social customer service

4 Ways to Utilize Social Customer Service Agents More Effectively

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Everyone is talking about removing siloes these days and trying to find practical ways of blending marketing and social customer service. Of course, it’s important to realize these departments overlap, in part because great customer service stories go viral and make brands stand out as reliable, responsive and fun to interact with. In short, social customer service is the new marketing. 

But not every company has a budget big enough to allow agents to stay on the line if possible, or to send free gifts and discounts on a whim. For subject matter experts (SMEs) and companies that need to closely monitor the bottom line (and doesn’t everyone?), the challenge is to utilize customer service agents more effectively, so you can increase engagement without adding more resources. Social customer service software gives agents the technology to work more efficiently, but some companies are still thinking in the old framework, when not only were marketing and customer service separate, agents were either for phones OR for online communication.

How can we realize the full potential of our existing customer service staff and really reap the benefits of digital customer service? The first step is to know agents better. But that’s only part of the challenge. Let’s take a closer look at 4 ways to utilize social customer service agents more effectively.

1) Allow agents to work across channels

One of the biggest advantages of social customer service software is that it gives agents a complete, real-time picture of ongoing customer conversations across digital channels. The software finds and collects customer queries and brand mentions, and presents them to agents in a comprehensive, organized way. We’ve come a long way from the days of sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring.

Using the right social customer service software allows you to increase engagement without increasing resources. That’s what brands like T-Mobile did. Since leveraging digital-first omnichannel software and changing the way they kept customer service agents siloed into different channels such as email or live chat, T-Mobile has increased ticket resolution by 69% and increased customer engagement, without hiring more agents. Digital customer service helps agents work smarter, not harder.

Key point: Social customer service software lets agents monitor and engage customers on multiple channels at the same time.

2) Fine-tune KPIs to emphasize resolution

Many companies that have taken the step of integrating digital customer service still emphasize KPIs like First Response Time (FRT). It’s easy to understand what they’re thinking: no customer wants to wait very long to get a response. However, simply meeting this KPI can mean that agents respond quickly to customers because they are being monitored by how fast they get in touch. Once that first contact has been established, the customer’s query can languish unsolved without resulting in a missed KPI.

Social customer service is all about results. Yes, customers are impatient, but if your service isn’t results-driven it’s not going to lead to long-term loyalty. Knowing that the brand is listening is important for positive customer experience, but customers really want to know that the brand can quickly solve problems. Emphasizing resolution allows your agents to deal with each customer query as it arises while prioritizing queries that are especially urgent. This increases efficiency and makes your customers happy. 

Key point: First Response Time is only valuable if it is results-driven. Concentrate on First Contact Resolution to ensure customers only must ask once.

3) Show agents the bigger picture with CRM

Customer service on social media doesn’t just allow agents to work faster and more efficiently, it also has the potential to tell them who customers are in more detail than the classic call center software ever could. Think about it: social media is full of information, and the right social customer service software combines that data with details about the customer’s previous engagements with the brand. This gives agents a fuller picture of who each customer is and how they can make a connection with them.

Giving agents more information about each customer helps them connect in real ways while providing the solutions the customer needs. When agents know more about customers, they are more prepared to delight them. That, combined with results-driven service, inspires positive emotions and leads to brand loyalty.

Key point: Use CRM to keep agents informed about customers and to help them make human connections.

4) Route customers intelligently

When you know your customers better you can also make sure they get in touch with the best agent for them. There is an ideal agent for every customer, someone who might be uniquely positioned to serve them, whether because of channel or subject matter expertise, or because they’re both from the Bronx. Intelligent omnichannel routing ensures that these matches happen every time. 

When customers are routed to the best agent for them, they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome of their customer service query. They will feel a real connection with the brand. That’s the root of positive customer experience, which inspires loyalty and helps brands stand out from the competition.

Key point: Use intelligent routing to build long-term relationships between agents and customers.