Last week, Fonolo hosted a Google Hangout to discuss social media in the area of customer service. This fabulous panel of industry experts was eager to share their expertise and thoughts on this new channel and how organizations can best utilize it.
The discussion was full of insightful content from both a business and consumer standpoint. To save you some time, we’ll share snippets from each topic. Questions and feedback were also posted to #socialcustserv.
Let’s take a quick look at the panelist introductions: Connie Bensen from Dell, JD Peterson from Zendesk, Christianna Giordano from Cohn & Wolfe, Renee Corwin-Rey from Farmers Insurance and Shai Berger from Fonolo.
Is social customer service right for your organization?
According to Huffington Post, 56% of customer tweets to companies are being ignored. Is this because not all organizations believe social media is right for them? Which then begs the question, do all brands really need to be available on social networks and, if so, how do they choose which platforms to participate on?
JD starts the dialogue and isn’t surprised by this stat at all. He states that companies simply need to be where their customers are.
Christianna chimes in to say that it all boils down to listening. If customers are talking negatively, the discussion is happening – whether you’re there or not. Renee adds that tweeting to a company and having no response is even worse than sitting and waiting on hold!
How to maintain a consistent customer experience across all channels
We often think that consumers are looking for immediacy in response times, but their expectations could vary based on the channel. Oracle stats that 50% of Facebook users and 80% of Twitter users expect a response to a customer service inquiry in a day or less. Clearly that wouldn’t be the case if a caller dialed in for support. The question remains, how does one maintain a consistent experience across all channels?
Shai states that better technology exists today, and that this aids both in providing a consistent experience and in meeting expectations. Christianna adds that although there’s a difference between answering a question in 140 characters or in a 10 minute phone call, a lot of the same rules apply across all mediums.
Are companies using social media correctly?
This segment was inspired by a stat taken from Christianna’s blog, Answer my Tweet! By the end of 2012, 47% of social media users sought customer service through their social channels, but only 80% of companies plan to use these networks for their support teams.
She points out that just because a company plans on using social media as a customer service tool doesn’t mean that they’ll do it right. For example, consider companies that use Twitter, but respond to tweets with a phone number directing customers to their call center. Organizations need to avoid the “canned” responses and get personal with their tweets!
Shai argues that businesses need to ensure that each channel is working well for its intended purpose. A common frustration is trying to use social media for more complicated customer service issues, when they are better handled through a phone call.
What happens when you’re waiting on hold?
This discussion starts with a live feed of onholdwith.com –a site that scans Twitter for messages from people who are waiting on hold. It was this exact service that brought Fonolo to Renee. She tweeted about waiting on hold with Comcast and #onholdwith captured that message.
Renee shares her experience with the panel and viewers, which raised a few questions. Are consumers getting better attention on social media then they are through the call center? If so, won’t the log jam from the old channel eventually move to the new one?
Connie takes the conversation to a whole new level by discussing how to pick the right person for the role of social customer service!
How to escalate from social media to voice?
Aberdeen noted that, although multi-channel support is more in demand today than ever before, the most popular channel for service interaction continues to be voice support. Similarly, approximately 35% of all non-voice channel inquiries eventually escalate to voice.
Shai says that if your customers are escalating from social to voice, you need to provide a good path for that escalation to happen. Essentially, this means employing a call-back approach, where companies can take the discussion from Twitter and ultimately have an agent call the customer.
The reality is customers want a great experience with a personal approach.
Tips on how to strategize for social media & final thoughts
JD states that this is a team sport – you need buy-in from more than one department. In addition, you need to have the right technology in place to deliver an excellent experience. Afterwards, it all boils down to monitoring, responding and tracking analytics.
Some final thoughts include hiring for success, being on the correct platforms and getting the voice channel right.
We hope you enjoyed this hangout!