Last week i had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop on developing a social customer care strategy at the annual conference for SOCAP the association for customer care professionals. Many of the conversations took me back to a past life where I worked on a reservations knowledge management solution for a large air line.
A key dilemma customer care professionals face is that good service and bad service generate word of mouth. It just spreads farther and faster via social channels. To illustrate this point i ran a quick report. On one extreme I used “awesome customer service” and on the other “customer service sucks”. As you can see it was nearly split down the middle.
So what does this mean. Well according to Forrester “good customer service experiences boost repurchase probability and long-term loyalty,” while bad experiences lead to defections and negative word of mouth.
To make the conversation a little more lively and get a pulse of the room we did a real time poll. “Who should own the social media strategy”.
Like many times when this question is asked, it depends on who you ask. As you will see many selected “no one”. This led to an interesting discussion about the need for each business unit to have a social media strategy to achieve their objectives but the need for cross functional collaboration to ensure the customer experience was optimal.
The focus on the customer and how to best serve them and not market to them was also resonate a theme. Speaking of customers. Identifying the most social customers and their goals for interacting on social channels is an important input into a social customer care strategy.
After spending time discussing approaches for active listening we moved into a lively discussion about the barriers of a successful customer care program.
We had dozens listed but some clusters started to form.
– Cross functional collaboration to ensure the right person is acting on what customers are saying. Which is even more complicated when a brand is global and the replies are at a local level.
– Building a metrics model that links to business strategy and has indicators built in to inform when to scale a team.
– Developing a customer advocate program that rewards customer for helping one another.
No conversation with customer care professionals would be complete without a discussion on social CRM. This was another place where I conducted a poll. Only about 5% of the room said they were actively deploying a social CRM. As we peeled back the reasons why more people were not deploying social CRM it seemed like a function of how far along these organizations were in their use of social media for customer support.
As you look to extend customer care programs into social media ensure you have the proper customer management processes, dedicated teams to listen & engage and cross organization collaboration amongst all groups engaging customers thru social media.