An article published on PR Squared last month gave us all something interesting to think about. It consisted of an overview of what Frank Eliason, the SVP of Social Media at Citibank felt about social media as a channel for customer service, and how companies are failing at it. Eliason addresses several issues within the customer service business, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of these issues we’ve spoken about here at the Percepta Blog. Briefly condensing Eliason’s and our views:
Who owns Social Media Customer Service?
Where does customer service via social media sit within your company? Is it considered a function governed primarily by your Marketing Team, your PR team or your Customer Services Department? This needs to be defined by every organisation, social media isn’t just a plug-in channel to rest of your business. It has the power to alter your brand image, because it gives you the power to connect with consumers and potential consumers, and also gives you the power to decide what you want to do with social media. There are no fixed rules. Define your strategy, and get the support you need by:
Getting senior management buy in
Everyone within the company, specially those with the power to make decisions, needs to understand the significance and potential of social media. As with Customer Experience Management, social media needs to be supported by every department, and the heads of these departments should be aware of the strategy. Social Media provides opportunity for several functions within an organisation. There’s no reason why your organisation shouldn’t be making the best of it.
Frank Eliason believes an organisation shouldn’t channel their focus on to customers with high Klout (social influence) scores. Previously on this blog, we’ve spoken about influence measurement and its importance in social media customer service, as well as the Net Promoter Score and its relevance in today’s digitally focussed times. While we know social influence scores and the NPS score do convey an important customer insight, it isn’t and shouldn’t be a standalone metric. They need to be used in conjunction with customer surveys and other methods of customer insight gathering. After all, if a customer has a higher social influence score, he/she isn’t necessarily an influencer in your field of business, and a customer with a low Klout score has the potential to create content that could go viral.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better! The key to successful customer service, whether online or offline depends on whether you place the customer at the heart of your business. Make customer and customer service and integral part of your business strategy and you will be able to serve better. That seems obvious enough, but considering social media customer service and all the debate around its success rates and calculating RoI, remember success is a metric you define for your business. Make your approach to social media service customer centric and you will be able to understand your customers’ needs and create a winning strategy. Those are my thoughts, what do you think are the key steps in delivering successful social media customer service?