Brands can’t afford to take a trial-and-error approach when delivering their services online. Ineffective strategies would only lead to customer churn, profit loss, and a poor reputation.
Before taking your customer support to social media, you need a solid strategy for monitoring, measuring, and improving your game. This, however, is also the trickiest part. Small brands are at an advantage because they serve a smaller demographic. That makes their tasks much more manageable, since they’ll be getting relatively fewer complaints and queries. Multinational companies, on the other hand, are facing highly complex demands when it comes to online support. In addition to surging volumes of customer interactions, they need to craft a well-defined process to maintain high-caliber services.
As you deploy support via social networking channels, monitoring several message gateways is perhaps the biggest challenge you’ll encounter. For instance, if you’re on Facebook, you’ll have to catch all customer queries coming from various places. This would include your comment threads, wall posts, and private messages.
To deal with this, most brands team up with contact centers that deliver social media support. But this doesn’t mean you can slack off. You need to ensure that your customer support strategy is geared to meet people’s preferences. As part of your quality assurance process, here are the four main indicators you need to focus on.
1. Immediate resolution
In online support, speed should be your main priority. When interacting with brands via social sites, 32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42%, within an hour. Demands are even higher during nights and weekends, where people expect an instant reply.
To measure your customer service speed in social channels, pay attention to these key questions.
• How many replies does it take to solve an issue?
Ideally, simple queries or complaints are resolved in one to two posts or messages.
• How fast do you respond to comments and personal messages?
Take note of the urgency and nature of customers’ requests. For instance, high-priority cases such as reports of defective products and those that could damage your reputation must be handled swiftly and effectively.
2. Quality of response
Although you need to deliver fast customer support online, don’t make the mistake of sacrificing the quality of the responses you provide.
• Are responses well-written and easily understandable?
Since interactions in social websites are mostly carried out in writing, all messages must be easy to read and error-free, especially in terms of grammar and spelling. All ideas presented must also be well-organized.
• Are your responses relevant?
Your messages must provide clear, direct, and effective solutions to issues raised by customers. Whenever applicable, additional resources such as product manuals, instructional videos, and FAQ sheets should be included.
• Are they consistent with the brand’s voice?
As your brand’s online representation, your social media platform must reflect your organization’s core identity. Therefore, when interacting with customers, agents must adopt the same tone of voice you’re using across your other channels.
3. Channel transfers and issue escalation
Your quality assurance team must take a close look at how issues are being handled. Here are the specific factors you need to evaluate.
• Are customers being redirected to private chats or other channels when necessary?
For faster, more efficient problem resolution, your social platform must be integrated with your other customer service channels. Your call center agents must therefore be able to identify complaints that cannot be resolved via online messaging alone. Upon encountering these queries or complaints, support reps should follow the protocols prescribed for escalation and channel transfers.
• How many customers are being transferred between departments?
No customer likes being shuffled from one department to another. This is often a sign that a brand’s sub-units aren’t communicating with one another. One way to address this is to make all your documents, knowledge bases, and other resources available to agents. This way, they can quickly get their hands on the information they need to handle customers’ issues.
4. Process improvement mechanism
All social media customer support strategies have their loopholes, so it’s important to establish a procedure for enhancing your processes.
• Are gray areas being clarified?
Inevitably, your contact center agents will encounter scenarios that are either unique or highly complex. You may not have an existing policy for handling these issues. Key decision makers including product experts, customer relationship managers, and brand managers must carefully decide about how these must be managed.
• How often do you update your customer service guidelines?
Ideally, you must be able to revise your policies as often as necessary. This ensures that all the information being provided to customers are updated and accurate.