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Meet Customers Where They Are:
Incorporating Social Media Into Your Customer Service Strategy
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Conclusion
3-5
6-9
10-12
13-15
16-20
21-24
The Future of Customer Service
Making the Case for Customer Service Through Social Media
Listen First: Why Smart Listening is the Key to Smart Engagement
Engage Your Community Through Contextual Communication
8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service
Wrapping Up and Getting Started
Table of Contents
3
The Future of Customer Service
Introduction
- Marcel LeBrun
SVP, Product, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
In 1955, if you walked into the local butcher shop in a small town, the butcher knew your name, what cut of meat you liked, and what you bought the last few times you were
there. The butcher had a feel for who you were and could therefore recommend you try pork belly or gladly answer your question about how to season a rib eye. The shopping
experience was personal, more of a congenial conversation than a transaction.
Two decades or so later, spending in the customer service and support industry had skyrocketed as companies scaled up their customer service operations. However, the shift
from personalization to efficiency was also a major factor in the skyrocketing cost. Corporations were not like local butchers. The physical distance between headquarters and the
customer gave rise to an expensive compromise: the efficient, but impersonal, call center. The call center soon became the cost center, and the focus shifted from understanding
the customer to understanding the average cost per customer interaction.
And now, in just the last few years, customer service has begun its most profound transformation yet. In many ways, a shift back to the golden age is at hand. What, for half
a century, has been the preferred channel to reach companies has become a jumbled mess of touch-tone navigation and poorly trained, outsourced agents. It’s no wonder
customers have swiftly turned their backs in favor of a more immediate and satisfactory resolution: social media channels.
You call my 800 number, you wait in
my queue, you press 1, and your call is
important to me, but not quite as important
as the efficient utilization of my agents,
otherwise you wouldn’t be waiting on
hold. But now, the customer isn’t [waiting].
They’re going to complain where they are,
and we have to find them.
4
The Future of Customer Service
Introduction
- David Alston
Chief Adoption Officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Satisfying Today’s Customer
Customers are bypassing the letter, the fax, the telephone, the contact form, and even
email in favor of Twitter and Facebook because it’s faster (and because they can).
When customers don’t feel like they’re being heard one of two things will happen: they’ll
go to a competitor, or they’ll find a bigger, more public megaphone to get your attention.
A polite tweet might evolve into an elaborate blog post about why no one should ever do
business with you again.
The volume, speed, and public nature of social media conversations are driving the
inevitable convergence of customer service and marketing. When your customer
complaints are publicly visible in your social marketing channels, as are your responses,
every service interaction becomes another data point in the overall perception of your
brand. Every response is not only an opportunity to invest in a customer relationship on a
real human-to-human basis through sharing valued knowledge, resources, and assistance,
but a chance to tell the world that you care about your customers. The payoff? When
customers need additional products or services they immediately think of you first. Your
organizational responsiveness will have demonstrated your company values, culture, and
charm without having to advertise any of it to prospective customers.
Social media has made customer service the new marketing. Responsiveness is half of
the marketing equation and personalization the other. It is now possible for companies
to re-create that local butcher shop experience with all of the attendant personalization,
but with a type of responsiveness that is native to social media. It is now possible—
since no time like the 1950s—to deeply understand your customers’ wants and needs,
to meet them where they are, and to incorporate social media listening, response, and
engagement into your contact center methodologies.
As businesses, we have to
figure out how we line up
for our customers instead
of them lining up for us.
- Marcel LeBrun
SVP, Product, Salesforce Marketing
Cloud
But some things haven’t changed.
Today’s customers still appreciate others
going above and beyond to help them
with their questions or concerns. They still
relate to other human beings more than
logos and machines. They want to be
heard and they want to be appreciated.
5
The Future of Customer Service
Introduction
Ready to dive in? In the following chapters, you’ll learn
HOW
TO:
make the case for social customer service;
meet customers where they are online using social
media listening;
foster two-way dialogue with customers through
social media engagement; and
truly transform your company’s customer service
processes and methods.
6
Chapter 1
Making the Case for Customer
Service Through Social Media
The Trends Driving the Imperative Shift
An Increase in Customer Touch-Points
Meeting customers where they are is proactive; it involves putting the customer at the
center of everything you do. However, more often than not, not all parts of the company
are aligned to be customer-centric.
Your entire company’s mindset has to shift away from focusing on how quickly you handle
service issues. View each customer interaction as a bank deposit into (or withdrawal out
of) your most important investments: customer satisfaction, loyalty, and your overall future.
It can seem like an uphill battle, but these trends may help you convince your colleagues
that it’s the right thing to do.
Even though your company has an email address and a telephone number, social media
gives customers a way to be heard now—regardless of whether you’re on the receiving
end. They no longer have to wait on hold to say something. Customers can express their
satisfaction or dissatisfaction however they want.
Successful social brands run with the bulls; they understand that their brand is the sum
of online conversation about them and that positive buzz is earned over time. They
understand they can’t herd every opinion shared online, and that welcoming a balance of
commentary—including the negative—can actually prevent them from getting trampled.
- David Alston
Chief Adoption Officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
The single thing holding most companies back
from providing social customer service is the
inability to see customer service as an asset
instead of a cost.
7
Chapter 1
Making the Case for Customer
Service Through Social Media
The Speed of Communication
Hyper-Responsive, Hyper-Personalized Customer Expectations
The Explosion of User-Generated Content
The speed of communication has quickened to a breakneck pace, and customers expect
questions and comments to be answered and acknowledged quickly. Spending five to ten
minutes waiting in a call center queue takes customers away from what they’d rather be
doing and fosters a level of frustration that might prevent them from calling back. Or, in a
worst-case scenario, they might jump ship to a more customer-friendly brand.
When a customer calls the contact center, they provide agents with their basic account
information so they know who’s calling and can move forward with solving their issue.
When customers ask you a question on Twitter or post a comment on your Facebook wall,
their name and basic information is there—available for your brand to use to identify who
they are (to you). Today’s customer wants to be treated as an individual, and expects you
to utilize the information at hand to understand who they are so they don’t have to tell you
each time.
People now experience brands in a networked way, as opposed to on an individual basis only. In the past, companies were able to control mass messaging, and while they
couldn’t guarantee how people talked about their brands and products with one another, there were never the opportunities to spread opinions on a mass scale like there are now.
As individuals, customers have capitalized on the ability they now have to publish content of their own, and use those publishing channels to share opinions about everything,
including how your brand or product made their lives easier and better, and how your company has treated them along the way. The previously one-way broadcast has become a
two-way dialogue that’s guided by both the company and the customer.
- Tony Kavanagh
VP, Marketing, Salesforce Service Cloud
If I write a company a letter, I expect it take a
couple days to get there, and I expect it to take
a couple more days to get a response. If I call
and I ask a question, I expect an answer. I don’t
expect silence on the line. If I set up a web
chat, I also have different expectations. Different
channels have built in different expectations
from users in terms of speed of response.
Social media in general moves quickly, so things
spin out of control very, very fast. If you’re not
looking, you can have a rebellion on your hands
within a matter of hours or less.
8
Chapter 1
Making the Case for Customer
Service Through Social Media
The Cost-to-Value Opportunity
The Web is a Candid Camera
Increasing Mobile and Social Usage
Because the common customer service model has become heavily automated, people
have, in turn, become more self-sufficient when it comes to seeking out answers to
product inquiries or support issues. Forums and message boards have made it possible
for groups to aggregate their experiences with a particular product or brand in one place
for safe keeping, and people have begun to rely on those gold mines of information
instead of reaching out to a company directly.
