Making Customers So Happy Together – Tips on Working with a Customer Service Team as a Social Media Pro

Working in social media, the first thing many social media pros come to realize is the true depth of the relationship that needs to form between a corporate social media practitioner or team and their colleagues in customer service. Customer service is one of the original social functions within a business.

As a social media manager (or whatever your title may be), one of the strongest relationships you should look to form within your organization is with your customer service team.

Here are 5 tips for making that relationship as strong as possible:

1) Consider their viewpoint

To a social media manager, more is more. If your community isn’t talking to you frequently, you may start to worry.

Your colleagues in customer service likely see it differently – the less they hear from customers, the better their world is.

How can this be? You both have the same goal – building a strong, happy community of loyal customers. The vantage point of how you get there is a bit different, though – in the world of customer service, it’s often true that the fewer times a customer needs to reach out, the happier they are.

2) Metrics matter

Understanding your company’s customer service metrics will help you work across team lines – and it may even help you identify your own measures, too.

A few questions you’ll want to answer:

• Will all contacts via social media be ‘counted’ among customer service metrics?

It’s easy to say no, but remember that customer service metrics are often used in measuring business performance and rolling your customer feedback via social media in to the greater customer service metrics may help both teams to properly impact the business.

• How will the customer service team get access to customer feedback left on social platforms?

There are a number of tools (such as Radian6, Conversocial and Parature) available to help capture this feedback in a way that a customer service team can integrate with.

• Does your customer service team track both positive and negative feedback?

Remember that if you’re only sending your customer service team the negative feedback, there’s a good chance you’re skewing their metrics as many organizations consider positive feedback, as well.

3) Be clear on ownership

It is becoming more and more common for customer service teams to take responsibility for responding to customer feedback on social platforms. It should be very clear to everyone in an organization how customer feedback is managed across all media.

If customer service is responding to feedback, what is the process that you’ll use to make sure the customer service team informs the social media team or vice versa?

4) Communicate often

Set-up a brief weekly (or more frequent, if you have a high enough volume of customer contact) calibration meeting for customer service and social media teams to come together. These meetings should be used to identify trends in customer feedback and agree on a consistent response for each trend area.

Also, teams should be sure that both groups have access to the same knowledge base. This may be as simple as sending an email when a new customer question and the correct answer are identified. It may be as complex as an actual shared database. Decide what works for your teams and then stick to it.

5) Practice the golden rule

This is the most straight-forward, but it’s always good advice. Treat others as you would like to be treated. It goes for your colleagues; it goes for your customers.

Nicole DeRuiter is the Social Media Manager for Fresh & Easy. Ask Nicole about the tools she uses to manage social media for a grocery chain with 200+ stores around the country. She’ll be one of four speakers at our September 24 SMCLA event on retail, ecommerce and the holiday season. See you there!