The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service


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Read the 36-Page guide to learn about issues including:
-Justifying the business case for Social Customer Service
-Moving from Contact Center to Social Engagement Hub
-Preparing for the unexpected with escalation and crisis response
-Understanding Social ROI and how to measure it

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The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service

  1. 1. The definitive guide toSocial Customer Service
  2. 2. 2What is Social Customer Service?Social Customer Service is now recognized as one of the mostimportant points of contact between companies and theircustomers. Through best practice examples and practicaladvice, this guide explores why social for customer service isyour most critical business need, and how it can support theinterests of your entire organization.Social communication is not a new phenomenon, but many remain unsureof how to leverage it for business. Today, the most successful companies aremoving from ‘social for social’s sake’ to use social communication to achievestrategic goals.For example, Gartner outlines four core integrations for social media intoexisting disciplines: Social for Customer Service, Social for E-commerce,Social for Marketing and Social for Sales.*The first edition of Conversocial’s Definitive Guide to SocialCustomer Service offered advice for companies looking to setupa basic Social Customer Care team, but in just the past yearcustomer expectations have accelerated rapidly, demanding thatbrands respond with mature engagement strategies that providetrue value. In this edition of the guide, Conversocial has wiselytaken the social media framework and best practice examplesa step further, outlining how to develop a highly skilled teamthat’s connected to the enterprise while delivering on metricsthat justify the value of Social Customer Service at scale. At theend of the last guide, Conversocial CEO Joshua March predictedthat companies would move beyond early dabblings in SocialCustomer Service by reorganizing internally around a socialexperience that permeates the entire company. I’ve begun to seethis happen in smart, nimble companies that understand that socialcustomer service is an opportunity for deep engagement. My hopeis that this guide will help you take advantage of this chance todifferentiate your service and, ultimately, your brand.- Evan Shumeyko, Head of Ogilvy Social Customer Care Practice““* “The Preposition Makes All The Difference When You Go From Social CRM to Social for CRM” Published February 2013.
  3. 3. 3Contents Making the case for Social Customer ServiceIn this section we explain how Social Customer Service is vital to success inmultiple areas of your business.Level one: Creating a Social Engagement HubIt’s important to define the people, processes and tools for customerengagement through social channels.Read these steps to develop your Social Engagement Hub, whether you’reintroducing a Social Customer Service team to your business for the firsttime, or want to restructure to integrate social engagement business-wide.• What the Social Engagement Hub looks like• How to understand customer demand on social channels• How to support your entire business through Social Customer Service0102In this section we explore:Level two: Building a Social Customer Service MachineHow do you put theory into practice and develop processes to meet theunique demands of the Social Engagement Hub?Read these best practice suggestions on how to run a Social CustomerService operation that delivers an amazing experience to your customers andvalue to your business.• How to get to real customer issues, quickly• How to deliver socially-savvy service that meets – or beats – customer expectations• How to prepare for the unexpected: escalation and crisis response• Best practice hiring and training• Proactive customer service03In this section we explore:Level three: Measure, Refine and ScaleHow do you know how your program measures up?Read these recommendations and calculations to develop and grow yourSocial Customer Service in a valuable way.• Industry analysis of the value of Social Customer Service• Quality measures on the value to the customer• Effectiveness measures for the impact of your program• Actionable insight for real business changes• How to measure ROI04In this section we explore:
  4. 4. Making the Case for Social Customer ServiceSection01
  5. 5. 5Making the Case for Social Customer ServiceSocial Customer Service is now fully establishedas a consumer requirement; millions of peopleare taking service issues to social channels astheir preferred communication route. Thesequestions and complaints are public, and theonly real option available for businesses ishow, not if, they will respond. The idea of one-way social marketing has become antiquated,1. You can’t ignore Social Customer Servicebut despite this many businesses still fail tounderstand just how critical a serious SocialCustomer Service program has become.Listening is no longer an end, but rather ameans to evaluating where you need to engage.If you find yourself justifying the cause for goodsocial care, the best arguments come from yourcustomers.The first and absolutely most important thing you should do in social media is listen to your consumers/custom-ers and answer their questions. You should work out how to do this before you figure out how to drive ‘likes’ onFacebook, what content to produce or how to measure engagement. Because if you do this, consumers will‘like’ the brand, rather than just the Facebook page- Richard Stacy, Social Media Trainer, Social Media Architecture“ “Consumers Demand Social Customer ServiceSocial customer careusers who engageevery dayPeople who think socialmedia will become the nexttier of customer servicePeople who thinkcompanies should offercustomer support on theirprofiles“I want to speakwith a real person”“We want to engagewith you on the go”#listentome01 0402 0503 0618-24 year olds who usesocial media for customercareSocial media users whoprefer to reach out to abrand for customer serviceover social channelsSocial customer careusers who engage severaltimes a month59% 1/351%78%63%9%01
  6. 6. 6Due to the public nature of questions andcomplaints on social media, fear about branddamage and PR crises is one of the primarydrivers for the creation of Social CustomerService teams. Social media demands a newapproach to crisis, where corporate silenceor PR statements fail to satisfy expectations2. Your Reputation Depends on Social Customer Servicefor social brands. Delivering a high level ofpersonalized engagement is the best way tocombat negativity online, which ultimatelyaffects the bottom line. Your social reputation isworth a great deal to your customers, and canaffect how much they are worth to you.Consumers that areaffected by other customers’comments on your page1 negative customermessage in public can wipeout the effect of up to 5positive ones83%88%The Consequenses Of Ignoring Social Customer Service01 0402 050696.5%03Consumers who will beless likely to buy from youafter seeing unansweredquestionsCustomers experiencingpositive social care are 4xmore likely to endorse youthan those who don’tThe biggest cause of1 decade of social mediacrises was poor customerexperiences shared onlineSocial media users whohave abandoned a purchaseafter poor customer service01