When brands enable customers to self-serve in this fashion—and on a forum that they
own—customers are happy because they have easy access to a wealth of community
knowledge, and you’re happy because you’ve kept costs down and have a satisfied
customer. Everybody wins.
Our online behaviors are now an integral piece of your larger customer picture, because
much of what we do and say on the Internet can be tracked back to our likes, dislikes,
and spending habits. Unlike the anonymous opinions that come from a market research
survey or focus group, online commentary is ongoing and unprompted, and it offers a
much richer picture of who we are, what we’re interested in, and how we want to be
communicated with.
Of Facebook’s 955 million monthly active users, 543 million are active on mobile
—a 67% year-over-year growth. And, on average, users spend six and a half hours
on Facebook via their desktop each month. If a customer is already on Facebook or Twitter,
don’t you think they’d rather just hop over to your Facebook or Twitter page to ask a question
or voice a complaint rather than opening their email client, Googling your contact email, and
typing an email?
Social media apps on mobile phones have made this even easier to do on the go, at the
moment an issue arises.
543M MONTHLY ACTIVE
USERS ON MOBILE
9
Chapter 1
Making the Case for Customer
Service Through Social Media
Social Spotlight: Air Canada Dives Headfirst into Social Customer Service
The one thing companies can do right now to get started with social customer service is to commit to it.
It All Starts with Making the Commitment
- David Alston
Chief Adoption Officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
- Mathieu Lagacé
Community Manager, Air Canada
Start small. Commit to doing it even on a
small scale with a small team of passionate
and somewhat social-savvy people for a
single product line. Pick a single path with the
highest probability of success and a forgiving,
passionate customer base. Get started,
learn as you go, and then once you gain
some momentum, start rolling it out to other
product lines.
A few years ago, customers could only reach our customer relations department via mail or fax. Email then made its
entrance, and has now mostly eclipsed correspondence received via these more traditional mediums. Then, faced with
the complete closure of London’s Heathrow airport at the peak of the holiday travel season in December 2010, our social
media channels became an integral part of our communication strategy, allowing us to reach out to travelers thousands of
kilometers away who needed assistance. From that moment on, there was no turning back. The use of social media has
since enabled our customer service team to extend our online availability to 24/7, and to reach out to new international
markets. Moving forward, the use of social customer service will continue to play a major role in building loyalty towards
our brand. Our customers can expect to be able to complete an increasing amount of tasks via our social media
channels. While it’s hard to envisage which social media platforms will dominate the landscape two, three, or five years
down the road, it’s easy for us to imagine that social will play a similarly important role in the way in which we engage with
our customers. Committing ourselves to providing the highest level of customer service online was only the beginning.
10
Chapter 2
Listen First:Why Smart Listening
is the Key to Smart Engagement
The Importance of Listening in a Service Capacity
The Importance of Listening Before Engaging
The importance of listening is perhaps best illustrated by what happens when a company
does not listen: they forego a second chance to make things right with a customer. As
humans, we all seek acknowledgement that our opinions and problems matter. When
a customer takes the time to let you know how you could make things better and it
repeatedly goes ignored, they will go anywhere where they finally feel heard, understood,
and valued.
Companies are overwhelmed by the volume of conversation, and sometimes don’t know where to start. Simply listening the right way provides the compass to the right entry into
online dialogue. Once you’ve explored the nature of the conversations taking place, you can start to prioritize listening and engagement objectives.
Take the time to inform yourself about conversational trends, customer expectations, and all the what-ifs of how your community is likely to react when you start conversing with
them. That way, instead of being stumped during an influx of product inquiries, you’ll be able to confidently and consistently connect with your customers, answer their questions,
and evolve your engagement strategy over time.
The key is to pick a specific type of conversation and start there. For some companies, the first step is to work to correct reputation problems, like negative comments or posts.
For others, it’s just to establish a presence in the communities where their customers are already talking about them, to demonstrate that they’re listening and available. And for
those that don’t yet have buzz about them, the place to start is by contributing to larger conversations—the ones they want to be associated with.
The intelligence you mine through listening becomes the foundation for your engagement strategy, and making the case for getting your entire organization involved—from
customer service to marketing to technical support and sales.
- Larry Robinson
VP, Product Management, Salesforce Service Cloud
As you listen, you’ll find that you see activity
around topics. Drilling into what’s causing the
activity often leads you to the most influential
people driving the conversation. Those are
the people influencing your customers. So
finding customers is usually a process of finding
relevant discussions and then seeing who’s
there on the receiving end paying attention.
11
Chapter 2
Listen First:Why Smart Listening
is the Key to Smart Engagement
What to Listen For
The first thing you want to do is see if there’s conversation about your specific brand
happening online. Hone in on search terms related to:
•	 Brand names
•	 Seasonal campaign names and terms
•	 Names of executives or stakeholders
•	 Names of specific products and services you offer
•	 Nicknames, misspellings, or abbreviations of any of the above
Want to be proactive? Focus on these search terms to understand the larger landscape
that surrounds your business in order to determine where you fit in:
•	 Terms related to verticals you specialize in
•	 Phrases that define the markets you serve
•	 Larger industry keywords or categories
•	 Professional organizations you belong to or that fit your business profile
•	 Names of your industry thought leaders
•	 Keyword phrases that indicate an intent to purchase or learn more
We often learn by observation, so keeping tabs on your competitors can provide you
with invaluable intel about whom they’re hiring, how they’re promoting their products and
services in social media, and what their customers think about them. Knowing this kind of
information, you can tailor your business strategies accordingly. Concentrate competitor
monitoring on:
•	 Names of competitive companies, brands, products and services
•	 Stakeholders in those companies
•	 Buzz around competitive campaigns or promotions
•	 Nicknames and misspellings (and the like) of any of these
Brand Monitoring
Industry Monitoring
Competitor Monitoring
12
Chapter 2
Listen First:Why Smart Listening
is the Key to Smart Engagement
Proactive Listening in Action
As brands listen over time, they start to identify common customer questions, complaints
or requests as well as which actions agents are repeating over and over. That’s when
automating things like CRM case creation, post categorization, post translation, routing,
and even response starts to come in extremely handy, allowing support agents to focus
attention on what matters most.
Let’s take a look at a company that has truly transformed their contact center into a
proactive social listening hub.
Activision, the company known for video games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, uses the Salesforce Service Cloud to aggregate customer cases coming
in through every possible touch point—their mobile app, email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social channels. When an agent doesn’t know the
answer to a user question, he can share the case on Chatter so other Activision employees can help resolve the issue, minimizing the customer’s time away from
game play.
Through social media monitoring, Activision has also discovered that gamers tend to create ‘map hacks’ for Call of Duty, enabling players to see where the enemy
is during a match. Activision has since began automatically flagging social posts containing keywords related to map hacks using the Salesforce Social Hub rules
engine, and a new Service Cloud case is then automatically created and routed immediately so the bugs can be fixed.
Social Spotlight: Activision Automates Service Cases for Video Game Hacks
13
Chapter 3
Engage Your Community Through
Contextual Communication
Respond: Answer the Social Phone
Brands that are truly engaging their customers use social media like a
telephone, not a megaphone. They see that Facebook, Twitter, and other channels should
be used as more than just another platform to broadcast self-promotional messages to
a passive audience. They’re listening, responding, and crafting content that serves their
community’s needs and interests in ways that elicit a reaction or response.
