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3 Steps to Plan for a Successful Social Media Customer Service Program

Written by Zachary Chastain  ()
on April 1, 2015 ·

Planning to effectively provide good customer service through social media can be difficult, but you've already recognized how beneficial it will be for your business and your customers, and that's why you're reading this blog post!

Whether you're struggling with what goals to set, what constitutes consistently good social customer support, or you're not sure what metrics you need to track, this post will help you get started!

These are the basics, and there are a lot of topics we'll touch on in today's post that we'll expand on in future blog posts. After reading this post, you'll have an excellent foundation for how to build your own social media customer service program.

Step 1: Set Your Goals

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When you're creating your social media customer service program, you want to make sure that you have your goals in mind. What do you hope to accomplish by implementing support through social? What business need will your support program serve for your organization?

Here are a few suggestions that will get you started:

  • Self-Service Support: A goal you may want to explore is setting up a knowledge base, and focusing your efforts on self-service support to reduce the number of issues raised on other support channels. Some people will skip searching it and come directly to your social channels with a common question, but the knowledge base can also be an asset for your customer support reps as well. Linking to it in responses will save them time on each customer issue, and make customers more aware of the knowledge base as a resource to consult for future problems. We'll explore how to setup and maintain a knowledge base in more depth in a future blog post.
  • Customer Retention: A trend I've noticed over the last 3 years while helping brands implement their social media customer service programs is that many customers tend to turn to social channels as a last resort, or just as a place to vent, after having a bad experience through other support channels. This makes providing customer support through social media an excellent opportunity for customer retention. You can step in, offer a solution right then and there, and prevent that customer from going to your competitors. We will of course delve deeper into how you can use your social channels for retention through customer support (and how to track this as a goal using real metrics) in a future blog post.

 

Step 2: Decide On a Grade of Service

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For years now many brands have been realizing that they need to provide support through their social properties simply because that's where many of their customers come to complain or ask for help. However, many organizations still don't treat social as an official support channel. Response times can vary widely, and teams may not be big enough or given enough resources to respond to issues quickly or keep up with the volume of customer issues.

Learn from their mistakes instead of making them yourself:

  • Commit to a grade of service. This is the amount of time within which you will provide first touch support on a customer issue that is posted on one of your social channels. First touch support is when you first respond to an issue, either offering a quick solution or escalating the issue to another team member to troubleshoot further. A great goal when first starting out would be to get first touch responses down to 1 or 2 hours. We'll discuss in depth how you can do that with a small team in a future blog post.
  • Understand if your team has the capacity to handle their workload. This is simple to track, just ask each member of your support team to track the amount of time they spend each day actively responding to support posts. You'll also need them to track the number of customer issues they each respond to each day. Now, simply divide the number of issues per day by the number of hours spent for each member of your team and average them. You now know how many customer issues your team can resolve on average per hour. You'll also be able to forecast how many new team members you'll need if your number of reported issues increases by X amount.

 

Step 3: Establish and Track Your Metrics

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What you track will depend upon your goals, it can be as simple as measuring Grade of Service to make sure that everyone who posts for help on your social channels gets timely support, or it can get much more complicated. However, having metrics to track and compare against baselines will help you understand your progress towards your goals on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

Here are a few common metrics that you may want to track, depending upon your goals:

  • Reducing phone calls. If one of your goals is to decrease the number of support calls you receive, you'll want to look at the number of support issues you respond to through social on a daily basis (ideally this would grow over time) and the number of support phone calls you receive on a daily basis (which should decrease over time).
  • Developing a knowledge base. If your goal is to drive more of your users to self-help support assets like a knowledge base, then you'll obviously want to get started by tracking how many people visit the knowledge base over time.
  • Track Your Baselines! You'll also want a 4 week/month/quarter running baseline at a minimum, so that you understand not just how you're doing week to week or month to month, but also how your overall progress for the current period compares to the last 4 periods.

 

 

 

Topics: Social Customer Care

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