What can social media learn from traditional customer service?


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If you’ve ever sat listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for forty-five minutes while your bank or insurance company deals with ‘unusually high call volumes’, you may be surprised to learn that traditional customer service is one of the most rigorously organised and measured department of any company.

You may be less surprised to learn that social media teams are starting to look over the fence and learn some of customer service’s tricks for, for example, dealing with high volumes of queries, or channeling different types of query to different people.

A rather useful infographic (below) published by Sentiment pulls out ten of the key lessons that social can learn from traditional customer service.

While the ten lessons are worth noting and there are some pretty interesting statistics (‘70% of businesses will be using social for customer service by mid-2014’), I found the expert quotes to be particularly insightful:

“We deal with peaks and troughs by training 30-40% more people than are needed to give them room for manoeuver. Building flexibility is really important.”

Dominic Sparks – CEO, Tempero

“The people who sit on the frontline carry an enormous responsibility to do as well as they can for the brand they represent. However, that brand still needs a command centre which has senior people sitting in real time, ready to respond if (or when) tidal inbound is happening.”

Martin Hill-Wilson – Author of ‘Delivering Effective Social Customer Service’.

“We have developed a tool called ‘automations’ which identifies specific types of mentions through related keywords and phrases and automatically assigns relevant mentions to a specific team or individual agents. Traditionally this has been managed through a ‘manual’ triage which is a cumbersome task and has an impact on response time.”

Luke Porter – Head of Social Customer Service, Sentiment.

“Simulations are a brilliant way to flush out the details. In a crisis you often spot problems you weren’t expecting. During one crisis simulation we did – the person with the Twitter login details was off sick and it wasn’t stored centrally. Often it’s the simple things that haven’t occurred to anyone.”

Katy Howell – CEO, Immediate Future.

“We’d be more likely to look for who are our most important customers and what can we do for them, rather than who is seen as influential.”

Ronan Gillen – Community and Social Customer Service Manager, eBay

Infographic sentiment CB EDIT 800px


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