You can engage customers in two ways. Respond to conversations by jumping in, being
helpful, and routing conversations to the right people. Or initiate conversations by offering
interactive experiences, useful content, and stimulating questions.
If there is conversation about your brand, that’s the place to start engaging.
From saying “thank you” for a compliment to calming down an angry customer who’s
thinking of switching brands, the one thing to remember is there is no “right way,” no
universal industry standard for engagement. The right type of engagement for you is
defined by the goals you set forth for your social media program.
- Larry Robinson
VP, Product Management, Salesforce Service Cloud
Marketing has always been about brand reputation, and customer service
was always about helping people. For both, step one was to listen to what
customers were saying, and eventually I think somebody said, ‘Hey, why
don’t we try and help this guy rather than just note that he’s unhappy?’
“What do we say?” is often the hardest question to answer, largely due to the fear that
letting people speak on behalf of your brand could create problems like mixed messages,
the spreading of inaccurate information, or even legal issues.
There are basic comments you can make, though, to reassure people you’re listening
without causing problems for your brand, including:
The Bare Bones of What to Say
14
Chapter 3
Engage Your Community Through
Contextual Communication
When you’re ready to take engagement to a level beyond responding to incoming questions,
compliments, and complaints, try rewarding your advocates, thanking your customers or
fans, or participating in industry discussion boards and forums.
You have customers who are die-hard fans. They couldn’t be more proud of their association
with your brand or products, and they make a point to show it on their blog, Facebook, or
Twitter. Often this rubs off on their peers, and may ultimately influence others’ perceptions.
Why not give these advocates a virtual pat on the back by featuring them on the company
blog or Facebook page?
Everyone likes to know they’re appreciated. Even a small, seemingly insignificant “thank
you” can go a long way. Consider a public gesture to let your customers and social media
followers know you value them, like Burberry did when they created personalized
note cards for Twitter followers in the form of animated GIFs.
Getting involved in the conversation surrounding your industry and the verticals you serve
is essential for establishing your business not only as a thought leader, but also as a helpful
business that truly cares about its community. At the end of the day, you’re providing a service
or product that solves a deep human problem, and sharing your knowledge about how to solve
that problem—without forcing your product or service—will create trust in your customers.
Reward Advocacy
Say Thank You
Participate in Industry Discussion
We’re listening
and we hear you.
Here’s some
information.
Yes or no. And
here’s why.
How
can we help?
Thank you. We’re sorry.
15
Chapter 3
Engage Your Community Through
Contextual Communication
Initiate: Spark Dialogue with Compelling Content
Enable Self-Service: Help Your Customers Help Themselves
Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account is easy. Using social
media channels to foster authentic conversations with existing or potential
customers—without a content plan—is not. Whether a video, blog post, or
status update, content is the engine of the social web: it’s what gives brands
something to talk about with their communities above and beyond customer
complaints, compliments, or questions.
Welcome to content marketing, where the big idea is this: if you produce
and share fantastically useful content, your community will be more likely to
become customers, remain customers, and send you more customers.
After you’ve tackled the process of responding to queries directed at your
brand, consider crafting a content marketing plan to help steer,
increase, or improve the broader conversation.
Customers should be able to self-serve from your site through a knowledge
base, an FAQ section, a “How To” guide, or a troubleshooting wizard. So
that you again become the place they’ll turn to first. To succeed, however, a
great user experience is key. Too many self-service experiences fail because
they’re not 100% focused on the customer—their expectations, their level of
knowledge, their terminology.
The more you invest in a self-service web experience, the less you have to
spend on less efficient, personnel-driven solutions.
Some of the benefits you’ll enjoy
once you create and implement a
content marketing plan include:
•	 A stronger customer
relationship with your brand
once they see you are honestly
trying to help them instead of
just shilling your product
•	 A well-earned reputation as the
thought leader in your industry
•	 Increased traffic to your
website through higher SEO
rankings, inbound links, and
social shares
•	 Educated and empowered
repeat customers who become
brand ambassadors
•	 Fewer customer service
complaints and calls
•	 Opportunities to engage with
prospects seeking to educate
themselves about their buying
decisions
16
Chapter 4
8 Steps to Transformative
Customer Service
1. Define Goals and Align with Business Objectives
The most important part of developing your customer service strategy is determining
how you are going to measure your success. Halfway through the marathon is no time
to wonder how you’ll know if you’ve crossed the finish line. Establish your metrics at the
same time you create your goals.
The move to social customer service is bringing a new set of metrics that deliver a tangible
advantage to today’s forward-thinking businesses:
If you are trying to increase the number of customer service interactions you have by
social media, for example, start by establishing a baseline for what that looks like now. Tie
your metrics to your business goals, otherwise you’ll waste time pursuing numbers that
don’t really matter.
Beforesocialmedia
Aftersocialmedia
Call time
Call volume
Time in queue
Abandonment rate
First call resolution
how quickly did we get the customer off the call?
how can we reduce the number of calls we receive?
how long did a customer have to wait to speak to someone?
how many people weren’t parepared to wait?
how often did we solve the customer’s problem in a single call?
Contact engagement
Searchable self-service
Speed to connect
Defection rate
Net Promoter Score
how much can we empathize with what customers need?
can we give customers a great service even if they never speak to anyone?
how quickly can we react to a customer issue (both those communicated directly
and problems highlighted on third-party sites and forums)?
how many people are leaving us for the competition?
how many customers will recommend, like, or tweet us as a result of our service?
STEP
1
17
Chapter 4
8 Steps to Transformative
Customer Service
A social media strategy is the game plan for your organization’s digital communications.
It outlines how your organization will use channels like email, Facebook, and LinkedIn to
foster the relationships necessary to transform business goals into reality.
A good social media strategy supports the overarching marketing plan by addressing
the following:
2. Develop a Social Media Strategy
STEP
2
Target Audience Personas – Who are you trying to reach? How do they use social media? What do they care about?
Goals and Objectives – What are the social media objectives that will support your organization’s goals?
Strategies – What are the big ideas, changes, or maneuvers that will make this plan work?
Messaging and Content Strategy – What are the messages you want your target audience to understand or believe? What content can you create to educate or entertain
them?
Tactics and Technologies – What specific social networks will your organization be a part of? How and where will you publish digital content? What are the specific apps or
technologies you’ll use to shape the customer experience?
Measurement – What are the specific metrics that you need to keep track of to determine whether your social media efforts are helping you meet objectives? How will you
measure them?
Roles and Responsibilities – Who’s going to write blog posts? Who will monitor social media and respond to customers? Who will develop a social media training program
for employees? Define the needs. Assign the tasks.
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Chapter 4
8 Steps to Transformative
Customer Service
4. Start Building Your Internal Network of Contacts
Issues will arise that your agents may not be able to solve on their own. Forging relationships with key contacts ahead of time prevents your team from getting stuck, twiddling
their thumbs, and trying to figure out what to do amidst a blooming PR crisis.
- Mathieu Lagacé
Community Manager, Air Canada
One reason why we’ve been successful at servicing customers in social media is that our
customer engagement team has access to a very large network of internal contacts. From
customer relations to operations control, we carefully built relationships throughout the
organization in order to tackle a much broader range of issues.
