More proof that you need to triage your social customer service queue

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One thing we heard at last year’s Social Media for Customer Service Summit (by the way, we liked it so much that a bunch of us are heading back to NYC again next week) was that a lot of folks in the social customer service field were afraid to talk about prioritizing customers in their queue – or at least they were afraid to admit that they did so. (We’re looking forward to seeing if that has changed when we are there next week!).

We don’t necessarily agree with that notion – there are definitely high-value customers who deserve a little extra attention, whether that value is derived from how much business they give your company or how much impact they have on the market and on the folks who may become future customers.

But if I leave that aside (until a later blog post), let me say this: at a minimum, before you leap you should look. By that I simply mean that even if you’re not going to treat a customer differently (or better) because of their social profile, it makes sense to at least look at that profile before you engage socially.

Based on our customer experience, let me share a few reasons why (and please chime in when you see obvious ones that I’ve missed):

  • Maybe a glance at their profile will tell you their problem before you engage, so you can lead with an answer or solution
  • Maybe you can correlate their social profile to an account in your system, so you don’t have to ask them to DM you account info before you engage. I don’t know about you, but to me that is as annoying as calling into your bank and repeating to the rep all of the information you’ve already keyed into your phone. Ugh.
  • Maybe you can find the occasions where there’s no need to respond or engage – the times when just staying out of it is better than opening your virtual mouth.

I have a timely reason for bringing this up today. I was reading through my Twitter feed this afternoon and noticed a response tweet from my local cable company. Since I haven’t (for a change) needed their help in a while, I zipped by it without another thought, until… something in the back of my brain made me scroll back down and expand out the tweet. Let’s see if you can figure out why:


I don’t want to pile on to my cable company here – lots of people have oddball twitter handles (heck, mine is named after my favorite band, but is also Irish for “kiss my ass”, so… guilty).

But I think that there’s a lesson to be learned, and that is that you don’t have to respond to everyone – not every tweet is a ticket. Even if it’s in your nature as a customer service org to do so – maybe you even get ranked or (gasp!) compensated on response time and percentage of the time you respond – not everyone merits a response.

Social analytics tools can tell you who does merit that response and help you serve those people better – even if you don’t decide to use social scoring to order your queue. And isn’t responding to the right people and serving them better exactly what the job should be?

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