Building an effective and successful social customer service organization from the ground up is no easy feat. During our most recent webcast Tim Lopez (@Tim) , Head of Global Social Customer Care at Symantec and Dave Evans (@DaveEv) , Lithium’s VP of Social Strategy shared some key things they’ve learned along the way.
Stay ahead of the curve
Many factors can cause an influx in support volume: corporate announcements, seasonal sales, product announcement, or even service issues. There a few things we recommend doing to successfully navigate these situations.
1. Remember that relevance is key. Remember to leverage your social support tool’s features to prioritize and bring in relevant requests to the top of the queue.
2. Study and model historical trends to inform your support strategy. Lithium Social Web's real-time alerts functionality allows you to dig into data from up to a year and a half ago. Based on these findings, you can prepare by staffing additional agents, resources, and workflow plans.
3. Have a system to distribute workflow and quickly handle requests with templated responses in case your team’s workload is overflowed. Training your agents to leverage templated responses to respond to multiple posts that refer to the same question is a great way to tackle this.
Train, train, and train again.
Practice is the only way to deliver as perfect customer experience as possible. Provide proper training for your agents so they understand how to communicate and be resourceful in finding answers for customers.
4. Fully understanding and knowing the ins and outs of your social media management tool is absolutely crucial. Hosting training and certification workshops can be helpful to make sure agents are up to par.
5. Consider coaching your agents on their communication style. For example, what is the best way to show empathy on social while being concise and helpful in their responses? Having a gap in this area can directly impact response times and customer sentiment.
6. Acknowledge that agents have a very stressful job and often carry the customer load for the rest of the organization. Hosting self-care workshops to manage some of that stress can be helpful.
Empower agents with the right tools
Sometimes it’s necessary to have additional context about the customer or even your own products to provide a great experience.
7. Agents don’t always need to know the answer; they just need to know where to find it. Ensure that they know how to connect with the right subject matter experts within your organization to resolve issues quickly – and don’t forget to encourage peer to peer knowledge sharing and documentation. LSW Experts is a powerful way to accomplish exactly this.
8. Integrate your CRM system to create a unified experience. Symantec recently integrated LSW with Salesforce to have better context about their customers. The faster agents can get a clearer picture of what’s at hand, the faster they can drive towards resolving issues.
Be more responsive
9. Setting up a 24-hour social support operation can be a powerful way to move the needle on customer sentiment conversion and response rates. LSW’s shared dashboards allow you to track exactly which hours of the day bring the highest volume, and compare team performance metrics on-hours and off-hours, to make strategic staffing decisions.
Champion your team, gain visibility
10. Symantec launched social support in 2010 and grew their team from 3 to 17 people. Obviously this doesn’t happen without executive buy-in and support. One of the best ways to do this is to champion your team’s success and show exactly how they are making an impact on the rest of the business. Don’t be shy! In fact, many of Lithium’s customers leverage LSW Monitor Walls to ensure their team has more visibility within their organization.
This webcast, “7 critical strategies for highly effective customer service”, can be viewed on-demand.-
If you found this helpful, please download a complimentary copy of our latest eBook, “The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service Success in 2016”.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your community on LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Customer is Everyone’s Job - Infusing Social Customer Care Across your Organization
Symantec’s Tim Lopez and HP’s Kriti Kapoor Share Their Winning Tips on Social Support
7 Strategies to Boost and Maintain a Successful Customer Service Team
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The LSW team kicked off 2016 in full-force with industry-first product features, customer success stories and go-to pieces of content that will help you improve your social care initiatives.
This month, we’re proud to announce that we are the only solution in the industry to offer a social customer service platform that allows brands to initiate private conversations on Facebook Messenger.
Enjoy the recap of January 2016 and continue to read more on our community.
January 2016 Edition
Product News: We’re excited to announce that LSW is the first social customer service platform to allow agents to initiate a private response directly to a user’s Facebook Messenger inbox from a public comment on the brand’s page. You can read all the details in our blog: Social Customer Service at Scale on Facebook with Business Messenger. In January, we also announced new LSW Listening APIs and Raw Response Approval export – read more in the Lithium Social Web Release Notes.
Whitepaper: The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service Success in 2016 is available now and is the ultimate resource for social customer service. The whitepaper dives deep into: the value of social customer service to both businesses and customers, answers the most common social care questions and highlights social care success stories. Download it today.
Customer Spotlight: Lithium’s Dave Evans and Symantec’s Tim Lopez are featured in a webcast: 7 critical strategies for highly effective social customer service. The webinar goes over seven best practices to empower your social customer service team. If you missed the live webcast, be sure to catch the replay on our community.
Tip of the Month: As brands continue to build their business presence on social, be sure to implement a specific strategy that builds - not only credibility and accuracy in content- but also reinforces the personal expertise and recognized influence of the people in the conversations around your brand, product, or service. Dave Evan’s breaks down this best practice in clickZ: Powerball math, Facebook, and how to build a proper social support site.
