4 Social Customer Care Rules to Follow.

T-Mobile. KLM. American Express. These companies do social customer care really well and there’s a reason.

According to a 2014 report from Aberdeen Group,companies with a social care program simply do better than their counterparts. Companies with social care experience see a 5.6% year over year increase in first-contact resolutions, 6.5% increase in agent productivity, and a 17.5% increase in SLA attainment. It’s also five to seven times cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one.

That said, doing social customer care right goes beyond just responding on Twitter or Facebook. You need to create an infrastructure that supports scale and is strong enough to withstand crises.


Here are just four things you might want to consider in building out your social customer care program.

1. Know Your (Un)happy Customers – Social is one of the first touchpoints for the progressive brands. Most customers are engaging on your brand’s social media channels before they even pick up the phone. This behavior presents brands with the opportunity to resolve issues before they escalate. But the first step is being aware of these conversations. Proactively look at all conversations that could be occurring about your brand via social listening. It keeps you aware of all online mentions of your brand or competitors across hundreds online sources such as social media, news sites, blog posts, videos, and more. It helps your company anticipate and manage negative scenarios before they escalate into a crisis.

2. Communicate Well – It’s imperative that your customer service team, or any team engaging with customers online in a public way for that matter, receives consistent training on how to communicate externally on behalf of your brand. So, ask yourself: Is customer service a part of your social media playbook? Conversely, is there a social media section of your customer service handbook and related training materials? Are there tests in place to ensure that individuals meet a basic criteria of understanding in terms of communication before they are given access to social media as part of their jobs? Is there one brand voice consistent across every location, team, and department at your company? Is there another pair of eyes on social messages or some level of governance? Are multiple departments invested in social care and working from the same platform?

You should be able to answer “YES” to all of the above.

3. Streamline and Personalize Your Engagement – enable the following functionalities in your social media management platform:

  • Customizable approval paths: Depending on the industry, company, and sensitivity of the message, multiple stakeholders might be involved in the message approval. Your social media platform should have approval paths that can be customized to fit your company’s specific needs and it should be scalable enough to include multiple departments, so that all approvals can take place in one environment.
  • Message history: Be aware of past conversations an individual has had with your brand.
  • Audience identification: In addition to conversation history, you’ll also want to create custom profile descriptions of your social audience to provide additional context. This can be achieved through profile tags.
  • CRM integration: The people interacting with your brand on social media are often the same ones interacting with your brand in real life. Uniting your social media platform with your traditional CRM system is necessary to link social profiles with customer information.
  • Pre-approved content repository: A social asset manager (SAM) is recommended for global organizations that need to share content assets across multiple teams and regions. It’s essentially a library of pre-approved content that anyone (with the right permissions, of course) can access.
  • Integration with your paid social media: The worst thing you can do when a customer complains about your product/service is to serve her with a promoted post. Integration across paid, earned, and owned social media in one platform enables you to create automatic rules that prevent users who have raised complaints from being targeted with ads.

4. Evaluate and Optimize in Real Time – The success of your social customer care program depends heavily on your ability to sustain and improve it. There are certain capabilities that you’ll need for optimization.

  • SLA reporting dashboard: How many customer care cases are being resolved? How long does it take for your team to reply? Do your reply rates improve over time? You need SLA dashboards to see your progress in resolving customer problems/inquiries.
  • Audit trail: This allows you to see which agents replied to what, and how they’re replying, which you can use to uncover learning opportunities. Audit trails also provide documentation of your social interactions. Even if a message is deleted on the native channel, your audit trail will store the contents in your platform. This is vital when complications arise.
    Tagging: This will enable you to see what topics are most relevant to your community. If most of your inbound messages related to customer service issues, this would reflect in your reporting and help identify gaps in resources. In addition to inbound tagging, you should also be tagging your outbound messages. This will allow you to see what types of content resonates with your audience. You’ll know for sure if they really prefer videos over the written word, if they like webinars or in-person events, and so on. The more you tag, the more valuable insight you’ll have into your customers’ needs and prospects’ preferences.

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