  7. 7. 7Social Customer Service pays off. Satisfied social customers are more loyal to your brand, increasinglifetime customer value. By managing customers’ issues publicly on social channels, you can expandthe reach of your team and reduce your cost to serve. On social media, agents can handle morequeries, more rapidly, and customers can find solutions shared with others before they need to ask.3. Your Customer Relationships will Benefit from Social Customer ServiceSocial is more efficientEncouraging customers to use social channelsfor customer care by offering a betterexperience can help reduce the cost to serve.70% of consumers who use social media forcustomer service are likely to do so again if theyare satisfied with their experience. But for thosewho try and have an unsatisfactory experience,only 41% will try again.*According to a recent report from Gartner, thesocial CRM agent can manage four to eighttimes more high-value interactions, comparedwith a traditional, voice-based contact centeragent.**Sources:*** Use This Beginner’s Guide to Outsourcing Social CRM† Bain and Company, American Express increases customer valueCustomers who engage with your companyon social channels are likely to spend 20-40%more than those who don’t.† Quality interactionis a major differentiator for most industries,and can set your offering apart from yourcompetitors. While robust social customer caretakes hold as the industry norm, companieshave a major opportunity to stand out ascustomer-centric.01
  8. 8. 8Where are you now?Elementary Explorer AdvocateMarketingInactiveNo ResolutionCustomer ServiceReactiveFirst Contact ResolutionSocial Engagement HubProactivePre-contact ResolutionWe developed the Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service to help take your program toAdvocate status, no matter where you fall on the maturity scale.What do the experts say?Source:Altimeter: The Evolution of Social BusinessThe Six Stages of SocialBusiness Transformation.PlanningListen &LearnUnderstand howcustomers use socialchannelsPrioritize strategic goalswhere social can havemost impactPresenceStake ourclaimAmplify existingmarketing effortsEncouragesharingEngagementDialog DeepensRelationshipsDriveconsideration topurchaseProvide direct supportInternal employeeengagementConvergedBusinessis SocialSocial drivestransformationIntegrates socialphilosophy into allaspects of theenterpriseFormalizedOrganiseFor ScaleSet governacefor socialCreate discipline& processStrategic businessgoalsStrategicBecome ASocial BusinessScale acrossbusiness unitsMoves into HR, Sales,Finance & Supply ChainC-level Involvement01
  9. 9. Level one: Creating a Social Engagement HubSection02
  10. 10. 10Level one: Building A Social Engagement HubAround Your CustomerNo two companies are identical. Your socialcustomer relationships are shaped by theunique product, services and approach that youoffer.When working out what your SocialEngagement Hub looks like, the most importantthings to consider are:What is the Social Engagement Hub?The people, processes and tools for customer engagement through social channels.01 Customer demand02Business-wide objectives forcustomer engagement03The internal resourcesyou have availableHere we look at how you can best workcollaboratively and organize resources todevelop a first-class Social Customer Serviceoperation that delivers value for your business.02
  11. 11. 11Assessing Your Need: Customer Expectationsand BehaviorConsumers are not only starting to favor socialover traditional service channels, but they’renow also able to communicate an entirely new,often time-sensitive, set of issues.Whereas in the past a customer would havebeen unlikely to email you regarding the lengthof your checkout lines, a quick Tweet made in-store will make this a very public problem. Therecould be huge value for you to reply and fix theproblem – but only if you do this before theyleave the store.These type of issues offer you a powerfulopportunity to delight a customer in real-time.Discovery: what do your customers say?UrgentDissatisfactionTechnicalSensitiveFAQPositiveFeedbackUnderstanding customer issues 01in-store, mid-purchase...unhappy customer, exposure of bad account-specific issue, a problem that requires investigation, issues for a specialist team...a PR crisis, questions on corporate policy, brand defamations...simple questions that have an online resourcesharing positive experience, general love...on campaigns, on products and services, not looking for answersA simple way to understand the issues your customers are bringingover social media is to review and categorize one week’s tweets andcomments.02
  12. 12. 12Understanding expectations for speed 02Social networks exist to connect individuals viainstantaneous communication channels. Speedis at the heart of social interaction.For businesses, these time considerations areeven more important. In creating a social brandpresence, you have opened an extremely quickand convenient channel where customers canreach out for help.But just how quick you need to be depends onhow active your customer base is on social, aswell as on the types of issue they’re bringing toyou over social channels.Source: response times demanded02
  13. 13. 13Understanding volume 03Your ability to meet tight service levels dependson the volume of messages you receive at anyparticular time, and the resources you havein place. If you receive 10 customer servicemessages per hour, it’s quite likely that onededicated Social Customer Service agent canmeet this demand. If you receive hundredsof messages each hour, you will only be ableachieve the response times customers expectby having a bigger team in place to processthese interactions.While you can only discover exactly howquickly your agents will be able to handle socialmessages by building up your team, leadingcompanies have found that fully trained agentscan handle 4-8 times the number of messageson social media as they can over the phone.Go Daddy’s highly trained agents handle over200 tweets per week, handling customers’detailed technical issues. Our research hasfound that across all social platforms andindustries, it’s possible for agents to deal withanything in the range from 500-2000 socialmessages in a month.Understanding engagement times 04The public nature of Conversocial, combinedwith high expectations, means that the timesat which consumers get in touch are far moreimportant than for private channels.There can be a huge variance in both the timesof day and days of the week that consumersprefer to engage with companies in differentindustries. If your customers are most activeduring evenings and the weekend, but yourteam is only available on weekdays from 9-5,you could be missing the majority of customercomplaints while they have the greatestaudience.Build your staffing plans around these habits,and don’t presume they fall in line with yourtraditional call center patterns.Conversocial automates the process ofcomprehensively calculating messagevolumes and times, tracking how each ofthese changes over time. This combinedwith advanced data categorization givesthe complete picture of customer demand,allowing you to plan resourcing effectively.How Conversocial Helps02