Op-ed: Our very own Rob Tarkoff shares his view on what brands can learn from the Star Wars franchise. A few lessons he says are ‘apply more organic engagement’ and ‘build inclusive communities.’ Curious on his other tips? Read more at the Huffington Post: How Star Wars Stays Relevant Across Generations.
LiNC 2016: It’s that time of year again to gear up for our annual user conference – LiNC in San Francisco on June 8-10, 2016. LiNC is the industry’s premier event focused on the digital customer experience. Want to know why it’s one of the best shows in the industry? Read the Top 10 Reasons to Attend LiNC ’16 to learn more.
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A new year, a new LSW Download! Welcome back, everyone.
We’re so excited to get a jumpstart on 2016, but, of course, we can all use a quick refresher of the LSW news in December 2015. So enjoy this quick look back of how LSW closed out 2015.
The Lithium Social Web Download – December 2015 Edition
eBook: Did you know that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated? Customer experience matters. In our updated eBook, we reiterate how brands can provide an exceptional customer experience by implementing seven best practices into their social customer care teams. Read it here: 7 Customer Service Strategies for Highly Effective Teams.
Product News: In December, we announced an expansion to our analytics portfolio that adds Value Analytics and Lithium Cohort Benchmarking. Even though the new solutions focus on community, it shows the power and value of social data. Read Rob Tarkoff’s “Lithium’s Digital DNA” blog to learn more about Lithium’s data story and how data can take your Total Community approach to the next level.
Optus Dan: This week, we all discovered a real community manager hero (and a great example of social justice) in Optus Dan… As reported by the HeraldSun, news.com.au and Cosmopolitan, Dan catapulted to fame for his Facebook replies to Optus customers about controversial multilingual signage. It was a difficult situation, but his calm, smart and real responses are being praised for being “refreshing” and “human.” We salute Dan for being a great example!
Tip of the Month: Our very own Katy Keim gives every social media manager in the world a wakeup call with her op-ed, It’s Time for Social to Grow up. In the piece, Katy states: “the days of ‘fluff’ metrics are over” and outlines the metrics social needs so we can see a “fundamental shift in how businesses perceive and support social efforts moving forward.”
Customer Spotlight: With the help of LSW, Symantec social care outbound volume increased by 162% and response time decreased by 99.7%. Want to find out how they did it? Check out the Symantec LSW success story here to learn how they revamped and enhanced customer care.
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2015 has come and gone: working with our customers we’ve gained insight into many things about the state of social along the way. But before we share those insights, let’s quickly reflect.
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, offered the following at his 1995 MIT commencement address:
“I had (and still have) a dream that the web could be less of a television channel and more of an interactive sea of shared knowledge. I imagine it immersing us as a warm, friendly environment made of the things we and our friends have seen, heard, believe or have figured out.”
It’s impressive to think that 20 years ago, the inventor of the World Wide Web was referring to the importance of building communities on the Internet -- what many businesses are doing today. We are creating a space where customers and those interested in becoming customers can come together, ask questions, share feedback, and help develop better solutions to life’s little challenges.
So what are the key insights for social customer service from 2015? As a critical mass of our customers embraced Lithium’s Total Community philosophy, there was a collective realization that adopting social technology at a strategic level requires re-thinking how businesses are structured.
Consider these 4 points:
When it comes to support, Operations has the ball.
The long-standing rule that peer-based support communities typically live within the domain of customer care still applies. This has been the rule for quite some time, but really hit home as more Lithium powered communities chose to integrate Lithium Social Web to advance their Total Community strategy.
Through many of these integrations, we found that Lithium Social Web is becoming the foundational glue that holds a powerful customer engagement strategy together in a Total Community. How does customer engagement differ from support? That brings us to our next point…
When it comes to customer engagement, Marketing owns the budget.
Marketing still controls the budget for customer engagement, in particular when the definition of “engagement” is taken to mean, “engaging with content provided by the brand for marketplace consumption.”
It’s a fact that customers and potential customers are less likely to trust brands, and much more likely to trust peer recommendations from those like themselves. Customers decide how, when, and where they will initiate their own communications with the brand (and with each other, about the brand and what it means to them).
In 2015 it became increasingly evident that within an organization, the Marketing team decides how the brand chooses to initiate customer dialogue: the customer has a primary stake in determining what that solution looks like, and therefore plays a central role in the selection of the critical components of social technology. In short, build for where your customers are going, to paraphrase hockey-great Wayne Gretsky.
It’s impossible to create consistently great customer experiences in silos.
Perhaps the biggest insight of 2015 is this: it takes a village. Of all the challenges that businesses faced when moving to adopt a holistic Total Community approach, the nearly universal learning was that success was dependent on the entire organization being involved and taking responsibility for at least some part of the customer experience.
It is impossible to create consistently great customer experiences when teams are working in silos. Operations and Marketing must work together to achieve this, and they need to get the rest of the organization involved as well.
