Social Customer Service: Program Improvements

I recently read a post over at Jay Baer’s blog that studied how big brands ranked in social customer service when put to the test. The results of the study/infographic, which was conducted by Software Advice, can be found at the end but there are areas of the study that stuck out for me.

What I found interesting about the results were the varying levels of importance brands have put on responding to customer service inquiries. “Importance” being measured through speed, efficiency, and quality. Maybe my expectations are high but these brands have areas of improvement and is a sign that social customer service has a huge growth opportunity for many brands, big and small. The post touched on 4 specific lessons based on this study but below are a few thoughts that sparked in my head after reading it:

Social vs. CS Team

There’s something to be said about determining your approach to social customer service and whether you implement a team that has a high social aptitude (higher CS learning curve but understands the social space) or a team built through your customer service division and are the subject matter experts in resolving customer issues (high CS IQ, minimal to no social knowledge). Which one is the more efficient team for your company? I’ll follow-up with another post on this, as I’ve been thinking a lot about these two approaches, but I want to make sure we’re thinking about this.


An organization’s ability to scale is one of the most important parts of a social customer service program, especially if you’re a large brand or one that runs on providing accurate AND continuous service. Scale comes in direct relation to resources – whether it be people, dollars, or tools. Do the brands in this study have a staffing issue or is it that their process to workflow customer messages is in a place that doesn’t allow them to efficiently answer every inquiry?

If your organization wants to focus on the ability to answer effectively to all service related posts/tweets, then you have to dig into understanding your communities, forecasting service level expectations, and looking at staffing and platform models that will help you efficiently scale your program.

Queries & Streams

Prioritization was touched upon in the original post but it’s something that bugs me. If companies are just looking at a few keywords (thank you, love, hate, etc.), then they’re missing a big chunk of consumers that they could be helping.

Setting up multiple streams for your various social channels, along with customer/prospect related search queries, will help maximize/build upon your response efficiency (laddersup to scale) and not make it appear to customers that you only respond to certain people, thus creating a sour experience for that person.

Tool Time

Yes, the tool does come last but tying in the qualities mentioned in the original post, along with knowing the above structure of what your team setup, scaling, and response triggers are will dramatically help you in the process of finding the right tool that fits what your company is trying to accomplish.

There are plenty out there. Some that are very robust but may be too much for what you’re looking for. While others don’t have quite enough to accomplish your goals. Determine your overall strategy and how you plan to workflow customer issues and you will make your RFP process go a lot smoother.

In the mean time, take a look at the infographic by Software Advice below and share your thoughts on where you think social customer service is right now and can go in the future.


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