  14. 14. 14What Does A Social Engagement Hub Look Like?How Do You Connect With Your Customers ?Your customers are reaching out to you on public social channels, with a brand new set of problems and questions.A contact centre doesnt cut it anymore, and your marketing department doesnt have the information your customersneed. For your brand to deliver a human experience, that has the answers, a fully connected Social Engagement Hub is theonly way to connect with your customers on their terms.MarketingInsight?Deliver a fully connectedcustomer experienceCommunicationsSocial Customer Service?Social Network ConversationsManagementiIdentify customerconversations thatneed a responseDeliver excellentcustomer servicein real-timeFix customers’problems at theheartExceed customerexpectations andbuild strongerrelationships0201 0304?QuestionRantSuggestionPraise?QuestionRantSuggestionPraise02
  15. 15. 15As customer service becomes the mostimportant area of social engagement, more andmore companies are creating dedicated socialcare teams that are responsible for processingall incoming messages, engaging withcustomers, dealing with issues, and escalatingthe minority that require input from elsewherein the business. Giving customer service avoice on social means you can leverage thesechannels as a real-time information tool forcustomers, making sure they have the mostup to date details on service. To best meetcustomer demand with the level of resourcesyou have, consider where these agents cancome from internally, who you might need tohire afresh, and where outsourcing can helpyou scale.Customer ServiceCertain customer messages can’t bedealt with by your agents single-handedly.Revisiting your common issues, who needs tosupport your engagement team with furtherinstruction and information to respond toatypical conversations? Service managersmay be required to sign off a certain number ofconversations each day, or to approve traineeagents’ public messages. CommunicationsManagers may need to become more active inproviding approved responses when acrisis hits.Brand ProtectionQuality customer engagement and a high levelof service is one of the best ways to ensuremarketing effectiveness - customer serviceand marketing need to be closely aligned onmessaging, engagement and sales to createone consistent brand presence. The companyvoice should be unified, so working together toensure you avoid a split social personalityis crucial.Marketing EffectivenessWho’s interested in customer serviceperformance across the business, and whorequires insight from the vast amount of dataunearthed in social conversations? Settingup a direct chain between Social CustomerService and product or customer insight teamsis one of the fastest ways to pick up on supplychain issues, customer opinion or campaigneffectiveness.Insight and ReportingIt helps if Social Customer Service teams workclosely with content and knowledge basemanagement teams, or be involved directly incontent creation. By tracking frequently askedquestions, new product questions, and commoncustomer pain points, teams can identify wheregaps exist in the content.- Michelle Kostya, Senior Manager of Social MediaEnablement at Rogers Communications““What do the experts say?Have you got everything covered?Delivering social customer service is morethan just being reactive and solving customersissues quickly and efficiently.  While this iscertainly important, an opportunity exists forbrands to create real-time content proactivelybased on current customer pain points. Not onlydoes this fill the content gap, but it also drivessearch engine visibility and at the same time,decreases calls into the call center.- Michael Brito, VP Social Business Strategy, EdelmanDigital.““02
  16. 16. Level two: Building a Social CustomerService MachineSection03
  17. 17. 17Social Customer Service ProcessesFiltering through social data is a major challengefor any brand receiving even a moderate volumeof customer interactions.Unlike private one-to-one service channels,social engagement channels are hugely diverse.A study of retailers using Conversocial foundthat only around 50% of social media messagesmerited an agent’s attention, and only 10% ofthese required a response. But this demand tonoise ratio varies across brands and industries,with service providers often seeing much highervolumes of actionable conversations in therange of 50-80%.*It’s important to define criteria for what yourteam should be giving their attention to first.What’s high priority? What should be alwaysguaranteed to get a response?Every company is different, but here’s aframework for identifying what counts:First-tier priority• A customer asking you a direct question• A customer expressing dissatisfaction• Customers that have an urgent product/service need• Escalating potential crisis issuesSecond-tier priority• General references of your products andservices• Positive experiences of your productsand services• Indirect references that are relevant toyour industryPrioritization 01* Conversocial customer dataWe’ve designed a Priority ResponseEngine to identify interactions that needa response. We combine a number ofintelligent technologies, including historicinteraction analysis and machine learning todetect whether a message is a question, orsomething you’d usually respond to.This priority engine is also applied toadvanced Boolean searching of Twitter,so that you can identify customers raisingimportant issues and those who are inneed of help and assistance to target thembefore it’s too late – even if they’re notreaching out directly.How Conversocial HelpsDeveloping a Social Customer Service program has a number of uniquerequirements that aren’t encountered in a traditional customer service setting.03
  18. 18. 18Social Customer Service is all about being where yourcustomers are in order to deliver a great experience.Resolution 02Like any other channel, when customers cometo you on social media they want to carry ontheir existing conversations with you, not startafresh. This is a major challenge in a mult-channel customer service world, but get it rightand you can offer a much better customerexperience.Firstly, make sure that your team has fullvisibility of your customers’ social history. Areyou already in the middle of a conversation?Have you had similar conversations in the past?Has the customer previously had a positive ornegative relationship with your brand? Whichagent has dealt with them before? This is allimportant information that your team shouldbe equipped with before they wade into aconversation.Secondly, as fully integrated into the customerservice environment, your team should havecomplete access to CRM data and othersystems that hold information on customerrecords from other channels. A record ofinteractions across systems is the mostimportant step towards a single view of thecustomer.Know who you’re talking toConsumers know that social media offers adifferent customer experience to the channelsthey’ve been used to previously. They’ve chosento speak with you there as it’s convenient andhuman, and they have potentially exhausted –and lost confidence in – other channels.Offering resolution over social media isimportant for brand and consumer. Theconsumer gets the kind of interaction they werelooking for, and the brand can display publiclyhow they handled the matter positively. What’smore, if you resolve on social, any thanks