5 Considerations for Choosing Who’s Responsible for Social Customer Care


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Recent social customer service snafus made by big brands such as Bank of America and Applebees have proven that not just anyone, and definitely not bots, should be managing your brand or organization’s social customer responses.

For example, this month, even though it does have a dedicated social customer service team, Bank of America showed a less-than-human side of social customer care when a New Jersey man wrote an anti-foreclosure message in chalk in front of the Manhattan branch of BofA and then tweeted about it after being told to leave by police.

As the social conversation began to quickly grow, even Bank of America replied, offering either to help or review the accounts of everyone tweeting in relation to the event:

First, we need to give Bank of America credit for having a dedicated social customer care handle and two, for responding quickly. But during this specific event, they dug themselves into a PR hole with a wave of copied, scripted responses signed with the initials of an individual CSR.

And with the Twitterverse quickly catching on to the robotic repetition, they weren’t ready to put down their shovels just yet. The BofA_Help account began another series of auto-response tweets saying “We are here to help, listen and learn from our customers and are glad to assist with an account related inquiries ^sa.” This elicited responses such as “I understand you have a script to follow, but sometimes it’s better to use people skills, sense, etc. Ask your boss if that’s okay,” and “well you obviously aren’t listening & we know you don’t want to help, you just wanna make more $$$.”

This example and the infamous Applebees social media meltdown among others make some of the most recent cases for customer service representatives or marketing staff (if social media monitoring and response is not shared by customer service) being specifically trained for customer care on this very public channel. The following are five major considerations when selecting who will provide customer care on social and how it will be provided:

1. Social customer service is fueled by emotion. Social customer service reps must be trained on how to evaluate tweets and posts made by upset customers and followers and then be able to provide an appropriate personalized response or direct the conversation offline to avoid additional ire from the individual customer, as well as other customers and the general public.

2. Interactions are happening in the public eye. Those providing social customer care or responses for a brand should evaluate every post before hitting the reply button and consider the perception of the reply or replies the brand is providing, as well as any negative connotations that might be associated with or inferred from the response.

3. Agents must have situational awareness. Brand representatives need to be aware of any situation unfolding before they respond to related posts. If the customer care representatives for Bank of America had reviewed the original and related tweets and learned about the event they were responding to before replying, most of the robotic auto-responses could have been avoided and personalized responses could have been crafted for those tweets that required customer care.

4. Social customer care staff must be able and empowered to respond in real time. Without proper training and an innate sense of empathy, professionalism and compassion, not every customer care agent can deliver effective public social media responses in real-time. And without empowerment, agents that do possess these valuable traits are limited by scripted responses, unable to deliver exceptional social customer care.

5. Social responses are forever. Once a major brand or organization delivers a questionable response to an individual or group on social media, it is usually quickly documented through screen shots and pounced upon by others online. While it’s always easy to armchair quarterback, social customer care snafus made in the past by other brands should be required reading for those delivering social customer care or any staff member managing brand responses for social media, so that much thought goes into each tweet or post.

At any given time, your brand reputation is dependent upon the person manning your social media accounts. Who is that, and do they have the proper training, professionalism, situational awareness and responsiveness to deliver? Even if your brand does not offer dedicated social customer care, it’s still something that must be considered.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


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