December 2, 2011
Step 9 of my 10-step program on how to master your service experience is to leverage social technologies for customer service.
Your customers are using social media in their private lives. Facebook has more than 800 million users that collectively spend more than 3 billion hours a year on the site. Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn have large numbers of followers as well. What are you doing to engage your customers in the medium where they are spending their time?
You can’t add social technologies in a silo; they have to be intergrated into your customer service ecosystem so that they extend and add value to your current operations. Here are six ways to add social technologies for customer service in the right way:
- Start by listening to customer conversations. These conversations can surface general issues with products, services, and company processes. Make sure you create workflows to route surfaced issues to the correct organization so they can be worked on.
- Flag and address social inquiries. Understand the general sentiments expressed in these conversations, but also identify specific customer inquiries and route them to the right agent pool for resolution. Tie feedback to customer records so that agents are aware of customer sentiments so that they can personalize future interactions.
- Extend your customer service ecosystem with communities. This allows your customers to share information, best practices, and how-to tips with each other, as well as get advice without needing to interact with your agents. But don’t implement them in a technology silo; customers should be able to start a discussion in a community and escalate it at any point to a customer service agent for resolution. When searching for answers on your site, customers should see relevant content from the knowledge base as well as pertinent discussion threads. Customers should be able to recommend discussion threads to be added to your knowledge base. Lenovo, for example, exemplifies these best practices in tying forums to its greater customer service offering. As a result of the information contained in their forums, Lenovo saw a 20% reduction in its laptop support call rates and shortened problem resolution cycles.
- Offer customer service from your Facebook page. You can extend your Facebook page by adding a customer service tab to it, which allows your customers to interact with your knowledge base or community and engage with an agent without leaving Facebook. You can also listen for comments from users and provide standard answers via this medium.
- Leverage the power of your agents and customers. Customers and agents rely on knowledge base content to get answers to their questions. But not all content needs to be created by dedicated authoring teams — you can leverage your agents to author and maintain content. Your customers can also rate and recommend content. Expert users can also create content.
- Proactively push customer service to where your customers are. Leverage services like Twitter and LinkedIn to push alerts, product announcements, and new knowledge out to customers in an effort to make customers aware of changes, helping deflect inquiries from the contact center. Companies like VMWare are doing this really well.