Taking a strategic approach to social customer service

17 November 2017 by Anita Matthews

Social Media Forum

Sentiment recently hosted a Social Media Seminar in partnership with UKCCF, looking at the challenges facing businesses seeking to optimise their social customer service strategy.

Many organisations are faced with increasing volumes of incoming enquiries on social media and need to simplify and streamline social media engagement to provide the best level of care for customers.

To help develop strategies for dealing with these issues, delegates took part in break out discussions during the day to tackle key topics such as:

  • Operational efficiency and best practice in social customer service
  • How to take a proactive approach to managing social customer service

Here’s a short summary of the conclusions reached in the first session…watch this space as we explore the second topic next week.

Achieving operational efficiency in social customer service

Customer service teams are often faced with the dual challenge of improving service levels, while at the same time reducing the cost to serve. They need a strategic approach to optimise the efficiency of social customer service and help agents to provide a consistent, high-quality experience for the customer.

Here are a few of the top best practice tips discussed in the groups…

Effective planning

  • Before diving straight in, take time out to analyse your current processes. Ensure you have the basics covered and build a solid foundation for the future.
    • When are most customers contacting you?
    • What are the most common complaints about?
    • Which channels are most popular?
  • Set customer expectations. Are your social customer service hours displayed on your social profile? This will help customers understand whether you provide a 24/7 service, or whether you operate specific time periods.
  • Remove silos and encourage cross-departmental communication. If yourMarketing team are running campaigns that may impact customer service it’s key to be aware in advance.  You can use your customer service tool to create automations that route Marketing traffic away from CS.

Social listening

  • Not all complaints will use your customer service or brand handle. Use a tool which enables you to find indirect mentions to ensure you don’t miss any important messages which need a response, especially during busy periods. 
  • Find out where your competitors engage and see how you can do it better.
  • Use the channels your customers want and need. Keep an eye on growing trends such as social messaging apps as these can provide good engagement opportunities.

Managing resources

  • Ensure you have the right engagement infrastructure to enable agents to successfully respond to customers on social channels
  • Plan for peak periods and volume spikes. Use social data to try and forecast your busiest times and ensure you have available agents to cover it
  • Consider outsourcing as a potential back up, or to cover out of hours service. Ensure you find the right fit to match your corporate tone of voice and provide clear guidelines about how you want them to interact with customers and represent your brand.

Read our blog to learn more about whether outsourcing is right for your brand

Reporting and analysis

  • Get meaningful insights from your social data to help you make strategic and operational decisions about your social customer care programme.
  • Analyse response times across your channels and users or look at replies per user to see which agents are the most productive and how you can share this across the team.
  • Workforce management reports can show how user status changes throughout a given time period, and can help identify any blocks to productivity or admin tasks which are taking users away from their core role.

For more help and advice read our guide: How to manage customer service at scale

How to handle social customer service at scale


Tags: UKCCF, Integrated social customer service, Social customer service optimisation