How to Empower Customer Service to Get Social
Ashley Furness, Help Desk Software Advice Analyst Ashley Furness, Help Desk Software Advice Analyst

One question dominated recent discussions in a Linkedin group I follow: “What department owns social media?” Most chime in with “marketing” or “public relations,” but it turns out this is the wrong question altogether.

“That’s like customer service asking marketing if they can use the phone to make a call,” industry expert Michael Pace told me. “Social media is a tool, not a function.”

Instead, companies should ask how you can deliver social media to those who need it, when they need it. Many automated social listening tools provide big-picture analysis, such as customer sentiment and keyword trends. But what about messages that require an immediate response, like customer service?

More than half of Twitter users expect a response within two hours of tweeting a complaint. 

51% of Facebook users expect same-day response.

Oracle report, Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012

Customer support software developers, including LiveOps, have developed tools to solve this problem. Here’s how this technology turns social media listening into customer service action.

Prioritization is Key

As mentioned, one of the most difficult parts of socialized customer support is fishing out the most critical comments among the masses of information out there.

To overcome this challenge, LiveOps listens for any combination of the #CompanyName, @CompanyName or brand mention with customer service triggers like “help” or “need assistance.”

Then the technology applies a priority ranking based on a variety of factors, such as content, customer’s purchase history, and social activity level. A computer manufacturer company might, for example, place higher value on a key social media influencer or brand advocate who recently purchased ten laptops, and bump his help request to the top of the queue.

This priority scale completely depends on the company’s customer service strategy. At the same time, the provider should provide a dictionary of various prioritization options.

Service Needs to be Agile

“It’s important that all channels are treated with the same level of depth. This allows agents to easily pivot between each channel without any change in service.” – Sanjay Mathur, LiveOps Senior Vice President, Product Management.

Another common obstacle to efficient social customer service is process. If a complaint is submitted on Twitter, what’s the next step? Create a ticket? Respond in Twitter with a link? Send an email?

Not only does this make it difficult to respond quickly, it also provides a poor customer experience. LiveOps processes social media issues in the same way as tickets from any other channel. Once the social media complaint is identified, the software creates a ticket that shows up in the service queue along with requests from other channels. When they respond, it’s automatically pushed to Twitter, email or whatever channel makes sense in that situation.

Context is Crucial

If a community or social media manager is manually monitoring Twitter and Facebook, they won’t have the complete customer context on hand. As a result, they likely won’t flag a complaint as critical if the customer called the hotline, emailed three hours ago, and then tweeted, of example. They simply wouldn’t know their past points of contact. Similarly, they wouldn’t be able to identify loyal and high-value customers that might warrant a faster response than others.

Automated Routing Speeds Response Time

LiveOps also uses a rules-based interface to automate social message routing. The system can be configured to consider agent expertise, work group, current caseload, average time to respond, and service satisfaction rate. The platform might, for example, choose a top service-rated agent to handle a strongly negative issue.

Reporting tools also enable managers to constantly monitor response time, net promoter scores, satisfaction rates and more so they can fine-tune process and prioritization rules.

Research for this article was provided by Software Advice.