STEP
3
4
3. Start Listening Where Your Customers are Talking
Look first for your mentions of your company and product or service brand names. Then add some extreme keywords on either side of them, such as “fail” or “sucks.” What do
you listen for? There are three types of conversations that can lead you to new or existing customers online:
The keywords you monitor will determine whether you are collecting valuable intelligence or just gathering noise.
Mentions of your brand Mentions of your industry Mentions of your competitors
19
Chapter 4
8 Steps to Transformative
Customer Service
Leaping into social media without a plan may feel more authentic, but you’ll either be overwhelmed
by the volume of conversations, be frozen by situations you hadn’t anticipated, or, worst of all, ignite
a social media controversy with an ill-considered response.
You need an engagement playbook to adequately care for your community and customers.
Your playbook will walk your personnel through the following workflow steps:
The playbook will also outline how to join conversations, setting out which conversations you should
respond to privately or publicly, and which are best to remain ignored, deflected to self-service, or
handled via phone or email. The playbook will also explain what to say (“How can we help?”) and
what not to say (profanity or sensitive information).
A good playbook will allow enough freedom for agents to respond promptly to the different
situations that arise every day, while protecting your public image, ensuring a consistent customer
experience, and ensuring nothing falls between the cracks.
5. Create an Engagement Playbook
STEP
5
1. Listening to the right conversations
2. Flagging and prioritizing conversations
3. Classifying conversations (“product review,” “sales lead,” “industry discussion,” etc.)
4. Tagging the source (“tier 1 customer,” “influencer,” “employee,” “competitor,” etc.)
5. Escalating the conversation if needed
6. Assigning the post to the appropriate handler (“sales,” “tech support,” “training,” etc.)
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Chapter 4
8 Steps to Transformative
Customer Service
6. Train Your Teams on Their Assigned Roles and Responsibilities
8. Measure What Matters
7. Engage and Respond So Existing and Future Customers Know They’ve Been Heard
Does marketing already monitor social media? Will they answer queries and direct questions
to customer support? Or do you want support to handle your social media listening and
route the right conversations to the corresponding department within the company?
The important thing is not where you draw the line between responsibilities. The important
thing is that your people know where the line is, that everyone involved has the proper skills,
and that everyone understands the processes in the engagement playbook you’ve set forth.
That way, you’ll avoid more than one employee answering a customer query or even worse,
ignoring it entirely.
All too often, business metrics themselves work against giving the very best customer service—
the kind people want to like, tweet, and blog about.
When measuring your social customer service efforts, remember to:
With your newly created engagement playbook in place, you’re ready to join the
conversation in a genuine, two-way fashion. Most of the customer service issues that have
blown up on Twitter are the result of companies taking too long to respond. Be timely and
consistent. And remember, you don’t have to solve the customer’s problem right away
in fewer than 140 characters. You simply need to acknowledge their issue and begin the
process of addressing it.
STEP
7
6
8
•	 Tie what you measure to hard business metrics
•	 Don’t ignore the soft benefits
•	 Focus on quality over quantity
•	 Measure what will truly make your business remarkable
21
Conclusion
Wrapping Up and Getting Started
Without the right technologies in place, personalized service is impossible.
Customer service professionals polled on LinkedIn* identified outdated and clunky systems as their primary challenge, so you’ll need to be smart about choosing the right
technology partners to enable the listening, engagement, and response we’ve been talking about.
*A July, 2012 LinkedIn poll conducted by salesforce.com, in which 891 customer service professionals participated, 33% of respondents indicated ‘outdated and clunky systems’ as the biggest challenge facing their company’s customer service
and support teams.
Customers want their problem solved. Period. It doesn’t matter how cheaply a call can be dealt with (or how easily it can be avoided). If it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s more likely
costing you money rather than saving it. That is why choosing the right technology is so crucial.
Choose Your Customer Service Technologies Wisely
- Tony Kavanagh
VP, Marketing, Salesforce Service Cloud
So much of good customer service is context—knowing who your customer is, what products
they’ve purchased, and what your entire history of interactions with them have been—whether
over the phone, via Twitter, or in the comment thread on their industry blog. A customer who
has called or tweeted about the same issue three times within the last three months is a very
different customer than somebody who just bought the product yesterday.
22
Conclusion
Wrapping Up and Getting Started
Which is the most challenging for your customer service & support team(s)?
Tracking dept metrics & return
Outdated and clunky systems
New channels like social media
Meeting customer expectations
Aligning support w/strategy
138
					 294
40
		 156
						 233
15%
					 33%
4%
		 21%
						 26%
Overall demographic
Age Seniority Gender
18-29
30-36
37-44
45+
95
55
54
76
Manager
279 91
23
Conclusion
Wrapping Up and Getting Started
So what technology do you need? The right solution enables service through multiple online and offline touch points while also allowing companies to meet customers’ channel-
specific expectations for response.
No matter what type of system you choose, your reps will need training of the tools and will need to understand how the wealth of social information can and should be used.
Your social media monitoring and engagement platform should allow your team to
not only tune into key conversations about your brand, industry, and competitors,
but also help you identify, prioritize, categorize, and route potential problems before
they escalate. This way you can surprise and delight your customers by responding
to issues in real time as they arise.
Look for a solution that keeps track of more than just the basics. Ideally, you’ll find
a CRM system that provides a complete social profile of a customer, tracks all the
online and offline social interactions your representatives have with customers and
prospects, and offers some additional features that remove some of the manual
elements of customer service.
Large brands have to figure out how to manage volume. You need technology that can
filter out the noise based on rules that you define.
Automating the filtering of social conversations enables companies to scale social
customer service by:
•	 Increasing productivity with automated case and contact creation so that interactions
are instantly tracked and associated with customer records;
•	 Scaling social customer interaction by instantly categorizing and routing posts to the
appropriate team members for a faster resolution; and
•	 Preparing for the future by connecting the social web to CRM technology to establish
social profiles for each of your customers to provide context to the conversation.
The Technologies You’ll Need
Social Media Monitoring and Engagement Platform
CRM
Automation
The solution you choose needs to be able to measure the customer service and
social media goals that drive business results for your company. Take a look at
your objectives to see if your CRM and social media monitoring and engagement
platforms are flexible enough to measure what you need. For example, can you get
a snapshot report of what the customer conversation looks like, but also dig deeper
to gather more elaborate demographic data? Can you easily compare your team’s
online case resolution rate with its offline one?
Even with the most robust training program in place, chances are every agent will get
stumped with a question at one point or another. Reduce the amount of time it takes
to retrieve the right information with an internal social network that enables agents to
share customer information, advice, and ideas in real-time no matter where they are.
In too many instances, employees are ill-equipped to answer customer questions because
there’s no store of information readily available for them to tap into. Provide an internal
knowledge base that houses product and brand information, as well as information on
experts to contact, training materials, and other supporting content. Create a team to
oversee and own the internal community to keep it updated and valuable for employees.
Measurement and Reporting
Internal Social Network
A Knowledge Base
24
Conclusion
Wrapping Up and Getting Started
Back to the Future
Blog
Product Page
Product Page
Twitter
Twitter
Facebook
Facebook
Incorporating social media into your customer service strategy changes your focus. Instead of
answering a ringing phone when there is a problem, now you can focus on solving customer
issues proactively, in a way that customers will become evangelists for your brand, not your
competitor’s.
