How to Avoid 5 Common Social Customer Service Pitfalls

Posted on by Elizabeth Clor

Hands typing on laptop computerSocial media is now a major customer service channel, as millions of consumers turn to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to talk about brands, air grievances and ask questions. With a team of customer service pros monitoring social activity and engaging with customers, brands can mitigate problems and build meaningful relationships.

Whether you’re perfecting your social customer service strategy or just starting out, you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes:

  1. Lack of Leadership

Companies often spend too much time figuring out which department should own social customer service and not enough time structuring the team itself. Instead of worrying where in your organization your team will sit, focus on appointing a dedicated leader to oversee the program. Next, make sure you and your manager work together to establish clear roles and responsibilities for each team member. This ensures all aspects of social customer service are accounted for and employees know how they fit into the workflow.

Lack of leadership also leads to shortsighted programs that fade before they’re able to make a real impact. But with a dedicated social customer service manager, your social program will be able to establish and operate against long-term goals that are met by following a constantly evolving strategy.

  1. Inability to Engage with Customers During Peak Traffic

Many companies forget that social customer service isn’t a 9-to-5 job. Your team needs to actively respond to questions and comments as they arise, which means you may need to schedule employees at odd hours or over the weekend. Start by assessing when customers are most frequently talking about your company and determine your team’s business hours accordingly.

  1. Isolated Social Customer Service Teams

Social customer service teams often work independently and can easily become isolated from other departments. However, to quickly problem-solve inquires and reduce response times, your team needs cooperation and buy-in from the entire company. To foster a close relationship between your social customer service team and the rest of your employees, host frequent company-wide meetings to discuss customer experience. It’s important to report on the team’s activities, share results, pertinent data and success stories with the entire company. That way you’re able to approach customer service as a unified body.

  1. Slow or Impersonal Responses

One of the key advantages of having a social customer service program is that you can respond to customers quickly and solve problems on the spot rather than directing them to expensive-to-operate call centers. However, it can be challenging to keep up with incoming feedback, especially when there’s a spike in traffic. That said, your customers expect the same speed and level of engagement regardless of traffic. In order to maintain quick response times no matter what, consider automating part of the process so that inbounds are directed to the appropriate channel instantaneously.

It’s also important to ensure that your team is providing quality responses, even under pressure. When your team is flooded with inbounds it can be easy to resort to impersonal, shorthand responses in order to keep up with traffic. To avoid sacrificing quantity for quality, be prepared to call in an extra pair of hands and encourage team members to go the extra mile.

  1. Too Many Touch Points When Handling Customer Cases

Social customer service can become frustrating for customers if there’s too much back-and-forth. Try to answer questions and resolve issues with no more than two touch points. Start by acknowledging the complaint or issue and get all the information you need from customers upfront. Next, follow-up with the appropriate solution, anticipating what sort of information the customer needs so they feel fully informed. Some inquires are more complex than other, but as a general rule-of-thumb, encourage your team to be clear and concise the first time around.

When done right, social customer service can save your company time and money. It’s also a great way to collect insights from your customers that can be applied to all levels of business. Make sure you make the most out of your social customer service team by avoiding these common pitfalls and, of course, keep in mind that every company comes with it’s own unique set of needs and challenges.

Elizabeth Clor is the senior director of marketing of Clarabridge.

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