Activate your entire organization by tapping retained knowledge to create better solutions.
Let’s paint a picture of what 2015 looked like for an average Lithium customer:
The Operations team sees an opportunity to achieve scalability and cost reduction with enterprise grade social technology. Lithium Community powers nearly 500 global brands, producing documented cost savings. Operations and Marketing, seeing the need for scale in off-domain (for example, Twitter) customer engagement, combine community with Klout, the leading source of quality influencer data, and with Lithium Social Web, the de facto standard for big-brand, high-scale customer engagement. Combined with Lithium’s community software the result is a comprehensive platform that enables brands to involve customers in the creation of solutions. Building on this, it allows brands to tap those solutions in order to scale up to the growing demand for timely, accurate off-domain social support.
Building on this core platform, Lithium rolled out advanced analytics, including Shared Dashboards and Monitor Walls in 2015. The result was the newfound ability to syndicate customer engagement data across the organization. Suddenly, domain knowledge that had been locked away in the heads of employees was available: it’s a fact that, on average, business tap only about 40% of the knowledge actually possessed, and over 67% of employees feel underutilized.
Enter LSW Experts. With the core platform in place—Lithium Community (peer engagement), Lithium Social Web (off-channel engagement and peer solution integration) combined with Klout (influencer data)—Lithium’s analytics tools allow firms to visibly present customer interactions—the good the bad, and the ugly—broadly across the organization. Like sleeping giants, the expert holders of specific domain expertise within an organization came forward. “I didn’t know customers felt like that” and “I can help with that!” are common reactions when social data is presented to employees. Beyond the eye-candy of social media command centers from ten years ago—trend charts, cool-but-nonessential world maps and the like—the ability to offer highly specific Smart Views of discrete data can be an incredibly powerful factor in building an experts-based social engagement team to complement your social customer care front-line.
Marketing and Operations need combined, strategic platforms that power business; they must work together to achieve consistently great experiences.
Customer care is better when customers are directly involved (OK, we all knew that already…) and able to connect with super-users and experts and generate solutions that can then be provided through off-domain social channel engagement.
Finally, the really big insight was that our customers are serious about activating their entire organization, by tapping retained (but heretofore trapped) knowledge to create better solutions, to spot and convert early-stage buying opportunities, and spur customer-driven innovation.
What did you learn in 2015? Please share in the comments below.
If you liked this article, you may enjoy our newest eBook: 7 Customer Service Strategies For the Holiday Rush. Download your complimentary copy above.
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We’re back with the November 2015 installment of the Lithium Social Web Download.
The year might be winding down, but that doesn't mean the LSW team is slowing down one bit. In November, the LSW team continued to march forward with product updates, new assets, agent tips-and-tricks, customer milestones, events and much more.
Below you'll find a quick recap of everything you need to know about LSW in November.
The Lithium Social Web Download – November 2015 Edition
New LSW eBook: Just in time for the holidays, we have a new eBook titled: 7 Customer Service Strategies for The Holiday Rush. In it, we outline 7 best practices that will empower social care agents for success during one of the busiest seasons. Learn how to minimize response times, get the most out of customer care tools, and extend care beyond social by downloading our eBook.
Tip of the Month: Is customer advocacy a part of your social program? If not, you may be missing an important piece of the puzzle. Dave Evans outlines the power of the loyalty loop and how brands can market based on shared experiences. He notes the importance of creating experiences that people enjoy sharing and would authentically talk about to gain an advantage in a connected, networked marketplace. Read the full “Building brand advocates in a connected world” column in clickZ to learn more on how you too can cultivate strong brand advocacy.
Event recap: Our very own Chief Marketing Officer Katy Keim hosted a panel discussion at the Social Media for Customer Service Summit event in New York with Jared Schultheis, Executive Director of Digital Media Outreach & Customer Relations, from Comcast and Mary Hill, Customer Service and Social Media Manager, from StubHub. Check out the 4 things we learned from their session in: The Secret Sauce: 4 Ways to Deliver Excellence via Social Customer Care .
Customer Spotlight: With over 339,000 locations in more than 200 countries and territories, MoneyGram needed a full social revamp as customers expected a quick response on social 24/7. That’s where LSW comes in - MoneyGram’s social care outbound volume increased by 95% and response time decreased by 93%. How did they do it? Read about their LSW success here.
Op-ed: Take a moment to read Katy Keim’s article in MarketingLand on what retail marketers need to do to prepare for the holiday shopping season. The Holidays Are Around The Corner: Here’s How To Prep Your Influencers And Digital Teams article covers how LSW’s Monitor Wall can help brands do this. Learn how to activate Monitor Wall to create the ultimate social media command center. Monitor Wall helps brands track and display what customers are posting in real time and what’s trending on social in relation to their brand.
Did we miss any of your favorite LSW milestones from November? We’d love to know in the comments below.
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