The 1950s butcher from the introduction could recommend a different cut of meat and a good
recipe. Now, your brand can learn how to please a customer before they have even realized
that they have a problem. Like the butcher, your customer service reps can contextualize and
recommend based on socially acquired knowledge. And then they can respond with immediacy.
This is the advantage that social customer service affords. Social media provides both the context
and the mechanism. This will help you personalize brand interactions, and resolve issues or
answer their questions quickly, sometimes before customers even know that they have them.
Remember, happy customers drive tangible benefits to the bottom line. It all starts with making
the commitment. Start small and ensure you’re implementing scalable processes along the way.
Want help getting started? Get in touch with Salesforce to learn more about how the Service
Cloud, the Marketing Cloud, and the rest of our products can help your company.

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Meet customers where they are

  • 1. Meet Customers Where They Are: Incorporating Social Media Into Your Customer Service Strategy
  • 2. Introduction Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Conclusion 3-5 6-9 10-12 13-15 16-20 21-24 The Future of Customer Service Making the Case for Customer Service Through Social Media Listen First: Why Smart Listening is the Key to Smart Engagement Engage Your Community Through Contextual Communication 8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service Wrapping Up and Getting Started Table of Contents
  • 3. 3 The Future of Customer Service Introduction - Marcel LeBrun SVP, Product, Salesforce Marketing Cloud In 1955, if you walked into the local butcher shop in a small town, the butcher knew your name, what cut of meat you liked, and what you bought the last few times you were there. The butcher had a feel for who you were and could therefore recommend you try pork belly or gladly answer your question about how to season a rib eye. The shopping experience was personal, more of a congenial conversation than a transaction. Two decades or so later, spending in the customer service and support industry had skyrocketed as companies scaled up their customer service operations. However, the shift from personalization to efficiency was also a major factor in the skyrocketing cost. Corporations were not like local butchers. The physical distance between headquarters and the customer gave rise to an expensive compromise: the efficient, but impersonal, call center. The call center soon became the cost center, and the focus shifted from understanding the customer to understanding the average cost per customer interaction. And now, in just the last few years, customer service has begun its most profound transformation yet. In many ways, a shift back to the golden age is at hand. What, for half a century, has been the preferred channel to reach companies has become a jumbled mess of touch-tone navigation and poorly trained, outsourced agents. It’s no wonder customers have swiftly turned their backs in favor of a more immediate and satisfactory resolution: social media channels. You call my 800 number, you wait in my queue, you press 1, and your call is important to me, but not quite as important as the efficient utilization of my agents, otherwise you wouldn’t be waiting on hold. But now, the customer isn’t [waiting]. They’re going to complain where they are, and we have to find them.
  • 4. 4 The Future of Customer Service Introduction - David Alston Chief Adoption Officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Satisfying Today’s Customer Customers are bypassing the letter, the fax, the telephone, the contact form, and even email in favor of Twitter and Facebook because it’s faster (and because they can). When customers don’t feel like they’re being heard one of two things will happen: they’ll go to a competitor, or they’ll find a bigger, more public megaphone to get your attention. A polite tweet might evolve into an elaborate blog post about why no one should ever do business with you again. The volume, speed, and public nature of social media conversations are driving the inevitable convergence of customer service and marketing. When your customer complaints are publicly visible in your social marketing channels, as are your responses, every service interaction becomes another data point in the overall perception of your brand. Every response is not only an opportunity to invest in a customer relationship on a real human-to-human basis through sharing valued knowledge, resources, and assistance, but a chance to tell the world that you care about your customers. The payoff? When customers need additional products or services they immediately think of you first. Your organizational responsiveness will have demonstrated your company values, culture, and charm without having to advertise any of it to prospective customers. Social media has made customer service the new marketing. Responsiveness is half of the marketing equation and personalization the other. It is now possible for companies to re-create that local butcher shop experience with all of the attendant personalization, but with a type of responsiveness that is native to social media. It is now possible— since no time like the 1950s—to deeply understand your customers’ wants and needs, to meet them where they are, and to incorporate social media listening, response, and engagement into your contact center methodologies. As businesses, we have to figure out how we line up for our customers instead of them lining up for us. - Marcel LeBrun SVP, Product, Salesforce Marketing Cloud But some things haven’t changed. Today’s customers still appreciate others going above and beyond to help them with their questions or concerns. They still relate to other human beings more than logos and machines. They want to be heard and they want to be appreciated.
  • 5. 5 The Future of Customer Service Introduction Ready to dive in? In the following chapters, you’ll learn HOW TO: make the case for social customer service; meet customers where they are online using social media listening; foster two-way dialogue with customers through social media engagement; and truly transform your company’s customer service processes and methods.
  • 6. 6 Chapter 1 Making the Case for Customer Service Through Social Media The Trends Driving the Imperative Shift An Increase in Customer Touch-Points Meeting customers where they are is proactive; it involves putting the customer at the center of everything you do. However, more often than not, not all parts of the company are aligned to be customer-centric. Your entire company’s mindset has to shift away from focusing on how quickly you handle service issues. View each customer interaction as a bank deposit into (or withdrawal out of) your most important investments: customer satisfaction, loyalty, and your overall future. It can seem like an uphill battle, but these trends may help you convince your colleagues that it’s the right thing to do. Even though your company has an email address and a telephone number, social media gives customers a way to be heard now—regardless of whether you’re on the receiving end. They no longer have to wait on hold to say something. Customers can express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction however they want. Successful social brands run with the bulls; they understand that their brand is the sum of online conversation about them and that positive buzz is earned over time. They understand they can’t herd every opinion shared online, and that welcoming a balance of commentary—including the negative—can actually prevent them from getting trampled. - David Alston Chief Adoption Officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud The single thing holding most companies back from providing social customer service is the inability to see customer service as an asset instead of a cost.
  • 7. 7 Chapter 1 Making the Case for Customer Service Through Social Media The Speed of Communication Hyper-Responsive, Hyper-Personalized Customer Expectations The Explosion of User-Generated Content The speed of communication has quickened to a breakneck pace, and customers expect questions and comments to be answered and acknowledged quickly. Spending five to ten minutes waiting in a call center queue takes customers away from what they’d rather be doing and fosters a level of frustration that might prevent them from calling back. Or, in a worst-case scenario, they might jump ship to a more customer-friendly brand. When a customer calls the contact center, they provide agents with their basic account information so they know who’s calling and can move forward with solving their issue. When customers ask you a question on Twitter or post a comment on your Facebook wall, their name and basic information is there—available for your brand to use to identify who they are (to you). Today’s customer wants to be treated as an individual, and expects you to utilize the information at hand to understand who they are so they don’t have to tell you each time. People now experience brands in a networked way, as opposed to on an individual basis only. In the past, companies were able to control mass messaging, and while they couldn’t guarantee how people talked about their brands and products with one another, there were never the opportunities to spread opinions on a mass scale like there are now. As individuals, customers have capitalized on the ability they now have to publish content of their own, and use those publishing channels to share opinions about everything, including how your brand or product made their lives easier and better, and how your company has treated them along the way. The previously one-way broadcast has become a two-way dialogue that’s guided by both the company and the customer. - Tony Kavanagh VP, Marketing, Salesforce Service Cloud If I write a company a letter, I expect it take a couple days to get there, and I expect it to take a couple more days to get a response. If I call and I ask a question, I expect an answer. I don’t expect silence on the line. If I set up a web chat, I also have different expectations. Different channels have built in different expectations from users in terms of speed of response. Social media in general moves quickly, so things spin out of control very, very fast. If you’re not looking, you can have a rebellion on your hands within a matter of hours or less.
