Social Customer Service seems to have finally reached a tipping point and is slowly being embraced by traditional customer service staff. It's increasingly a part of the contact centre environment and often sits alongside voice, webchat and email.
Yet, social media requires a very different approach to traditional customer service. Conversations on social are not private, scripted affairs with cost-cutting always front of mind - they are visible for the world to see and a serious marketing opportunity. Get it right and the word of mouth value can be enormous, but getting it wrong can do some serious reputational damage. For that reason, some feel that marketing staff are better equipped to deal with public-facing customer engagement.
In a new infographic (below), Sentiment examines the gap between these twin disciplines and what they can learn from each other in order to listen to and engage with customers and how to track and evaluate the outcomes.
The first thing to note is the different skills and knowledge associated with each discipline. Marketing staff are known for being creative and are far more experienced at creating and curating content. However, they are unlikely to have in-depth knowledge of the products and services and so will struggle to answer technical questions in a timely manner. On the other hand, I would tend to associate customer service agents with patience, empathy and problem solving skills as well as being able to deal with technical or complex queries.
They also have very different goals in mind. Whilst Marketeers are focused on pushing out content in order to generate positive engagement, increase brand awareness and, ultimately, generate leads, customer service agents listen and respond with the aim of helping customers, improving customer satisfaction and increasing customer retention.
Whilst both sides will require social media monitoring tools, engagement dashboards and analytics, customer service teams will require some more advanced features if they're to offer a service which equals other channels. For instance, CRM integration is a must, along with supervisor visibility and personalised routing to ensure queries reach the most appropriate person right away.
The result of all this is that there needs to be very close ties between these two disciplines if they are to get the most out of each other and give the customer a great experience, but this needs to go further than one team regularly talking to the other or having clear processes in place to determine who is best to respond - they both need to be part of the same team.