As the countdown to #SMWF Europe 2015 reaches the 10 day mark, we’ve been chatting to one of our Gold Sponsors, Brand Embassy, who have been letting us in on some of their social media customer service secrets.
With the ever expanding world of social now having an indisputable presence and importance in the world of customer interaction, and the damaging nature of an un-attended negative post, tweet or comment becoming increasingly clear, how brands and companies present themselves on social media is a trending topic in the PR world. The popularity of using social media for customer service furthered by the opportunity to boost efficiency, response time and customer satisfaction, has put the science of social customer service high on the list of social media hot topics this year.
Social media customer service experts Brand Embassy have worked extensively with large brands and telcos such as T-Mobile, Telefonica o2, IBM and Vodafone to make sure their social care is even more efficient. We caught up with them and Ivo Marecek, Social Media Guy at T-Mobile Czech Republic, to find out more about their partnership, and the tips and best practices for helping companies become more customer service orientated which they have taken from their experience.
“The first and the most important difference is that social media works in a public space,” explains Ivo Marecek. “Everyone can see everything and every single answer is thus very important. For us, social media combines a mix of customer service, marketing and PR – it’s not just an online call centre.”
Dividing the two incoming questions received by T-Mobile into two segments; the first and larger being the consumer segment of customers using only online channels to resolve service issues, and a smaller group of “channel hoppers” using social media to escalate existing issues, Brand Embassy has taken the social care concept of combining technology and people to fine-tune responses.
Using Brand Embassy’s integrated technology, which allows the social team to see all customer interactions on the receipt of a new enquiry, the T-Mobile social customer care team were able to log all customer cases, regardless of the incoming channel. With the speed at which social media can provide customer feedback, the social care team also works to record and organise feedback, ensuring that it is used to solve issues, errors or to improve products.
Another, seemingly contradictory, aspect of T-Mobile’s social care is helping customers to help themselves. “We are seeing a shift from a managed customer care channels towards self-service channels, such as the My T-Mobile website self-care or mobile app, where the customers can easily and quickly manage their accounts without the need to speaking to our personnel,” explains Ivo. The social care team role within this is to collect mentions and comments, then pass them over to the product managers who can improve the app for customers, encouraging customers to move directly to this option for problem solving.
Social care is about listening, not broadcasting an advertisement.
The goal is to build a regular communication loop between customers and the brand.
- It takes a special team to do social care.
Within the very transparent world of social media, a social care team needs to work with a high degree of trust and autonomy.
- Your customers will be channel hopping (if they aren’t already).
Last week’s customers just called the hotline, yesterday’s customers commented on Facebook, and today’s customers are combining all service channels together – retail outlets, call centre, and social media – to resolve their issues.
- Social care is in a bridge position.
Social care is now between marketing and traditional customer service in terms of both philosophy and physical location.
- Help simplify the process.
The goal is to simplify processes so customers can quickly find all information on the website or self-care app without even contacting the social care team.
- Effective social care is integrated.
Done correctly, social care is technically integrated into a company’s operations and CRM services. Really effective social care is never a stand-alone feature.
- Social care builds your public image.
Social media is a public space where everyone can see everything and every single answer is very important.
Looking towards future steps in customer care, Ivo see clear steps leaning towards a focus on cooperation with user communities on social media and with the relevant influencers. “These are two very important groups we can’t ignore,” points out Ivo. “The interaction with influencers is partially PR, but also a part of marketing and customer care.” Customer feedback obtained via social media is more than an invaluable source of insights for product managers. It also demonstrates the benefits to integrating social media into T-Mobile’s existing processes.
Brand Embassy will be speaking at #SMWF Europe 2015 in our keynote track: Day One 1530: Did You See My Tweet?” Customer Service Demands of Today’s Impatient Social Customers – register for your pass here.