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How to integrate social media with customer service — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Evan Perkins of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

10:15 —’s Lauren Clevenger introduces U.S. Cellular’s Social Media Manager, Sonny Gill.

10:16 — Sonny: Where do you start? That’s the big question we must all ask. You need to first understand your business, you social communities, and your customers (what are they asking for). Think, “What did we learn?” Sonny realized that his customers wanted help in social. It is faster than phone/email.

10:18 — Sonny says that his program lives in their call center because customers tend to have questions in two big buckets:

  1. Technical questions about products
  2. Account related questions

10:20 — Sonny: Next, you must find your team. Integration is key. You need to identify the business unit involved. Think people + logistics — it’s not only about social.

10:21 — Sonny: After that, think of goals for the year. This is important for building the team (staffing models, hours of operation, hiring process, scheduling) and coaching. Sonny says that they have dedicated social customer service reps, they do not have other duties like phone or email. You also need to have qualified SMEs and people who are good communicators.

10:23 — Sonny: Coaching is an important aspect. You need a manager who can coach in the day-to-day specifics, determine the schedule and hours of operation, etc.

10:25 — Sonny says measurement is key. You need to determine what is important to both teams and also assign someone who mangoes the reporting. You can measure individual and team performance (SLA, average handling time, # of social issues routed, # of social issues resolved). Sonny established a baseline to respond on social in one hour or less, and they hope for 100% of issues to be resolved. These metrics help to create efficiencies in the program.

10:28 — Sonny: No one tool is a jack-of-all-trades. Every tool has both strengths and weaknesses. You need to understand what’s most important to you (e.g. reporting dashboards, workflow for team, macros or automated routing, stream views, etc.) and make a decision based upon that criteria. Don’t simply pick a tool because another brand has had success with it.

10:32 — You need to visualize competing tools’ capabilities. Check out all tools in person to evaluate them. Some look great on paper but don’t really stack up. An important piece of evaluating is to bring vendors in, get demos, and see if they can show your process in their tool.

10:34 — Sonny talks about how training is an important component of implementing any tool. His reps are the voice of the organization and the face of the brand. They have to make sure that the team understands the importance of the program and their role.

10:35 — Sonny: You need to continuously refresh the tools and the team (training, programs).

Q & A:

Q: Your business is unique in that you have customers visit your brick-and-mortar stores. Has your implementation of social changed that traffic?

A: Sonny: We haven’t necessarily looked at foot-traffic, but we hope that we can encourage more localized conversations in-store via the program.

Q: How do you handle things from a competitive standpoint?

A: Sonny: We listen to our competitors and originally dabbled in proactive outreach to competitors’ customers, but they did not find that those people could be considered “warm leads.” In other words, it is like cold-calling and we didn’t find it that effective.

Q: What percentage of calls or messages do you have to move to another medium like phone or email due to the technical nature of the request?

A: Sonny: Probably about 5-10% that are too technical to handle via social. However, there are a lot of questions that we cannot answer due to the sensitive nature of personal information re: their account.

Q: Does your one-hour response time pose an issue for your reps to do adequate research?

A: Sonny: Yes it does. We provide them tools via the CRM and our SMMS. They can quickly check historical data to view past conversations in social, phone, or email.

Q: How do you deal with outreach notification when you have geographic issues which might affect small areas?

A: Sonny: We created a process with a manger from our social team and another from our engineering team. The managers are focused on letting one another know of issues that might be popping up that the other isn’t aware of quite yet. It helps them stay ahead of issues.

Q: What channels do you currently manage?

A: Sonny: Facebook and Twitter are the main channels. Facebook is the more active of the two. We do put ratings and reviews and FAQs on our website, too.

December 10, 2013 0 comments

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