  • 8. 8 Chapter 1 Making the Case for Customer Service Through Social Media The Cost-to-Value Opportunity The Web is a Candid Camera Increasing Mobile and Social Usage Because the common customer service model has become heavily automated, people have, in turn, become more self-sufficient when it comes to seeking out answers to product inquiries or support issues. Forums and message boards have made it possible for groups to aggregate their experiences with a particular product or brand in one place for safe keeping, and people have begun to rely on those gold mines of information instead of reaching out to a company directly. When brands enable customers to self-serve in this fashion—and on a forum that they own—customers are happy because they have easy access to a wealth of community knowledge, and you’re happy because you’ve kept costs down and have a satisfied customer. Everybody wins. Our online behaviors are now an integral piece of your larger customer picture, because much of what we do and say on the Internet can be tracked back to our likes, dislikes, and spending habits. Unlike the anonymous opinions that come from a market research survey or focus group, online commentary is ongoing and unprompted, and it offers a much richer picture of who we are, what we’re interested in, and how we want to be communicated with. Of Facebook’s 955 million monthly active users, 543 million are active on mobile —a 67% year-over-year growth. And, on average, users spend six and a half hours on Facebook via their desktop each month. If a customer is already on Facebook or Twitter, don’t you think they’d rather just hop over to your Facebook or Twitter page to ask a question or voice a complaint rather than opening their email client, Googling your contact email, and typing an email? Social media apps on mobile phones have made this even easier to do on the go, at the moment an issue arises. 543M MONTHLY ACTIVE USERS ON MOBILE
  • 9. 9 Chapter 1 Making the Case for Customer Service Through Social Media Social Spotlight: Air Canada Dives Headfirst into Social Customer Service The one thing companies can do right now to get started with social customer service is to commit to it. It All Starts with Making the Commitment - David Alston Chief Adoption Officer, Salesforce Marketing Cloud - Mathieu Lagacé Community Manager, Air Canada Start small. Commit to doing it even on a small scale with a small team of passionate and somewhat social-savvy people for a single product line. Pick a single path with the highest probability of success and a forgiving, passionate customer base. Get started, learn as you go, and then once you gain some momentum, start rolling it out to other product lines. A few years ago, customers could only reach our customer relations department via mail or fax. Email then made its entrance, and has now mostly eclipsed correspondence received via these more traditional mediums. Then, faced with the complete closure of London’s Heathrow airport at the peak of the holiday travel season in December 2010, our social media channels became an integral part of our communication strategy, allowing us to reach out to travelers thousands of kilometers away who needed assistance. From that moment on, there was no turning back. The use of social media has since enabled our customer service team to extend our online availability to 24/7, and to reach out to new international markets. Moving forward, the use of social customer service will continue to play a major role in building loyalty towards our brand. Our customers can expect to be able to complete an increasing amount of tasks via our social media channels. While it’s hard to envisage which social media platforms will dominate the landscape two, three, or five years down the road, it’s easy for us to imagine that social will play a similarly important role in the way in which we engage with our customers. Committing ourselves to providing the highest level of customer service online was only the beginning.
  • 10. 10 Chapter 2 Listen First:Why Smart Listening is the Key to Smart Engagement The Importance of Listening in a Service Capacity The Importance of Listening Before Engaging The importance of listening is perhaps best illustrated by what happens when a company does not listen: they forego a second chance to make things right with a customer. As humans, we all seek acknowledgement that our opinions and problems matter. When a customer takes the time to let you know how you could make things better and it repeatedly goes ignored, they will go anywhere where they finally feel heard, understood, and valued. Companies are overwhelmed by the volume of conversation, and sometimes don’t know where to start. Simply listening the right way provides the compass to the right entry into online dialogue. Once you’ve explored the nature of the conversations taking place, you can start to prioritize listening and engagement objectives. Take the time to inform yourself about conversational trends, customer expectations, and all the what-ifs of how your community is likely to react when you start conversing with them. That way, instead of being stumped during an influx of product inquiries, you’ll be able to confidently and consistently connect with your customers, answer their questions, and evolve your engagement strategy over time. The key is to pick a specific type of conversation and start there. For some companies, the first step is to work to correct reputation problems, like negative comments or posts. For others, it’s just to establish a presence in the communities where their customers are already talking about them, to demonstrate that they’re listening and available. And for those that don’t yet have buzz about them, the place to start is by contributing to larger conversations—the ones they want to be associated with. The intelligence you mine through listening becomes the foundation for your engagement strategy, and making the case for getting your entire organization involved—from customer service to marketing to technical support and sales. - Larry Robinson VP, Product Management, Salesforce Service Cloud As you listen, you’ll find that you see activity around topics. Drilling into what’s causing the activity often leads you to the most influential people driving the conversation. Those are the people influencing your customers. So finding customers is usually a process of finding relevant discussions and then seeing who’s there on the receiving end paying attention.
  • 11. 11 Chapter 2 Listen First:Why Smart Listening is the Key to Smart Engagement What to Listen For The first thing you want to do is see if there’s conversation about your specific brand happening online. Hone in on search terms related to: • Brand names • Seasonal campaign names and terms • Names of executives or stakeholders • Names of specific products and services you offer • Nicknames, misspellings, or abbreviations of any of the above Want to be proactive? Focus on these search terms to understand the larger landscape that surrounds your business in order to determine where you fit in: • Terms related to verticals you specialize in • Phrases that define the markets you serve • Larger industry keywords or categories • Professional organizations you belong to or that fit your business profile • Names of your industry thought leaders • Keyword phrases that indicate an intent to purchase or learn more We often learn by observation, so keeping tabs on your competitors can provide you with invaluable intel about whom they’re hiring, how they’re promoting their products and services in social media, and what their customers think about them. Knowing this kind of information, you can tailor your business strategies accordingly. Concentrate competitor monitoring on: • Names of competitive companies, brands, products and services • Stakeholders in those companies • Buzz around competitive campaigns or promotions • Nicknames and misspellings (and the like) of any of these Brand Monitoring Industry Monitoring Competitor Monitoring
  • 12. 12 Chapter 2 Listen First:Why Smart Listening is the Key to Smart Engagement Proactive Listening in Action As brands listen over time, they start to identify common customer questions, complaints or requests as well as which actions agents are repeating over and over. That’s when automating things like CRM case creation, post categorization, post translation, routing, and even response starts to come in extremely handy, allowing support agents to focus attention on what matters most. Let’s take a look at a company that has truly transformed their contact center into a proactive social listening hub. Activision, the company known for video games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, uses the Salesforce Service Cloud to aggregate customer cases coming in through every possible touch point—their mobile app, email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social channels. When an agent doesn’t know the answer to a user question, he can share the case on Chatter so other Activision employees can help resolve the issue, minimizing the customer’s time away from game play. Through social media monitoring, Activision has also discovered that gamers tend to create ‘map hacks’ for Call of Duty, enabling players to see where the enemy is during a match. Activision has since began automatically flagging social posts containing keywords related to map hacks using the Salesforce Social Hub rules engine, and a new Service Cloud case is then automatically created and routed immediately so the bugs can be fixed. Social Spotlight: Activision Automates Service Cases for Video Game Hacks
