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How to start a customer service operation in social media - Scup Ebook
 

How to start a customer service operation in social media - Scup Ebook

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How to start a customer service operation in social media: ...

How to start a customer service operation in social media:

From planning to implementation, what you really need to know about social customer service in order to interact more efficiently in social media

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    How to start a customer service operation in social media - Scup Ebook How to start a customer service operation in social media - Scup Ebook Document Transcript

    • SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICEHOW TO START ACUSTOMER SERVICEOPERATION INSOCIAL MEDIA From planning to implementation: what you really need to know about social customer service to interact more efficiently in social media A Scup publication
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2Starting point We all know that companies are concerned about customer service in social media. But how should they implement a social customer service operation? How can they interact efficiently with people? How can they monitor what is being said about their brand withoutthe risk of not capturing a mention? How should they managecrises? This eBook aims to answer these questions. We hope youenjoy reading it and that it helps you to better understand thefundamentals that underpin social media. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 3What’s in it for me? If you want to implement a customer service operation in social media and do not know where to start, this book is for you. This eBook will help you plan, implement and manage your social customer service operation. Once you have read it, you will be in a position to makeyour customer service more social. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 4About the author Marcelo Salgado is the social media manager at Bradesco, Brazils second largest private bank. He holds an undergraduate degree in Literature from FFLCH-USP and a Master’s in Social Media Communication from FAAP. He built and manages the team that manages the @AloBradesco Twitterprofile - the first profile of a Brazilian bank to perform customerservice via social media.Get in touch with Marcelo!Twitter: @marcelosalgadoFacebook: Facebook.com/marcelosal www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 5ContentThe fundamentals of social customer service ..............................6How to plan a social customer service operation ........................ 9How to implement a social customer service operation ............ 19How to manage a social media crisis ......................................... 24How to manage a social customer service operation ................ 26Conclusion ................................................................................. 28Hints and Tips ............................................................................ 30Next steps... ............................................................................... 31 www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 6Chapter 1 | Fundamentals “Positioning a company in social media requires the capacity to understand people” ................................................There was a time when companies used to “broadcast”information to consumers, delivering just the messages thatput them in the best light. Communication channels werelimited to phone calls, letters and maybe an email. Since therewas not much opportunity for a two-way conversation it took amajor crisis for customers to hear about it and for it to cause anyproblems.In the mid-1980s, customer service centers started to appear,which allowed companies to create a connection with manycustomers on a one-to-one basis. Over the years regulation wasintroduced to ensure the quality of customer service.However, when social media burst onto the scene andorganizations realized it could be used to handle customerservice issues in real time, there were no rules or best practicesto guide them. Some organizations simply used their existingcustomer service processes to regulate social customer service. Ifused well, traditional policies are very helpful. However, they www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 7need to be adapted to account for the process of humaninteraction and hyper connectivity that are hallmarks of socialmedia.Here are some guidelines to help you put an effective socialcustomer service program in place.Guideline 1: Social media is not customer service Traditional customer service is typically very mechanical -- a customer service representative spends his or her day reading scripts. This is not what the“connected” client expects of companies in a social mediasetting. The customer expects a more human “voice”. Socialmedia creates connections between people and is too much ofa multidisciplinary universe to be reduced just to customerservice and advertising. Positioning a company in social mediamainly requires an ability to understand people.Guideline 2: Social customer service must beefficient and fast In the past when the only way to communicate with companies was to send a letter, people were mentally prepared to wait for the response. When call centerswere created, the willingness to wait for a response decreased.Contact was faster and more direct. However, we were stillprepared to wait. Today, we are used to a world that isextremely connected with no barriers and as a result we wantan immediate response. It is clear that one media does notreplace another and the time we are willing to wait for each www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 8one of communication to another is still different, but when itcomes to social media, the response must be quick andefficient. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 9 Chapter 2 | Planning“A customer service department needsfreedom within a company”...................................................................................................Before you start planning your social customer service strategyit is important to do some research and analysis. First take aclose look at the following four points:Where do your customers congregate?What is being said?How much is being said?When is it being said? www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 10Where, what, how and when there are conversations, questionsand comments about your company will define which socialmedia platforms to monitor, how (and whether) to interact,what tools to use, and what times of day your customers areactive. The latter will establish if your team needs to workaround the clock or not. While doing this analysis, the amount ofwork and investment required will become clear. Each line ofbusiness has its needs just as each company has its own DNA andthese must be taken into account at this time.1. Physical Structure and HierarchyTake note! THE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM NEEDS TO HAVE THECOMPANY CULTURE IN ITS DNA, UNDERSTANDING OF SOCIALMEDIA, MATURITY AND, MOST OF ALL, GOOD WRITING SKILLSIn many businesses, especially those dedicated to services, itmakes sense that the social media relationship should be aroundthe clock. If that is the case, for shifts to run smoothly, you willneed approximately 16 workers on 6-hour shifts or 12 workerson 8- hour shifts. This is because you will need at least twopeople working together at peak periods, which creates anactual need for four available people (considering the fact thatone may be off duty due to weekend shift and another one onlunch break). Furthermore, you will need at least one worker forthe quieter hours. Add to this calculation weekend shifts andrespective days off, and you will arrive at the minimum amountof people required. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 11If there are times when there is no activity among your customerbase you will not need coverage. This will all depend on yourpreliminary analysis, especially the analysis of what and howmuch should be communicated. If a mention during the earlyhours of the morning is unusual, you can decide not to have aperson working this shift. If on the other hand it is too critical torisk not responding to a mention, it should be taken intoconsideration. In short: make sure your brand won’t be harmedby decisions you make regarding staffing and shifts.Many social customer service groups started with one or twoworkers and grew over time. This is another more organic way tostart and is certainly an option, depending on your situation.These days a lot of customer service is outsourced. Companieslarge and small have tested this model. Some companiesoutsource to their customer service provider, others to theiradvertising agency. We do not recommend this. This e-book aimsto deliver the best social customer service practices so werecommend an internal structure over an outsourced service.Your team must have the corporate culture in its DNA. Werecommend recruiting workers who are knowledgeable about www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 12social networks, mature, know how to provide quality customerservice and, above all, who have good writing skills. However werecognize that this 100% internal model is also the mostexpensive so think it through carefully and find the model thatworks best for your business. Just be sure you can be certain ofquality interaction with your customers.Regardless of whether you decide to build your own departmentor outsource we recommend that you employ a good socialmedia agency, at least at the outset. It is important to get up tospeed on how to incorporate social media into your customerservice strategy before fully engaging with customers.The choice of who will lead this group is also important. Themanager should be deeply specialized in social media. He or shemust set guidelines, suggest action plans and keep the teamupdated on market trends.And, since customer service involves relationships, thisdepartment must be connected to the other groups in yourcompany that will be called upon to provide information to yourcustomers, such as product management. It is important to putprocesses in place that will give you easy access to alldepartments of the organization. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 132. Define the team’s “freedom of speech” Take note! THE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM NEEDS FREEDOM IN THE WAY THEY RESPOND TO CUSTOMERS. HOWEVER, THIS DOES NOT EXCLUDE SCRIPTS IN SPECIFIC SITUATIONSIt is not practical to approve every tweet posted in a socialcustomer service department. Therefore, your team must havethe freedom to create responses and the company’s trust to doso. Remember that, in telephone customer service centers,workers (including outsourced ones) have the power toimprovise on behalf of the company multiple times a day.On the other hand it is important to establish written guidelines,be they casual or more formal depending on your companybrand. Such guidelines help the team understand the mostappropriate way to handle different situations and also assurecompany management that there is some order within thenormal and expected chaos of social networking. