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Getting Started with Social Customer Service

Guest Author

Guest Blogger: Aphrodite
, Senior Analyst at Ovum

In my last
I talked about the value of using social channels to support your
customer service efforts.  Here I’ll talk
about understanding the most relevant social media tools and how to handle
queries and issues.

The first step is recognizing the types of social media that
are most valuable for your organization. This can be overwhelming since social tools
include photo, video or music sharing apps, comments and ratings on retail
sites, blogs and messaging services. However, three mediums prevail as the most
relevant for social customer service today:

  • Facebook is probably the most valuable. Usage is
    high and many businesses have already set up Pages for marketing purposes. Customers
    can ask questions to peers as well as send questions and feedback to businesses
    via wall posts or private messages.

  • Twitter, like Facebook, offers a simple platform
    for customers to vent about issues or reach out directly to a brand. The
    majority of comments are public because direct messages are only allowed if the
    two parties are ‘following’ one another. Twitter is an ideal forum for
    complaints and quick questions. Posts must short (less than 140 characters) and
    information flow is very fast.

  • Forums are also useful for customer service.
    Enterprise-managed forums require customers to be authenticated before posting,
    and organizations can then match users with exiting customer records. Information
    on these sites relates specifically to products or brands and queries are often
    answered by peers rather than the organization itself. Enterprises can link to this
    crowd sourced knowledge from within Twitter and Facebook to provide a more
    detailed explanation of a resolution.

The technology stack

Social media monitoring is the starting point for any
organization. And while this has typically been implemented by marketing, customer
service teams also need to be aware of posts and interactions in order to
determine when to reach out and offer support. As the number of social
interactions increases, it is important to automatically pull relevant social
posts into the contact center using one of the many social monitoring

In addition to monitoring, enterprises looking to implement
social customer service solutions require tools that will help them to route
and manage interactions as they do voice and email. As more customers turn to
social for support, customer service organizations will need better technology to
help them handle and manage large numbers of Tweets, Facebook posts, reviews
and comments. As shown in the graphic below, the stepped process for managing social interactions consists of:

  1. Categorize: Enterprises need to extract relevant and actionable messages from among
    personal tweets and noise. They should set rules in order to group interactions
    into categories which could include: product, website, technical or billing.

  2. Route
    and queue:
    Based on the categorization groups, interactions can then be sent
    to the most suitable agent to handle the response.

  3. Answer: Enterprises should train agents with the types of response they believe to be
    most relevant for common queries, creating guidelines that help agents to
    respond appropriately.

  4. Escalate: In some instances social interactions will need to be completed in another
    channel, particularly where private details or booking information needs to be

  5. Store
    and manage
    : Similarly to queries across alternate channels, social
    interactions should be recorded and where possible tied to a customer record.

  6. Analyze: Post interaction analysis is just as important for social media as with other
    channels. By using text analytics and natural language understanding
    enterprises can pinpoint trends to find common issues based on historical
    social communications and prevent issues before they escalate.

Finally, social media should not be seen as a siloed channel.
Language can be more colloquial, the customer user base may have a slightly
different profile and the queries may be simpler but this doesn’t mean social
should be neglected from your customer service strategy. Interactions need to
be pulled into the agent desktop and handled in a timely manner alongside
traditional communications. Customer issues should be resolved with minimal
effort from the customer, and agents equipped to answer a question in social or
provide an option to speak with a customer in another channel.

You can follow me on twitter @diteb.

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