  • 13. 13 Chapter 3 Engage Your Community Through Contextual Communication Respond: Answer the Social Phone Brands that are truly engaging their customers use social media like a telephone, not a megaphone. They see that Facebook, Twitter, and other channels should be used as more than just another platform to broadcast self-promotional messages to a passive audience. They’re listening, responding, and crafting content that serves their community’s needs and interests in ways that elicit a reaction or response. You can engage customers in two ways. Respond to conversations by jumping in, being helpful, and routing conversations to the right people. Or initiate conversations by offering interactive experiences, useful content, and stimulating questions. If there is conversation about your brand, that’s the place to start engaging. From saying “thank you” for a compliment to calming down an angry customer who’s thinking of switching brands, the one thing to remember is there is no “right way,” no universal industry standard for engagement. The right type of engagement for you is defined by the goals you set forth for your social media program. - Larry Robinson VP, Product Management, Salesforce Service Cloud Marketing has always been about brand reputation, and customer service was always about helping people. For both, step one was to listen to what customers were saying, and eventually I think somebody said, ‘Hey, why don’t we try and help this guy rather than just note that he’s unhappy?’ “What do we say?” is often the hardest question to answer, largely due to the fear that letting people speak on behalf of your brand could create problems like mixed messages, the spreading of inaccurate information, or even legal issues. There are basic comments you can make, though, to reassure people you’re listening without causing problems for your brand, including: The Bare Bones of What to Say
  • 14. 14 Chapter 3 Engage Your Community Through Contextual Communication When you’re ready to take engagement to a level beyond responding to incoming questions, compliments, and complaints, try rewarding your advocates, thanking your customers or fans, or participating in industry discussion boards and forums. You have customers who are die-hard fans. They couldn’t be more proud of their association with your brand or products, and they make a point to show it on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Often this rubs off on their peers, and may ultimately influence others’ perceptions. Why not give these advocates a virtual pat on the back by featuring them on the company blog or Facebook page? Everyone likes to know they’re appreciated. Even a small, seemingly insignificant “thank you” can go a long way. Consider a public gesture to let your customers and social media followers know you value them, like Burberry did when they created personalized note cards for Twitter followers in the form of animated GIFs. Getting involved in the conversation surrounding your industry and the verticals you serve is essential for establishing your business not only as a thought leader, but also as a helpful business that truly cares about its community. At the end of the day, you’re providing a service or product that solves a deep human problem, and sharing your knowledge about how to solve that problem—without forcing your product or service—will create trust in your customers. Reward Advocacy Say Thank You Participate in Industry Discussion We’re listening and we hear you. Here’s some information. Yes or no. And here’s why. How can we help? Thank you. We’re sorry.
  • 15. 15 Chapter 3 Engage Your Community Through Contextual Communication Initiate: Spark Dialogue with Compelling Content Enable Self-Service: Help Your Customers Help Themselves Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account is easy. Using social media channels to foster authentic conversations with existing or potential customers—without a content plan—is not. Whether a video, blog post, or status update, content is the engine of the social web: it’s what gives brands something to talk about with their communities above and beyond customer complaints, compliments, or questions. Welcome to content marketing, where the big idea is this: if you produce and share fantastically useful content, your community will be more likely to become customers, remain customers, and send you more customers. After you’ve tackled the process of responding to queries directed at your brand, consider crafting a content marketing plan to help steer, increase, or improve the broader conversation. Customers should be able to self-serve from your site through a knowledge base, an FAQ section, a “How To” guide, or a troubleshooting wizard. So that you again become the place they’ll turn to first. To succeed, however, a great user experience is key. Too many self-service experiences fail because they’re not 100% focused on the customer—their expectations, their level of knowledge, their terminology. The more you invest in a self-service web experience, the less you have to spend on less efficient, personnel-driven solutions. Some of the benefits you’ll enjoy once you create and implement a content marketing plan include: • A stronger customer relationship with your brand once they see you are honestly trying to help them instead of just shilling your product • A well-earned reputation as the thought leader in your industry • Increased traffic to your website through higher SEO rankings, inbound links, and social shares • Educated and empowered repeat customers who become brand ambassadors • Fewer customer service complaints and calls • Opportunities to engage with prospects seeking to educate themselves about their buying decisions
  • 16. 16 Chapter 4 8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service 1. Define Goals and Align with Business Objectives The most important part of developing your customer service strategy is determining how you are going to measure your success. Halfway through the marathon is no time to wonder how you’ll know if you’ve crossed the finish line. Establish your metrics at the same time you create your goals. The move to social customer service is bringing a new set of metrics that deliver a tangible advantage to today’s forward-thinking businesses: If you are trying to increase the number of customer service interactions you have by social media, for example, start by establishing a baseline for what that looks like now. Tie your metrics to your business goals, otherwise you’ll waste time pursuing numbers that don’t really matter. Beforesocialmedia Aftersocialmedia Call time Call volume Time in queue Abandonment rate First call resolution how quickly did we get the customer off the call? how can we reduce the number of calls we receive? how long did a customer have to wait to speak to someone? how many people weren’t parepared to wait? how often did we solve the customer’s problem in a single call? Contact engagement Searchable self-service Speed to connect Defection rate Net Promoter Score how much can we empathize with what customers need? can we give customers a great service even if they never speak to anyone? how quickly can we react to a customer issue (both those communicated directly and problems highlighted on third-party sites and forums)? how many people are leaving us for the competition? how many customers will recommend, like, or tweet us as a result of our service? STEP 1
  • 17. 17 Chapter 4 8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service A social media strategy is the game plan for your organization’s digital communications. It outlines how your organization will use channels like email, Facebook, and LinkedIn to foster the relationships necessary to transform business goals into reality. A good social media strategy supports the overarching marketing plan by addressing the following: 2. Develop a Social Media Strategy STEP 2 Target Audience Personas – Who are you trying to reach? How do they use social media? What do they care about? Goals and Objectives – What are the social media objectives that will support your organization’s goals? Strategies – What are the big ideas, changes, or maneuvers that will make this plan work? Messaging and Content Strategy – What are the messages you want your target audience to understand or believe? What content can you create to educate or entertain them? Tactics and Technologies – What specific social networks will your organization be a part of? How and where will you publish digital content? What are the specific apps or technologies you’ll use to shape the customer experience? Measurement – What are the specific metrics that you need to keep track of to determine whether your social media efforts are helping you meet objectives? How will you measure them? Roles and Responsibilities – Who’s going to write blog posts? Who will monitor social media and respond to customers? Who will develop a social media training program for employees? Define the needs. Assign the tasks.