thecustomer gives will be public too. Anxiousnessabout dealing with sensitive customerinformation publicly can usually be resolvedby making use of Facebook and Twitters’private messaging functionality. This protectsbrand and customer while avoiding redirectionand a manipulated experience. If it becomesnecessary to take the issue to another channel,you’ve earned your customer’s respect and trustby keeping it on social for as long as possible.Redirection isn’t good customer serviceSocial Customer Service has a benefit often overlooked by brands – especially the brands that forcetheir customers to Direct or Private messages when they offer support – it can create an archive ofanswers that is searchable and open up the possibility to help more customers than the original poster.Social Customer Service teams, whether on Twitter, blogs or community forums should consider if theirresponse has the potential to help other people that may be looking for the same answer. When theresponse will, and it doesn’t include private customer information the agent could make the responsepublic. Not only may it help others, but it will let the community know that the question has beenanswered!- Michelle Kostya, Senior Manager of Social Enablement, Roger Communications““What do the experts say?03
  19. 19. 19For sensitive or detailed customer issues that require escalation to another team member, it’simportant to have clear processes in place so that your agents can easily handle incoming messageswithout confusion or delay.Escalation 0301Clear guidelines explaining whichmessages agents can respond to.Develop an escalation map that provides:02A comprehensive breakdown of thetypes of messages frontline agents can’timmediately respond to, and the teamresponsible for each type.03A quick method of escalating messages,along with the full case history and context,to the relevant team.01Look at the messages you receive on yoursocial channels, and pick out some real-lifeexamples of messages that do and don’tneed a response, to share with your team.Tips for effective escalation02Make the first level of escalation the agent’steam leader, who can determine whetherany ambiguous customer messages shouldbe escalated further, and track the ongoingperformance of their agents.03Again, look at your customer messages,and pick out some real examples of brand-related tweets/posts that should be passedto communications. Identify criteria for yoursupervisors and make sure they are wellconnected into the PR or marketing team,and potentially to experts in other areas ofthe business.04Make your escalation map a livedocument. For extremely sensitiveissues, your front line agents should beequipped with a continually updated listof topics that will need PR approval whenformulating a response.Conversocial allows for quick and easyassignment across team members,with private internal notes to supportknowledge sharing while keeping theSocial Customer Service team at the helmof customer engagement. An approvalworkflow can help protect againstinappropriate messages going publicbefore agents are ready.How Conversocial HelpsStartAccess themessageEvaluate thepurposeUnhappyCustomer?Are the factscorrect?Are the factscorrect?DedicatedComplainer?ComedianWant-to-be?Do you needto respond?NegativePositiveNo ResponseCan youadd value?NoYesRespond in kindand shareThank thepersonNoNoNoNo NoCan you addressthe issue?NoYesYesYesYesYesYesEscalateExplain what isbeing done tocorrect the issueGently correctthe factsDoes customerneed/deservemore info?Take reasonableaction to resolveissue and letcustomer knowaction taken03
  20. 20. 20Social media provides an early warning systemfor new business issues, from campaignsand product launches to serious reputationalproblems. It’s also the fastest medium forcorporate crises to spread, with a high risk ofbrand damage.For these reasons it’s critical to have a clearlydefined social crisis response plan in place.Ensure your PR team can pick up on potentiallydamaging issues as quickly as possible, workwith management on the official response ifneeded, then collaborate effectively with yourfrontline social agents on getting that messageto customers.Your social care team can provide a greatercommunication reach over platforms such asFacebook and Twitter than the PR team canachieve via traditional media. Social has provento be a very effective channel to distributean official reaction to issues affecting yourcustomers.Crisis response plan 0401Create a holding message as quickly aspossible when a potential social crisisemerges - consumers look for a veryquick reaction to issues over social media.Tips for effective crisis protection02When a social media issue escalates,draft responses to different types ofcustomer message for the customer careteam, to show responsiveness and avoidappearing evasive.03Establish clear criteria for when amessage has to be escalated to PRteam (based on content and number ofcomments/likes/shares).04Create a schedule outlining who exactlywill be responsible for dealing with theseescalated messages at any given time,so that nothing can be dropped throughthe cracks.Conversocial is designed to keep you upto date, in real-time, of changes in yoursocial communication. A managementdashboard informing you to the minuteof any changes in volume and possibleproblems associated with a spike, ensuresthat the entire business can collaborate incoordinating a timely response.How Conversocial Helps03
  21. 21. 21Setting up a Social Customer Service teampresents new requirements that probably aren’tquite met by your existing teams. These agentsneed to have strong customer service skillscombined with competency in a public facingrole. On social, your agents are your brandambassadors.In a recent report addressing resource planningfor customer service organizations, Gartnerrecommended that “Consumer-facing customerservice organizations are advised to segmentthe agent pool into a separate social mediateam, and to share the learning that comes fromthe smaller teams.” *Based on experience working withmajor enterprises to set up their SocialCustomer Service operations we echo thatrecommendation. Forming a specialized SocialCustomer Service team within your existingcustomer service organization maximizesimpact. These teams have specific skillsets
thatcan be provided to HR in the hunt for theperfect recruit.Strong written communication skillsWhat to look for:Training Your Team on Social Customer Service ProcessWho to hire?Good customer service case historyMotivated by improving customerrelationsGood judgmentUse of social channels in personalcommunication or an interest in learningHiring new dedicated Social CustomerService representativesYou can look for the skills you need and forexperience in social.+You can look for a history in customerservice and ensure they’re customer-engagement focused.+They still need training in your existingsystems.-They may be hard to come by!-Recruiting from your existing customerservice teamThey’re fully accustomed to your callcenter knowledge base and customerservice processes.+They need training in public communication,brand guidelines and social tone.-Training your social team in customerserviceThey’re already competent and confidentin conversing with customers socially.+They aren’t trained in your existing customerservice processes and knowledge bases.-They aren’t trained in customer service andmay not have the skills required to deal withcustomers in this way.-As you scale, this may prove to be a muchmore expensive staffing option.-* “The Social CRM Resource Planning Guide for Customer Service Organizations” August 201203
