Customer service via social channels such as Facebook and Twitter, once considered an afterthought by most companies, has exploded of late, with Conversocial Co-Founder and CEO Joshua March telling AllFacebook in an interview, “Over the past year, 2012, so many people woke up. Suddenly, every company we spoke with understood that social customer service was important.”
However, not every company is on board yet, as March added, “Most companies still view social just as a marketing channel.”
March spoke about the evolution of the social customer-service sector over the past couple of years, telling AllFacebook:
How people communicate has been changing for the past couple of years. Facebook and Twitter are the communications channels for the next generation. Companies have spent billions of dollars educating their consumers to communicate with them through Facebook and Twitter. It’s much, much cheaper to respond to people digitally on Facebook than to make a phone call.
He also discussed the public nature of customer service via social media, and how it can be both dangerous and advantageous:
It’s a threat to companies because everything is public. Companies are starting to set up completely new teams of customer-service agents to resolve real issues, and they are training these agents in social media, and in how to deal with customers publicly.
Your brand is no longer controlled by you: it’s controlled by the conversations your customers are having around you. If you deliver an excellent customer-service experience, then that’s public, as well.
It’s better to throw a few more people on it than to mess up. The potential brand damage that can be caused by doing this wrong is so much.
Conversocial counts large, name-brand companies including Groupon, GoDaddy, American Greetings, and Bank of Montreal among its clients, and March noted that some of these larger companies have fully embraced social customer service, adding:
We have big retail customers with 30 to 40 people full-time in their customer-service centers just dealing with Facebook and Twitter, and it’s growing every day. There are 30, 40, 50 doing social, and maybe 300 doing email. In the next three years, social is going to be as big as email.
Social customer-service platforms such as Conversocial’s offering typically provide brands with features such as:
- Management tools, allowing the leaders of social media teams to prioritize, assign tasks and permissions, and monitor work flow and results.
- Prioritization, so agents can determine which issues are the most important and need the most rapid attention.
- The ability to track the history of tickets, from the first communications by social network users through to the communications between those users and agents, and the eventual resolutions.
- Tools allowing agents to publish to social network, scheduled or in real-time.
- Analytics, generation of reports, and other methods to track the effectiveness of customer-service efforts.
Readers: What have your customer-service experiences via Facebook been like?
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