  • 18. 18 Chapter 4 8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service 4. Start Building Your Internal Network of Contacts Issues will arise that your agents may not be able to solve on their own. Forging relationships with key contacts ahead of time prevents your team from getting stuck, twiddling their thumbs, and trying to figure out what to do amidst a blooming PR crisis. - Mathieu Lagacé Community Manager, Air Canada One reason why we’ve been successful at servicing customers in social media is that our customer engagement team has access to a very large network of internal contacts. From customer relations to operations control, we carefully built relationships throughout the organization in order to tackle a much broader range of issues. STEP 3 4 3. Start Listening Where Your Customers are Talking Look first for your mentions of your company and product or service brand names. Then add some extreme keywords on either side of them, such as “fail” or “sucks.” What do you listen for? There are three types of conversations that can lead you to new or existing customers online: The keywords you monitor will determine whether you are collecting valuable intelligence or just gathering noise. Mentions of your brand Mentions of your industry Mentions of your competitors
  • 19. 19 Chapter 4 8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service Leaping into social media without a plan may feel more authentic, but you’ll either be overwhelmed by the volume of conversations, be frozen by situations you hadn’t anticipated, or, worst of all, ignite a social media controversy with an ill-considered response. You need an engagement playbook to adequately care for your community and customers. Your playbook will walk your personnel through the following workflow steps: The playbook will also outline how to join conversations, setting out which conversations you should respond to privately or publicly, and which are best to remain ignored, deflected to self-service, or handled via phone or email. The playbook will also explain what to say (“How can we help?”) and what not to say (profanity or sensitive information). A good playbook will allow enough freedom for agents to respond promptly to the different situations that arise every day, while protecting your public image, ensuring a consistent customer experience, and ensuring nothing falls between the cracks. 5. Create an Engagement Playbook STEP 5 1. Listening to the right conversations 2. Flagging and prioritizing conversations 3. Classifying conversations (“product review,” “sales lead,” “industry discussion,” etc.) 4. Tagging the source (“tier 1 customer,” “influencer,” “employee,” “competitor,” etc.) 5. Escalating the conversation if needed 6. Assigning the post to the appropriate handler (“sales,” “tech support,” “training,” etc.)
  • 20. 20 Chapter 4 8 Steps to Transformative Customer Service 6. Train Your Teams on Their Assigned Roles and Responsibilities 8. Measure What Matters 7. Engage and Respond So Existing and Future Customers Know They’ve Been Heard Does marketing already monitor social media? Will they answer queries and direct questions to customer support? Or do you want support to handle your social media listening and route the right conversations to the corresponding department within the company? The important thing is not where you draw the line between responsibilities. The important thing is that your people know where the line is, that everyone involved has the proper skills, and that everyone understands the processes in the engagement playbook you’ve set forth. That way, you’ll avoid more than one employee answering a customer query or even worse, ignoring it entirely. All too often, business metrics themselves work against giving the very best customer service— the kind people want to like, tweet, and blog about. When measuring your social customer service efforts, remember to: With your newly created engagement playbook in place, you’re ready to join the conversation in a genuine, two-way fashion. Most of the customer service issues that have blown up on Twitter are the result of companies taking too long to respond. Be timely and consistent. And remember, you don’t have to solve the customer’s problem right away in fewer than 140 characters. You simply need to acknowledge their issue and begin the process of addressing it. STEP 7 6 8 • Tie what you measure to hard business metrics • Don’t ignore the soft benefits • Focus on quality over quantity • Measure what will truly make your business remarkable
  • 21. 21 Conclusion Wrapping Up and Getting Started Without the right technologies in place, personalized service is impossible. Customer service professionals polled on LinkedIn* identified outdated and clunky systems as their primary challenge, so you’ll need to be smart about choosing the right technology partners to enable the listening, engagement, and response we’ve been talking about. *A July, 2012 LinkedIn poll conducted by salesforce.com, in which 891 customer service professionals participated, 33% of respondents indicated ‘outdated and clunky systems’ as the biggest challenge facing their company’s customer service and support teams. Customers want their problem solved. Period. It doesn’t matter how cheaply a call can be dealt with (or how easily it can be avoided). If it doesn’t solve the problem, it’s more likely costing you money rather than saving it. That is why choosing the right technology is so crucial. Choose Your Customer Service Technologies Wisely - Tony Kavanagh VP, Marketing, Salesforce Service Cloud So much of good customer service is context—knowing who your customer is, what products they’ve purchased, and what your entire history of interactions with them have been—whether over the phone, via Twitter, or in the comment thread on their industry blog. A customer who has called or tweeted about the same issue three times within the last three months is a very different customer than somebody who just bought the product yesterday.
  • 22. 22 Conclusion Wrapping Up and Getting Started Which is the most challenging for your customer service & support team(s)? Tracking dept metrics & return Outdated and clunky systems New channels like social media Meeting customer expectations Aligning support w/strategy 138 294 40 156 233 15% 33% 4% 21% 26% Overall demographic Age Seniority Gender 18-29 30-36 37-44 45+ 95 55 54 76 Manager 279 91
  • 23. 23 Conclusion Wrapping Up and Getting Started So what technology do you need? The right solution enables service through multiple online and offline touch points while also allowing companies to meet customers’ channel- specific expectations for response. No matter what type of system you choose, your reps will need training of the tools and will need to understand how the wealth of social information can and should be used. Your social media monitoring and engagement platform should allow your team to not only tune into key conversations about your brand, industry, and competitors, but also help you identify, prioritize, categorize, and route potential problems before they escalate. This way you can surprise and delight your customers by responding to issues in real time as they arise. Look for a solution that keeps track of more than just the basics. Ideally, you’ll find a CRM system that provides a complete social profile of a customer, tracks all the online and offline social interactions your representatives have with customers and prospects, and offers some additional features that remove some of the manual elements of customer service. Large brands have to figure out how to manage volume. You need technology that can filter out the noise based on rules that you define. Automating the filtering of social conversations enables companies to scale social customer service by: • Increasing productivity with automated case and contact creation so that interactions are instantly tracked and associated with customer records; • Scaling social customer interaction by instantly categorizing and routing posts to the appropriate team members for a faster resolution; and • Preparing for the future by connecting the social web to CRM technology to establish social profiles for each of your customers to provide context to the conversation. The Technologies You’ll Need Social Media Monitoring and Engagement Platform CRM Automation The solution you choose needs to be able to measure the customer service and social media goals that drive business results for your company. Take a look at your objectives to see if your CRM and social media monitoring and engagement platforms are flexible enough to measure what you need. For example, can you get a snapshot report of what the customer conversation looks like, but also dig deeper to gather more elaborate demographic data? Can you easily compare your team’s online case resolution rate with its offline one? Even with the most robust training program in place, chances are every agent will get stumped with a question at one point or another. Reduce the amount of time it takes to retrieve the right information with an internal social network that enables agents to share customer information, advice, and ideas in real-time no matter where they are. In too many instances, employees are ill-equipped to answer customer questions because there’s no store of information readily available for them to tap into. Provide an internal knowledge base that houses product and brand information, as well as information on experts to contact, training materials, and other supporting content. Create a team to oversee and own the internal community to keep it updated and valuable for employees. Measurement and Reporting Internal Social Network A Knowledge Base
  • 24. 24 Conclusion Wrapping Up and Getting Started Back to the Future Blog Product Page Product Page Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook Incorporating social media into your customer service strategy changes your focus. Instead of answering a ringing phone when there is a problem, now you can focus on solving customer issues proactively, in a way that customers will become evangelists for your brand, not your competitor’s. The 1950s butcher from the introduction could recommend a different cut of meat and a good recipe. Now, your brand can learn how to please a customer before they have even realized that they have a problem. Like the butcher, your customer service reps can contextualize and recommend based on socially acquired knowledge. And then they can respond with immediacy. This is the advantage that social customer service affords. Social media provides both the context and the mechanism. This will help you personalize brand interactions, and resolve issues or answer their questions quickly, sometimes before customers even know that they have them. Remember, happy customers drive tangible benefits to the bottom line. It all starts with making the commitment. Start small and ensure you’re implementing scalable processes along the way. Want help getting started? Get in touch with Salesforce to learn more about how the Service Cloud, the Marketing Cloud, and the rest of our products can help your company.