  22. 22. 22Before your agents start posting and tweeting live on your branded accounts,it’s important to deliver training and set up the right security processes.Turning Social Customer Service hires intoa Social Customer Service workforceTraining:Confidence-buildingThe move from customer servicerepresentative to brand ambassador is asignificant psychological shift. Rather thanfocusing on how prepared you are to handover control, you should instill your agentswith the conviction to engage on behalf of theiremployer.Brand understandingCustomer Service, along with many otherdepartments, is often only privy to brandmessages in the lightest of ways – HR’s brandvalues won’t cut it for these roles. You needto share the brand impression you’re trying tocreate externally.Work on real customer issuesHandling real customer comments and tweetsis the best way for your agents to becomefamiliarized with what they’ll be managing ona daily basis, and understand how to reactpublicly.Resources to handle diverse issuesIf you’re starting off small, you likely won’thave a completely segmented social divisionbased on specialization. Your team shouldat least know how to find information forthe lion’s share of customer inquiries, eitherthrough a knowledge base or via efficientinternal communication.Establish how you’re going totrack developmentAn approval process can be the best way toget agents handling real issues, while givingthe freedom to ‘practice’ without risk. Trackingapproval rates and reasons for rejection canhelp you identify how your agents can improveto manage social communication autonomously.How Hertz does it:At Hertz, we began with a selection ofinternationally based customer servicerepresentatives from the very start of ourprogram. We wanted to let our customers aroundthe world know that social media was a reliablecustomer service channel. In communicationsand marketing, we trained customer serviceagents on handling customer communicationpublicly through WebEx sessions and live trainingsessions using real customer issues in order toacclimate agents to these new channels beforegoing live.We have gradually shifted front-linecommunication from marketing tocustomer service over a period of severalmonths to ensure the transition into the contactcenter would be seamless and would notharm our brand’s reputation or our customerrelationships. By developing good workingrelationships with Customer Service, we knowwe’ve got a sustainable model to offer customersthe best possible experience.- Lemore Hecht, Communications and Social MediaManager, Hertz““03
  23. 23. 23When you’ve determined how you want your Social Engagement Hub to work, with repeatable SocialCustomer Service processes, a good way to keep consistency across your teams is to formalizethese guidelines into a playbook.Your playbook should form a go-to resource for your agents, both trained and newly hired. Gartneralso recommends “Use the marketing department’s experience with social media to more rapidly gaincompetency, learn best practices and obtain access to their technology”* Bringing in the marketingdepartment to communicate branding guidelines in an evergreen resource is the best way to transfersocial engagement to customer care.Why are you using social media and whatare the company goals?To respond to customers within a certaintime? To make sure responses are completelyaccurate? It’s important to give youragents a strong focus when handling socialcommunication. They need to be trusted withmore flexibility to manage an ever-changingchannel with limited time to act, but thatdoesn’t mean you can’t provide guidance. Keymotivators and priorities will help empoweryour team to make the best judgment whiledelivering fast service to your customers.Checklist:Creating a Social Customer Service playbook:Introduction to social platformsIf you’re bringing in agents from the contactcenter, although social media skills aredesirable, it’s best to include the details ofhow the different platforms you’re usingwork, and how conversations can be seenpublicly in different scenarios for those whoare less familiar.Tone of voiceDescriptions of the brand personalityyou’d like agents to convey through theirengagement with customers can form agood guiding principle.Do’s and Don’ts for engagementBeing explicit with examples of whatresponses would and would not be a brandfit is a good way to demonstrate brand andtone guidelines and avoid misinterpretation.Example responsesProviding example responses to commoncustomer issues can help your team tounderstand how to craft their own. It’simportant that agents use these as a guide inconjunction with tone guidelines, rather thantemplates to be copied directly.A list of resources to find supportinformationEvergreen content and peer-to-peercommunity is invaluable when it comes toscaling your social customer care team’sefforts. Your agents’ go-to resources couldinclude anything from knowledge-base articlesand how-to videos to solutions posted to abranded community. Linking to this existingcontent can help your team to shortenresponse times and remain relevant.Processes agents should be followingDocument your response, escalation and crisisprocesses as tackled already in this guideso that they are accessible by every agent.Explain clearly the steps for processing acustomer message, including how to respond,what data to record such as sentiment andcategories, and when to archive away.Contact details for everyone relevantMake sure that your playbook has a completedirectory of everyone to address for differentcustomer needs or social situations.* “The Social CRM Resource Planning Guide for Customer Service Organizations” August 201203
  24. 24. 24How are you going to project your brand imagethrough many voices?If you have more than one person responding toqueries decide whether you want a unified tone ofvoice. i.e are you happy for each agent to have theirown identity or do you want the customer journey toalways be the same?Have you thought about...?Best practice planning from Rebecca Doyle,Assistant CRM Manager, ODEON CinemasThink about how you’d react todifferent phrasing. Try not to use the same stock response foranswering queries. Have a guideline to the rightanswer but know when being a robot will exacerbatethe situation.For examples, the difference between “Thank youfor getting in touch, could you please contact ourcustomer services team onxxxx” and “Hi xxx,Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. OurCustomer Services team will be able to help youfurther, would you mind giving them a call on xxxxx”can be a real game-changer.Are you managing your customers’expectations?Make sure customers know you always care, even ifyou can’t always be listening. Not everyone can bethere 24/7 to answer customers’ queries. If you’renot around at the weekend, or late into the evening,perhaps write a post and pin it to the top of yourFacebook timeline with an alternative means tocontact you.Know when to be proactive and reactive. If your company is making a difficult change suchas a price increase, which you know will get a lotof