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 143. Map internal workflows and define your maincontactsTake note! THE MANAGER OF A SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICETEAM NEEDS TO SHOW THE WAY AND BE AWARE OF TRENDSResponding to customers, prospects and others in socialnetworks demands speed and attention so it is necessary to talkto the relevant managers in your company and elect one personto be the main contact for his or her area of responsibility. Thesecontacts will need to quickly respond to requests so it isimportant that this person is fully committed to timelinessregardless of the hour or the day.Social networks are just one way to interact with yourcustomers. Although these channels demands faster responseswhen compared with the telephone for example, the quality ofyour responses must be standard across the board. Yourcustomer is unique. This is how he or she feels in this hyper-connected world, and that is how you should treat him or her,regardless of the communication channel used.4. Define tool(s), metric(s) and report typesTake note! IT IS IMPERATIVE TO HAVE A TOOL THAT GROUPSTHE HISTORY OF A TEAMS INTERACTIONS WITH CUSTOMERSIt is now time to select a social media monitoring tool and anyother tools you will need to use to achieve your goals. When www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 15doing so, remember that you will need to create a database andintegrate it with your customer relationship management (CRM)solution in the future. Creating such a database is fundamentalso you can keep track of who you have talked to and what you’vesaid. Otherwise you risk asking someone you have beeninteracting with for a couple of days “how may I help?” Define what types of data you will report on and how often. The preliminary analysis you made will help guide you but it is crucial that company management participate in this step. When we talk about social customer service, one of the mostserious mistakes we have seen is related to measurement andwhich indicators will be used to verify its success. Sentiment(negative, neutral, positive) is, in many cases, less important thanresponse volume and type (complaint, suggestion, compliment,question, etc). We are not recommending any best practiceshere because each company, even in the same industry, hasdifferent considerations. However here are some suggestionsthat you can consider for your particular situation.Reports focused on product/problem: Maps the impact ofmentions and complaints about each of the company’s productsor services. For this to work, the social media manager mustcorrectly classify mentions throughout the day. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 16Reports focused on sentiment: Demonstrates how manynegative, positive or neutral mentions there were about thecompany. This method requires good training and regularclassification throughout the day, as well as an accurate analysisof the context of each mention, so as to not generate falsenegatives.Reports focused on highlights: Used to highlight information insocial media that allows a company to learn about the customeror anticipate a future crisis or demand.Specific reports: Every now and then, negative news will impactyour business such as system crashes, a crisis caused by anegative post from an influential customer, etc. In these cases,you need to demonstrate the extent of the problem internally andthoroughly map the reasons that led to it. Keep a report templateon hand so you can pull together information that will be easilyunderstood in the event that this happens.Report on frequency and volume: Maps the times at which yourprofiles are most visited and when you receive the most helprequests. Not only will it confirm your team’s performance at themost critical times, but it will also help you request moreresources for your team, when overloaded.You can and must create more than one type of report so youcan cross reference data to best understand your environment.Reports focused on products/problems, for example, offerfeedback for improvement and insight for innovation. Butreports about a specific problem may offer a broader view of thereasons for complaints and suggest an alternative solution. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 17In all cases, advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office, especiallyExcel, is extremely important in order to compare report data.There are tools that produce standard reports, but notnecessarily reports that are customized to your needs. However,they will certainly allow data extraction in .csv or .xls format,both of which can be opened in Excel so you can transform datainto relevant, useful and convincing information.5. Define Keywords Take note! TEST THE KEY WORDS THAT YOU SEARCH FOR. It is important to define keywords to be used when searching for mentions in social media. Use terms such as company name, products, services, etc. However monitoringcompetitors and the market does not make much sense if youare focusing on issues related to social customer service.We recommend you study and test Twitter search syntax to getused to it: http://twitter.com/#!/search-home. Many companieshave common names and searches can get semantically difficult,so understanding search mechanisms is important to eliminatejunk and optimize search items and analysis time.Another important matter is that some terms may be strategic toyour company. If one of your goals is responding proactively,brainstorm all the keywords that relate to your business withyour team. Monitoring them may help you start conversationsthat generate business or simply surprise your customer with acomment and spur an interaction. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 18Other tools that may help you understand the universe ofkeywords involving your business, market and competition areGoogle Insights for search1 and Google AdWords Keyword Tool2.6. InfluencersTake note! YOU NEED TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE EQUALLY INSOCIAL MEDIA. IGNORING CERTAIN PROFILES CAN HAVE AVERY DAMAGING IMPACT IN SOCIAL MEDIAAt this point you should build a list of influencers, social hubs andcelebrities who use or discuss your brand. This list will bedynamic, updated as you interact with your audiences. Eachcontact with the customer is an opportunity to make a positiveimpact in a network so work hard to respond equally toeveryone, but pay special attention to influencers, as their powerto impact your brand is much more significant. Approach themand start to build a relationship. Invite them to events forexample. Be very attentive to their needs. Just like a complaint, arecommendation from an influencer reaches far more people.1 http://www.google.com/insights/search/?hl=en-US2 https://adwords.google.com.br/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS&hl=en_US www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 19Chapter 3 | Execution “Look to interact as much as possible within the social hub where it started” ........................................................At this point you are ready to start executing on the plan youhave put in place. As work gets underway you will notice thatyour plan is very dynamic. This is good. As you start working on adaily basis you will realize what works best and will makeadjustments. This is always the best way to learn and improve.1. Monitor, analyze and interact in real timeTake note! FOR CERTAIN COMPANIES, IT MAKES SENSE TOMONITOR AND INTERACT 24 HOURS PER DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK.As previously stated the customer has different expectations ofyour turnaround time in social media. He or she does not want towait. But this is not the only consideration. If your interaction isnot in real time, you will miss the opportunity to bring a swiftend to a complaint and transform an experience from negativeto positive, especially on Twitter. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 20Set yourself a response target in minutes. Some organizationscommit to responding within 30 minutes, for example.Connecting with the customer quickly, makes him or her feelvalued and means you have time to solve the problem or togather information to provide the best response.Each company has characteristics that compose its DNA. Formany companies, especially service companies, it makes a lot ofsense to monitor social media and interact 24/7. Actually, webelieve this is ideal. However, it is not a rule. So take intoconsideration what your company brand stands for, what yourproduct delivers, and be there at the right times for yourcustomer.2. Quick responsesTake note! THE FOCAL POINTS OF EACH DEPARTMENT WITHINA COMPANY SHOULD ONLY BE USED FOR MORE COMPLEXANSWERS.Each member of the team should have an information guideabout your products and services (just like in customer servicecenters -- it can even be the same guide). This will help themrespond faster to commonly asked questions.Try to keep interaction on the social media hub where it wasinitiated. Only move to another communication mechanism suchas the telephone if you need to enter into a more detailedconversation or exchange private information. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 21Use your contacts with assigned product or service managers inthe company for more complex responses and demand quickturnaround from them.3. Hands onTake note! DESPITE HAVING EACH TEAM MEMBERRESPONSIBLE FOR ONE TASK WITHIN THE OPERATION, THEYALL NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS AS A WHOLE.Everybody is ready but who does what? How are responsibilitiesdivided up between the team? It depends on the platforms to bemonitored. If you intend to cover Facebook and Twitter, it isnecessary to organize the team and divide tasks (the managershould help here). This means that while one person takes careof direct messages and occasionally makes necessary phonecalls, another should monitor public mentions and the wall onFacebook. While executing on their role, it is crucial thateveryone on the team keeps the big picture in mind: the focus onthe customer. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 224. Keep an interactive database Take note! GROUP THE HISTORY OF YOUR INTERACTIONS IN SOCIAL MEDIA. Backup all conversations from day one so you have the history of every interaction with each user. If your social media monitoring tool does thisautomatically and compiles a history of interactions, that is evenbetter. With this feature, each conversation is clearly visiblewhich is particularly useful when you have a new team member.The ability to cite previous interactions during new interactionswith the same customer demonstrates professionalism and agenuine interest in their needs.Consider integrating this database with your CRM software in thefuture, so that access to information is quicker.5. Look for opportunities to be proactiveTake note! A SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM SHOULD NOTJUST BE FOCUSED ON COMPLAINTS.Responding to complaints is going to be your main activity, but itis possible to find opportunities to actively promote productsand services, as long as the context is relevant to theconversations. Do not send sales messages if there is no ongoingconversation or appropriate context for it. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 236. Keep updating your influencer listTake note! DO NOT TRY TO INTERACT WITH THOSE WHO DONOT WANT TO SPEAK TO YOU.Your interactions will show that the most famous are notnecessarily the ones who impact the most people. Mapping localinfluencers is important, as well as mapping out trolls (thosepeople who enjoy being detractors on the internet). But keepconversations only to people who really want to have one. Neverrespond to trolls who want to have fun. The social mediamanager’s instinct plays an important role in this situation. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 24Chapter 4 | Crisis Management“During a crisis, involve all of thehierarchical levels above you”...................................................................................................The customer has experienced a major problem. Now what? Itis important to keep calm and interact.Interact. People want to hear an official voice. Be transparentand polite, offer first-hand information. When the company’sposition is authentic and objective the community will hear yourvoice and ignore the naysayers.Involve. Demonstrate internally how a specific problem isimpacting opinion in social media. Involve the other hierarchical www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 25levels, so that they at least know about the situation.Monitor. Give preference to people who are talking directly toyou, but keep your eye on the general search for mentions thatare not directed to your official profile/page in order to detectimportant conversations that don’t mention your name. Again,keep in mind that you will need a good social media monitoringtool in order to be effective.[+] MORE ON THISDo you know how to manage a crisis in social media? www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 26Chapter 5 | Management “The positioning of a company in social media should mirror its actual positioning” .........................................................All right. You have your social media customer service team upand running and everything works fine. Now comes the easypart, right? Wrong. Since social media conversations arenotoriously unpredictable, you have to keep adapting to makesure you are on top of quality at all times.1. Track the volume of interactionsDo you need to add resources during your busy hours. Youshould project your growth curve to anticipate team expansionand avoid losing quality of interactions.2. Pay attention to trendsIs Tumblr the new thing? Is Pinterest over? What’s the newestmeme?Participate in discussions, events and lectures about the marketand keep your eyes open for trends. This can turn into acompetitive advantage. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 27Get to know other social media managers, so you can exchangeinformation. Good ideas always come from such contacts.3. Map and recommend improvementsPeople will point out problems and give interesting feedback, butin general companies don’t know what to do with it. It is part ofyour role to determine how to solve problems and make newrecommendations to management. While showing respect forthe opinions of others and letting them know their contributionis valuable, it is important to push for necessary changes in yoursocial customer service program so that you learn and improve inthe quest for excellence. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 28Conclusion“Companies that dont interact in socialmedia will not innovate”...................................................................................................Once you start interacting in social media, you should follow thecompany guidelines for interaction but you can also innovate asunanticipated events occur in social media networks. See this asan opportunity.From a communication point of view this hyper-connected forumis no place for broadcasting. Company profiles that onlybroadcast information without engaging in conversations do notsucceed in this environment. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 29People are the ones who decide what your product is for. If youare not an active member of social media, and don’t listen towhat people have to say, you are at great risk that they willspeak for you, possibly distorting the facts and damaging yourreputation.People want to hear a human voice and feel your genuineinterest in solving their problems, clarifying questions andresponding. That is why it is necessary to go beyond platforms,to care about the essence of every business: people. Eachconnection is important, because it creates a relationship thatlasts and it positively spreads throughout the network. Byfollowing the above steps and guidelines you can ensure thesuccess of your social customer service programs. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 30Hints and TipsIt is important to keep some points in mind when it comes tocommunicating in social media:1. Social media require honesty and transparency, from bothpeople and companies.2. They also require customized responses. Due to this, yourteam must have the freedom to improvise and unlimited accessto internet.3. Communicate with everyone in the same way. There is noneed for formalities. It is important to be casual, as we are allpeople. If a customer uses abbreviations and smiles, respond inthe same way.4. The world of social networks is one of trial and error. So, ifsomething doesn’t work, that’s alright. Accepting mistakes andcorrecting problems are great steps towards maintaining yourreputation.5. Respect customers, prospects and others. Don’t insist oninteractions if the other party is not interested. If you approachsomeone once and you are ignored or get no reply, move on.6. Finally, do not allow yourself to get dragged into anargument. This doesn’t sit well in the social media environment. www.scupsocial.com Share
    • HOW TO START A CUSTOMER SERVICE OPERATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA 31Next steps... Are you starting out in social customer service and do you need a social media monitoring and management platform?Why dont you try out Scup for 30 days? http://bit.ly/PAbDoy Also visit our social customer service site http://ideas.scup.com/en/socialmediacustomer/ www.scupsocial.com Share