EFFICIENT Social Customer Service: How to do it Right

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social customer service, social analytics, social media

One thing we heard at social customer service conference last year, after talking with a lot of folks in the social customer service field, was that people were afraid admit they prioritized customers in their queue. Social customer service is the greatest thing since sliced bread – in the C-Suite – but its not going to do anyone any good unless we unlock its full potential.  Prioritizing is an essential skill in any position.  When it comes to social customer service, prioritizing doesn’t mean that you value one customer over another.  It means that your time – as a social customer service rep – is better spent with Mrs A, than Mr B. We’re looking forward to returning to the same conference what’s changed since last year.

We can’t argue that there are definitely high-value customers who deserve a little extra attention, whether that value is derived from how much revenue they represent or how much impact they have on the market and on the folks who may become future customers. Equally, we’ve heard reports of people who have yet to purchase the product calling customer service about the likelihood of future issues – seriously.  We think there’s actually a better organizing principle: Social Profiles.

A quick peek at a person’s social profile – before answering their email / tweet / message or while their on hold – can lead to a world of insight on how  to approach the problem.  You may even be able to find a new type of solution for the larger customer set.  In any event, a glance at their social profile can…

  • Tell you where the issue originates before you engage.  Now, you can lead with a solution.
  • Allow you to correlate their social profile to an account in your system. Avoid having to ask them to DM you account info before you engage.  Avoid non-customers.
  • Avoid scammers or competitors calling to gather information.  Surprisingly, this is a very common occurrence.
  • Find a way to relate to the individual.  If they like mountain biking, use a mountain biking metaphor or tell a mountain biking story.
  • Discover which social platform is the best to respond.  Maybe they tweeted you for help, but their profile hasn’t been active for 2 weeks, and before that even longer.  Better to respond by email.

At a minimum, you should look before you leap. 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 with social customer service.

Here’s a great example. 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 customer service tools, like mPACT, can tell you who does merit that response, prioritize those responses, and help you serve your customers better.  This is just an extension of our guiding mission (right offer, right time, right channel): make the right response, to the right person, on the right digital channel.

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