attention via social media, consider the best wayto react. Will it be better to let everyone know andcontain the anger on to one post, where you ownthe conversation? Or is it better to be reactive andwait for people to simmer down? Sometimes, youractions can add fuel to the fire. Be structured. When a crisis does erupt you don’t have much timeto react, and holes in your system will really slowyou down while your team flounders. Get a clearteam structure in place to ensure that someonecan take control of coordinating a reaction, andmake sure that if someone in your escalation chainis unavailable you’ve marked out someone else toturn to. Have a selection of PR-approved messagesready for agents that go above and beyond theirnormal responses. Think of every possible scenario with your crisisescalation procedure. It’s important that this is watertight. What happensif something goes viral over a period where no-one’sworking e.g. evenings and weekends? There’s nopoint in creating plans and documentation thatquickly become useless when you’re not thereto execute.Have you actually defined what a crisis is?Does your CEO spotting a negative comment with afew likes constitute a crisis, or is it when a post hasover 200 likes in a 2 hour period? Agents can’t beginto follow your crisis procedure if they aren’t surequite when to jump into crisis mode. There are manydifferent criteria for what’s important on social media,but using codes can help you execute a consistentpolicy. At ODEON we use colours to define differentlevels, e.g green = normal and  red = PR crisisStaying in control of social crises:03
  25. 25. 25The goal of proactive customer service is toengage with customers at their point of need,before they come to you. This means lookingfor customers who are sharing their problems,questions and feedback publicly withoutmentioning you directly, and sharing informationon service issues through social updates beforecustomers need to ask you for it.Proactive Social Customer ServiceWhat is it?Why go the extra mile?We researched consumers’ behavior on Twitterand their attachment to the ‘@’ is far from close.Only 3% of tweets referencing America’s largestretailers carry the @symbol. Over 1/3 of all theseindirect tweets were customer service related,with 8% of those expressing dissatisfaction.With the volume of Twitter conversations growingevery day, this 8% becomes a significant numberof publicly unhappy customers. A purely reactivesocial customer engagement strategy misses ahuge opportunity to create positive experiencesand prevent issues from escalating.Forrester’s Top 15 trends for 2013, foundthat “Customers Expect Proactive OutboundCommunication”. But according to the latestForrsights Networks and TelecommunicationsSurvey, only 29% of enterprises are currentlyinvesting in proactive outbound communications.While this trend takes hold, companies have agreat opportunity to surprise and delight.inactivereactiveproactive03
  26. 26. 26Looking for business opportunities on a noisy platform like Twitter isn’t as straightforward as ‘who’stalking about me?’ Around 60% could be noise that’s unlikely to need any kind of response oraction, and different opportunities need to be handled in specific ways. Here are some examples ofconversations your Social Customer Service team should be looking to engage in.How can you do it?BrandGauge the public mood and reach out to be partof the dialogue surrounding your name.ProductFind out what customers are saying aboutspecific products, feed them the informationthey need or ask for elaboration, and gaininsight for future developments.ServiceTake the opportunity to compensate forcustomer dissatisfaction with great serviceonline, and learn where there’s room forimprovement in the customer experience.IndustryWatch all events and issues that affect yourindustry. Being the first to step in with anappropriate comment can give you a majorcompetitive advantage.ExecutiveWhat’s being said about your senior executivesis key to brand reputation on social. It’simportant to be ready for the right response to adeveloping issue.CompetitorsConversational DynamicsLooking for appropriate engagementopportunities in conversations about you andyour competitors can add real sales value.Finding and assisting customers withoutthem referencing your brand or products isas proactive as it gets. These customers maybe in need of information, and if approachedsensitively you have the chance to be first intheir minds.Go Daddy strives to give customers apositive experience of the brand, no matterhow unhappy they might be. This involvessetting up complex queries and workgroups totarget different conversations most effectively,from technical issues to product issues tocustomer love.What the experts say:Any time you can exceed a customer’sexpectation in terms of service, you have createdan opportunity. In fact, you likely now have a muchstronger customer relationship than you wouldhave had if the problem had never existed in thefirst place. Most things break. If you’re proactive insetting a positive precedent, your customer nowknows what to expect when they do.- Craig M. Jamieson, Social Business Trainer andConsultant, Adaptive Business Services““How Go Daddy does it:Broken expectations yield strong reactions.And that applies to pleasant surprises, not justnegative ones. We believe that reaching out andoffering help to customers who don’t ask for it isthe truest form of service and an effective way tocreate advocates online.- Alon Waisman, Social Media Operations Manager,Go Daddy““03
  27. 27. Level Three: Measure, Refine and ScaleSection04
  28. 28. 28Level Three: Measure, Refine and ScaleOne of Forrester’s Top 15 trends for 2013, is that‘Customer Service is moving from cost center todifferentiator’. “Customer service organizationsare typically managed as a cost center.Key success metrics focus on productivity,efficiency, and regulatory compliance insteadof customer satisfaction. However, we areseeing that customer service organizationsare gradually adopting a balanced scorecardof metrics that include not only cost andcompliance, but also customer satisfaction, andwhich are more suited to drive the right agentbehavior and deliver better outcomes.”Gartner recently shared advice on the bestapproach to customer service measurement inThe Social CRM Resource Planning
