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Paolo Fabrizio
February 6, 2017

The Must-Have’s of a Social Customer Service Platform

Social Customer Service platform

‘Hey Paolo, what’s the best Social Customer Service platform for my business’? This is a question I often get asked that can not be answered with a tweet. In fact, by the time a brand is searching for a ‘digital dashboard’ to interact with different channels with customers, they should have already planned their overall customer service strategy.  

They should, but actually they often don’t.

That’s why in this post I’m going to show you what to do before choosing a platform and which criteria to consider in order to find the best fit for your brand.

First and foremost: did you do your homework?

Before looking for a Social Customer Service platform, it is paramount that specific actions are taken in order to effectively set up your plan. This brings a double benefit: it will enable you to take the right decisions and, at the same time, you’ll keep management engaged. So when it comes to Social Customer Service, having a plan is crucial. It’s not by chance that I dedicated an entire section of my book to this topic.

Below you’ll find 9 essential steps for a successful Social Customer Service (SCS) strategy:

  1. Set your goalswhy do you want to integrate social networks into your customer service / contact centre?
  2. Do (pro)active listeningwhat are your customers and prospects saying about your brand? What are their feelings?
  3. Choose the right channels Did you carefully choose what channels you want to integrate? (e.g. Facebook or Twitter – why?)
  4. Set up a dedicated SCS teamdid you select the candidates with the proper skills? (Conversations over social network are public!)
  5. Train your team – Did you provide your newly created SCS team with technical and behavioral training? (Different channels = different tone of voice to use with customers)
  6. Define policies & guidelinesWhat are your social customer agents allowed to say? When and how should they say these things? What are the escalation rules?
  7. Prepare an anti-crisis planAre you monitoring online conversations (see step.2)? Who will answer/ take a stand on behalf of the brand? And of course, when will these things happen?
  8. Choose your Social Customer Service platform what technical features do you really need to have? 
  9. Measure ROIDid you define your KPIs? What / How often will you measure your efforts? (back to step. 1)

As you can see, choosing the SCS platform is almost at the end of the above list. That is by design ! So, in such cases, my first question for brands is: did you do your homework?

Your Social Customer Care strategy should be aligned to your company strategy, as well as to your overall customer service one. – Kate Leggett, VP at Forrester Research  

What is a Social Customer Service platform 

When you’re ready to choose your Social Customer Service platform, you need to know that there are many out there: However, if you want to detect those that are really with that main purpose of customer support, you need to know more. Let’s start off defining it…

A Social Customer Service platform is a unique digital dashboard that :

  • Enables agents to provide omni-channel customer support (e.g. social networks, email, instant messaging apps)
  • Provide team leader / supervisors with in-depth reporting & analytics (e.g. KPIs, agents, productivity)
  • Is fully scalable (as per number of staff and channels)

What cannot miss (must-have’s)

As for the ingredients of this platform, here are the essential ones:

  • Platform can be integrated with client’s CRM
  • Tasks allocations to agents (e.g. as per skills, topics, language skills)
  • Social listening capability (to proactively detect and intercept issues before they might affect brand reputation)
  • Sentiment interactions tracking
  • Anti-collision detection (to prevent agents replying customers if a colleague has already done so)
  • Pre-approval replying messages (when a supervisor needs to check and authorize replies  – e.g. regarding a customer complaint)
  • KPI customizable settings (as per metrics and time-lapse)
  • Easy accessible reporting & analytics (exportable in .xls and or csv. formats)
  • Internal knowledge base (to add standard responses and/or ready-to-use answers)

USEFUL READ → after so many technical features, I’m sure you’re curious to know more about the main providers. So enjoy a review of the best Social Customer Service platforms according to TopTenReviews.com. Here is another good list, provided by the guys at G2Crowd.com.

Your turn

Social media convey a growing number of customer service interactions. Consequently brands need to optimize internal workflows and also invest in rock-solid Social Customer Service platforms that are suitable to their specific needs. Remember your primary goals: increasing productivity and providing fast-effective customer support.

Are you ready to stand out from your competitors?

 

Featured image: Unsplash.com

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Profile photo of Paolo Fabrizio

Paolo Fabrizio

Paolo Fabrizio is Social CRM, Blogger, Speaker. He is a pioneer of online customer service, taking part of insurance start-ups since the 90's. An eclectic gentleman obsessed by Social Customer Service. Multilingual professional, passionate about rugby and serial smiler