As a channel for customer support, social media has numerous differences which set it apart from the more traditional voice channel. Accordingly, it often requires the kind of agent who is more in tune with the nuances that social media brings to the table. Simply asking phone-based agents to handle social media interactions can be a recipe for poor customer service.
In addition to the qualities that matter to companies (these vary from company to company, depending on their corporate culture), here are three key characteristics that you might want to consider when hiring social media chat agents:
1. Background with Social Media
It sounds obvious, but it’s important to hire candidates that have experience with social media and, as such, understand the nature of social interactions. The good news is that the younger demographic (Gen-Y) is increasingly comfortable with social media (and with multi-tasking via different communication channels at the same time), so this is less of an issue than it has been in the past.
2. Ability to Please Customers
If you’re thinking, “this is an important quality for agents on any channel”, you’re right. But social has challenges that make it a little different. For one, it’s highly visible: A phone conversation is private, but an interaction on Twitter is available for the world to see. Being sensitive to the customer is that much more important when everyone is watching.
Another thing to consider is that social is often the channel customers choose after they’ve tried the traditional channels (phone, email, etc.). So if there was an earlier missed opportunity to correct a problem with the customer, this is the time to fix it – another reason why social agents should look to go that extra mile.
3. Sensitivity to Business Issues
The high visibility of interactions over social media can be an asset to your business (if they make you look desirable, relative to the competition). At the same time, you don’t want every conversation to be public. After all, there are some policies you probably don’t want to advertise. Given this, it’s important to look for candidates that possess the necessary sensitivities to discussing your business in a public forum.
Getting customer service right is a difficult thing to do, on any channel. The key is to hire the right agents for the right job – after all, they’re an extension of your brand.