Guide:Businesses need to try more innovativeapproaches to measurements that are lessfocused on traditional efficiency metrics, andmore tied to concepts such as Net Promoterscores, lifetime customer value, changes incustomer defection and churn rates among thedemographic using social media, and brandsentiment.*The customer service industry has long beenfocused on delivering service at the lowestpossible expenditure: its role in the company isoften seen as a necessary evil.Beyond the trailblazers who are revolutionizingthe position of customer service (such asZappos) the challenges of delivering customerservice through traditional channels havemeant that for most businesses, the customerexperience has been sacrificed to save costs.Talk time (or lack of) has been prioritized abovecustomer satisfaction. A 2011 study showsprogress in this direction, with the majority ofcall centers starting to get a balance betweenefficiency and experience, but there’s further togo.What the experts say:Too many contact centers are trying to forcefit social customer service into the mold of atraditional call center. Traditional metrics suchas handle times, first contact resolution andtime to close simply do not fit the proper way toenable social customer service. This ‘round pegsquare hole’ approach is the likely reason thatmarketing is not quite ready to give up control (ifthere is such a thing as control). It’s time to bring acoordinated and collaborative approach to SocialCustomer Service. As much as we would like tofight the core service metrics, we need some ofthem. As much as we do not want to build moreprocess and worry about efficiency, it is not allbad. The whole enterprise is in this together. Onlywhen this is realized will real progress be made.- Mitch Lieberman, Customer Experience Architect andStrategist, Managing Partner, DRI““Somewhat successful42.7%Somewhat un-successful11.1%Not successful at all1.1%We don’t have a way tomeasure success5.8%Extremely successful8.8%Successful29.9%How successful has/have your center(s) been atachieving the balance between call centerefficiency and customer experience?* “The Social CRM Resource Planning Guide for Customer Service Organizations” August 201204
  29. 29. 29Quality Measures – what are you doingfor your customers?Fast responses are important on social media.It’s important to reduce the exposure ofunanswered customer issues, but customersalso expect a much quicker reaction. Trackwhether agents are acknowledging customersissues within your agreed Service Levels, whichshould be faster than channels such as emailand phone.ResponsivenessTo understand whether your program is delivering, Social Customer Servicemetrics should look at what’s achieved for the customer.How many customers are you touchingproactively? Growing the numbers of messagessent proactively to customers mentioningyour brand is a good measurement for howeffectively you’re building awareness of yourSocial Customer Service team, and creatingpositive experiences.Customers reached proactivelyKeep redirect rates to a minimum. Track whenan issue has been taken to another channelrather than to private message and make surethis happens only when absolutely necessary.Tracking public resolutions as a target meansmeeting customer expectations and developinga permanent resource of content for customerslooking for answers.Real resolutionCustomer sentiment is important to trackfor a number of reasons, but measuring howfrequently your agents convert a conversationfrom a negative interaction to a positive onecan show how effectively your team is aidingcustomer satisfaction.If you’re not always meeting Service Levels,can you spot a bottleneck? Even if you don’tgo 24/7 with service, it may be that extendingbusiness hours into an evening shift could helptackle nighttime backlogs for your agents inthe morning, improving responsiveness andcustomer satisfaction.Customer satisfactionTrack these quality measures against eachagent to understand where training isneeded.If you’re using an approval workflow, reviewreasons for rejection. Is it spelling andgrammar? Is it tone of voice?How are your agents performing?••How could you deliver even better service?04
  30. 30. 30When looking at organic social conversations,the sentiment of customers’ messages is agood way to understand changes in customersatisfaction. Customers that are happy with thelevel of service provided, and have had positiveengagements with your brand, are likely tospend significantly more.Customer LoyaltyEffectiveness Measures – what’s the impact?Tracking sentiment across all public messagesis a great way to understand the imageprojected of your brand. How many customersare promoting you on social?Opinions shared on social networks are netpromoter in action, and negate the importanceof inorganic surveys. Recording the sentimentof every customer message is the only wayto measure this consistently and effectively.Provide your team with clear guidelines on howto categorize and track this.E.g. “If a friend saw this comment, would itimprove, worsen, or not affect their perception ofthe company?”Social NPSSalesLeading UK telecoms provider BT demonstrateshow a fully connected Social Customer Serviceteam can provide real business value, byfacilitating an easy sales channel for companyand customer. In delivering positive socialengagement when faced with service issues,and empowering the same agents to handlesales enquiries across channels, BT leveragessocial communication to convert customerservice efforts into real revenue.How many cases are converted into sales?Logging interactions across CRM systemsand tracking links shared by agents can give youinsight into the conversion rate from service tosales.How B.T. does it:Aggregating the follower numbers of thecustomers you’re engaging with can give anindication of the potential audience of both yourcustomers’ complaints and their positive follow-up messages, if they issue a public thank you.Reach04
  31. 31. 31These channels offer readily available data on what your customers truly like and dislike about yourcompany, offering you the chance to engage and make a difference.Customer insightWhat types of message are retailers receiving on Facebook and Twitter?Social media is becoming a barometer for what your customers are thinking.04
  32. 32. 32Making Changes from the Social BarometerHow others do itEnsuring each customer receives a positiverestaurant experience is one of the opportunitiesfor McDonald’s customer engagement in social.The team has a large volume of conversationsurrounding the McDonalds brand on Twitter,but proactively seeks feedback with a new@Reachout_McD twitter handle, which hashad a great reception from customers. Thisengagement is rolled up into insight at themacro level, to identify opportunities: how fast,accurate, and friendly is the service?Social feedback forms a part of the completeinsight process including combining traditionalfeedback and is harnessed to execute changesat the restaurant level.The real-time information available at your fingertips is a game-changer when it comes to improvingthe customer experience. Don’t just tell customers you’ve listened. Tell them you’ve listened andchanged something.McDonaldsInstead of constant fire-fighting, why not listen and fix the problem (or opportunity) at source. Buildfirewalls instead of fighting fires- Laurence Buchanan, Head of Digital Transformation and CRM propositions within Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Customer Centreof ExcellenceConversocial allows you to tag andcategorize your incoming social messagesto make the process of organizing andanalyzing customer feedback easy andefficient. Conversocial’s analytics make itpossible to track trends over time, and tofacilitate internal sharing of information.You can print and send reports tomanagement, or export data to othersystems for analysis.How Conversocial HelpsNokia CareOur Social Care presence is a key enabler of themission of Care to support our customers in thechannels that they are engaged in and seekingsolutions. It facilitates the continual enhancementof our products by providing real time visibility toemergent Care issues and organizationally it hashelped to bring down the barriers between thesocial consumer and key internal stakeholders.With our Product Quality experts being directlyengaged, we have been able to reduce the turn-around-time for issue identification by weeks,thereby improving Care responsiveness andcustomer satisfaction.- Sean Valderas, Care Social Media Manager for Nokia’sAmerica region““““For this leading UK train provider, Twitter offersa chance to change all the small things abouttheir service, to make a real difference to theexperience of as many individuals as possible.The vast majority of constructive feedbackraised on Twitter is passed back to managementteams, and if a positive change can be madeas a result of that, it will happen. If a customeron a First Great Western Train tweets thatsomething is broken, this will be fed in real-timeto an engineer, who will make sure it’s lookedat as part of the maintenance schedule. Twitterenables a completely new kind of service.First Great Western04
