Social Enterprise

How to Socialize Your Customer Service Team

Guest author, Ashley Furness, Software Advice Analyst

A customer service complaint left unattended on social media can transform into a public relations disaster. It’s something like handing your angriest customer a megaphone in front of a crowd of potential patrons.

Unfortunately, customer support teams have two huge obstacles to giving better service on social media: One, there’s a ton of information flowing and in out of myriad social channels all the time; and two, social media frequently is housed in a company’s marketing team, which isn’t equipped to respond to customer service complaints.

In recent years, software developers such as Moxie Software have developed tools to solve this problem. Here’s how this technology helps your customer service identify, prioritize and respond the most pressing social complaints in real time.

Listen First, Then Act

As mentioned, one of the most difficult parts of socialized customer support is fishing out the most critical comments among the masses of information out there.

To overcome this challenge, these social customer service platforms listen for keywords, patterns and sentiment that are associated with customer service triggers.  Each company tunes its listeners to be aligned with their specific products and services.

Prioritization is Key

Social Media Spaces by Moxie Software applies a priority ranking to everything published by Twitter, Facebook and other channels. This is based on a variety of factors such as content, customer’s purchase history, social activity level and other features.

A clothing company might, for example, place higher value on a key social media influencer or brand advocate who recently purchased $1,000 worth in apparel, and bump his or her help request to the top of the queue.

Many companies make the mistake of only prioritizing the angriest customer complaints posted on Twitter. This is a bad move, according to Moxie Software Marketing Vice President Tara Sporrer.

“You want damage control, but you don’t want to train your customers by only responding to irate messages,” she says. Usually, when customers are vocal on social media, it means that other more established communication channels have failed in providing them the support they needed. Finding the right balance takes constant trial and error.

Service Needs to be Agile

Another common obstacle to efficient social customer service is process. If a complaint is submitted on Twitter, what’s the next step? Create a ticket? Respond in Twitter with a link? Send an email?

Not only does this make it difficult to respond quickly, it also provides a poor customer experience. Moxie routes social media issues in the same way as tickets from any other channel.

The software uses role-based profiles to automate routing. The system considers agent expertise, work group, current caseload and other factors. Reporting tools also enable managers to constantly monitor response time and satisfaction so they can fine-tune process and prioritization rules.

Context is Crucial

If a community or social media manager is manually monitoring Twitter and Facebook, they won’t have the complete customer context on hand.

As a result, they likely wouldn’t flag a complaint as critical if the customer called the hotline, emailed three hours ago, and then tweeted, of example. They simply wouldn’t know their past points of contact. Similarly, they wouldn’t be able to identify loyal and high-value customers that might warrant a faster response than others.

Social customer service software syncs social media complaints with any information the company has for that customer. This gives the responder any relevant context to handling that specific situation. This leads to faster problem resolution or escalation if needed.

About the author

Ashley Furness has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising.