There are two key differences between mainstream and social customer service.
First is the switch from private to public engagement.
Organisations and customers are still waking up to the consequential upsides and downsides.
The second is that your channel mix for social customer service is now a decision driven by your customers. Moreover they often expect you to find them. This article explores the implications of this second point and recommends how organisations should plan for this.
Unlike traditional customer service in which the organisation controls both channel mix and service wrapper, the dynamics of social customer service are reversed. We as customers discovered social networks long before the business world cottoned on. We still set the pace in how they can be used. Individuals such as Dave Carroll (United Breaks Guitars) and Hasan Syed (BA Loses Luggage) teach the rest of us how to leverage social networks in the cause of publicising poor service.
It is most important in this volatile environment that organisations recognise some home truths.
- First they are playing catch up. This experience is not likely to go away anytime soon. Social networks are in the centre of the whole Digital Disruption trend: a transformation only just underway. The lesson is that rapid evolution remains the norm
- Thinking you can understand social customer needs through traditional listening techniques such as post interaction surveys is the equivalent of trying to watch a Hollywood blockbuster through a pinhole. Keeping up has to be tackled in an altogether more fundamental way
Acting on these insights will lead forward thinking organisations to map and monitor their own social customer service ecosystem. Those who have been involved in the P&Q campaign will recognise this approach to integrated planning.
In terms of planning assumptions, the first thing to recognise is that your customers’ social habits are unique. Maybe not in terms of being on the ‘big’ social networks of the day; many of them will be. But what about the less obvious places? They use all manner of forums and online resources as part of their digital lifestyle. The topic of your organisation can be mentioned anywhere.
For this you need a scalable solution for listening. Social media monitoring can quickly plot where your organisation is mentioned. Obviously not all ‘mentions’ are going to be service related. Nor necessarily will they originate from customers for that matter.
This leads to a key planning activity that I’m simply going to mention within the confines of this article. How proactive do you intend to be? Some would argue every mention merits a response. Others decline through limited bandwidth. You and your Marketing colleagues will need a common plan of action to answer this. One which both teams should anticipate will change over time.
Visualising The Ecosystem
As I said earlier, it is easier to recognise demand for traditional customer service because the customer has to use the channels on offer which are directly plumbed into your service environment. [...]