  33. 33. 33How do I show ROI?According to Gallup, customers who are fullyengaged represent an average 23% premium interms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue,and relationship growth over the averagecustomer. Yet, on average, only 20% ofcustomers are fully engaged.*As Social Customer Service becomes established and operations start toscale, justifying the business value and return on investment in staff, toolsand training becomes more and more important.Here, we address 4 key areas of thebusiness case for Social Customer Service:*Blue Wolf, The Essential Guide to Customer ObsessionProtected revenue andcustomer retention 01The most significant justification for pursuinghigh-quality Social Customer Service is thevalue this brings to customer relationships.Customers who engage over social have anexpectation for a certain level of service, andevery time you fail to meet this, their continuedrevenue stream is at risk.Unique Customers HelpedAnnual Customer ValueExposed Revenue Protectedx=Supporting customer retention, through thecustomers you serve and the others who seeit, is the most compelling reason to pursue anefficient Social Customer Service program.Cost Savings:call deflection and productivity 02Encouraging your customers to choose socialmedia as a preferred channel can reduce thecost to serve. Our experience, together with thatof Independent analysts suggest that agents canmanage 4-8 times as many contacts over socialchannels as over the phone. This provides realvalue, before you consider the potential forpublic service to reduce the creation of newissues – with resolutions and answers availablefor all customers to see.Sales & Marketing effectiveness03Many businesses plough huge marketingbudgets into social campaigns, but fail toacknowledge the value good service andengagement brings to those investments,and the damage that negative commentscan do to marketing updates. Our customershave increased engagement by over 30%since developing good social customer carepractices, offering high quality interactions thatsupport positive word of mouth, and ultimatelysales. And new, hybrid Social Customer Serviceagents aren’t just handling post-sales, they’recreating new ones.Lean Savings04Social Customer Service serves as an instantbarometer for customer opinion, and a windowinto the issues affecting your business.Identifying bottlenecks, disruptions, faultsand other problems as they develop providesactionable insight into how to tighten up yoursupply chain, and stop wasting revenue.04
  34. 34. 34Leading UK Telecoms company, B.T, hasachieved significant results from effectiveSocial Customer Service. Their surveys foundthat over 50% of customers find it easy to gethelp using social media, with the majority alsonow preferring these platforms to traditionalchannels. This is generating significantsavings, with 54,000 calls being deflectedvia social media every month, and is allowingfor effective crisis communication, with over300,000 customers reached via Twitter duringthe London riots. Most significantly, because ofthe service they’ve had over social media, 90%of customers plan on staying as customers,and 50% say they would recommend BT tofriends. BT leads the way in sharing the valueof proactive customer service, convertingcomplaints into not just neutralized customers,but advocates and upgrades.How B.T. does it:What the experts say:The real question in my mind is not whether ROI is measurable or valid (it is), it’s whether ROI is theonly metric worth evaluating? Don Peppers and Martha Rogers take strategic thinking about customer-investments one step further with their comprehensive work on Return on Customer (ROC)Return on investment quantifies how well a firm creates value from a given investment. But whatquantifies how well a company creates value from its customers? For this you need the metric of Returnon Customer (ROC). The ROC equation has the same form as an ROI equation. ROC equals a firm’scurrent-period cash flow from its customers plus any changes in the underlying customer equity, dividedby the total customer equity at the beginning of the period.”What I like most about ROC is that it treats customers as an asset (the sum of all customer lifetimevalue)… A decision to invest in social CRM needs to be aligned to an organisation’s corporate objectivesand needs to consider both short and long terms value drivers.- Laurence Buchanan, Head of Digital Transformation and CRM propositions within Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Customer Centreof Excellence““04
  35. 35. 35Afterthought: The futureof Social Customer ServiceThe Social Engagement Hub is about the deep integration of Social CustomerService with the rest of your business. Customer Service Directors need to viewtheir Social Customer Care teams not as an off-shoot, but as a fundamental partof how they deliver a good customer experience. To achieve this, it’s importantthat they seek to integrate Social Customer Service solutions with the rest of theirsystems to ensure they have a real, single view of the customer across differentchannels. And with Social Customer Service fast forming the cornerstone of allsocial engagement, it’s essential that the vast knowledge being generated inreal time is not siloed, but is fed directly into the rest of the business - seniormanagement, R&D, Marketing and Communications. Without the right resources, commitment and leadership in place, this cross-departmental undertaking will fail - risking your customer relationships andleaving your brand open to a serious crisis. But if done correctly, you will increaseyour customer value and customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and improve yourbusiness processes. You now have an opportunity to engage positively with yourcustomers on a larger scale than ever before. Are you seizing it?In this guide, we’ve outlined a model for how you cansupport your entire organization, and your customerexperience, through Social Customer Service. But todaythis is only being practiced by the most innovative ofbusinesses. The future of Social Customer Service is inits recognition as a business-critical function, and a newunderstanding of customer engagement.- Joshua March, CEO Conversocial““
  36. 36. 36To carry on the conversation with us on best practice SocialCustomer Service, tweet us @conversocial, or join the discussionon our blog at you’d like to find out more about how Conversocial can helpyou develop an effective social customer service program, getin touch with us at
  37. 37. Powering Social Customer