustServ strategy, walk away
  •  If it is not sustainable & not used as part of strategy for an org, wouldn’t recommend using Social Media for #custserv
  • Readiness = training, staffing, necessary tool integration to handle volumes .. a mechanical/blind launch w/b problematic

If you find this interesting, come to Twitter on Wednesdays at 1pm CET/7pm Paris. Lookup the #smchat tag and follow the exchange. If you are unsure how to do this, then contact me!

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