Paolo Fabrizio
April 4, 2016

Is Social Customer Service just for big brands?

Brands size

39111221_mA few days ago I was in Rome to promote my book. So far I’ve been touring four cities and I’m very glad that the audience has always been very participatory. One of the most frequent question I’ve been asked is the title above ↑. That did not surprise me since many people wonder whether Social Customer Service fits also for SMEs.

As this issue is being been debated in many different markets, I’ve decided to write this post to offer you my personal point of view about it.

Copy and paste doesn’t work

When it comes to online customer service, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is underestimating the consequences of adding new customer service channels. 

That’s wrong and risky, especially if you opt for outsourcing.

In fact, even though it’s technically easy to set up a Facebook fan page or a Twitter handle for your brand, you have to be organized and prepared in order to run them well = (i.e. providing customers with effective responses in a timely manner). Therefore if you plan to integrate social networks into your customer service, take into account the impact of some variables on your business 

TIME AND MONEY → integrating a new channel, especially if social, implies investing time and money. First of all, ask yourself this question before taking any further action: ‘am I willing to invest on (social) customer service?’  If you’re not fully sure about that, you’re not ready yet for this step. Maybe you’d better focus on improving your current customer service channels performances.

VOLUMES OF SOCIAL CONVERSATIONS → estimate in advance your daily/weekly/monthly average volume of incoming queries via social networks. Furthermore, consider that consumers have higher expectations in terms of timing and efficiency when asking brands questions via social

STAFF TRAINING → being a good customer service assistant is not enough to become a social customer service one. Even the most experienced staff needs to be properly trained on technical skills (how to use the social network you’ve chosen) as well as on soft skills (how to behave with customers on social channels which are public!) 

Different sizes and budgets for a personalized approach

different customer service size


I’ve read an interesting article on DestinationCRM which illustrated two different Social Customer Service models. These kind of approach is very close to mine because when I advise brands on Social Customer Service I tend to divide them into two main categories based on different size and structure:

  • Brands that already have a customer service department with fully dedicated staff willing to invest money to integrate digital channels in order to improve their business results (increasing retention and attracting new customers)
  • Brands that don’t have enough staff/budget to set up a Social Customer Service; however they’re willing to invest (lower) budget to increase customer satisfaction for the same above mentioned goal

I do that to help them reach their goals combining their customers expectations. Essentially by listening to brands, their customers, then offering them personalized solutions (especially when it comes to decide whether/which channel to integrate).

Your turn

In Social Customer Service ‘one size fits all’ does not work at all. Conversely, everything starts from LISTENING.

So involve your customers, ask them what customer service channels they prefer/dislike and which they’d like to use to get in touch with your brand. Afterwards, set up a plan according to your budget/staff capability so that you’ll be fully equipped when you go live.

TIP: If you add social channels be ready from day 1 to delight your customers with prompt, effective and crystal clear responses.

How do you feel about that?

Feel free to add your comment below to keep this conversation going on.


Lead/Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan