Is your contact centre ready for a social media Christmas?

12 November 2013 by Dionne Lackey
With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, the big question for consumers is: are businesses ready to deliver outstanding social customer service?

Besides all the presents and great food, Christmas brings with it huge amounts of customer enquiries and customer complaints. This time of year is stressful for any business, but through careful preparation business may be better equipped to deal with this busy time of the year.

We already know that social customer service is past the stage of infancy; customers are already using it and many brands are now moving towards providing really effective social customer service:

  • 70% of businesses are anticipated to use social media as part of their customer service programs by mid 2014.
  • Companies delivering customer support through social media achieve superior gains -7.5% v's 2.9%.
  • Adoption of social customer care programs increased fivefold from 12% in 2010 to 59% in 2013.
  • 55% of consumers now expect companies to provide customer service via social media sites such as Facebook.
  • 46% of consumers have used social media to vent their frustrations about a poor service experience.


Open Up to Social Customer Service

If you haven't already done so, expanding your customer service channels out to social media or messaging apps is one way to improve customer experience this Christmas. With more and more customers turning to social media to solve problems, there is a clear reason brands should be present in this space. It helps to remember that customers are 150% more likely to churn if they feel ignored on social channels, so listening and responding is crucial if you want to succeed at social customer service.

Perhaps the really scary part for brands is that social channels are never closed for business. It goes without saying that you're unable to be there 100% of the time, you'll need to ensure that your customers know this. Making sure that your Twitter account and Facebook Page link to other places where customers can receive assistance is the minimum you should do. Having a customer support community that's 'always on' is a great resource at busy times.

Contact centres will obviously need to well staffed over Christmas and social channels will also require extra resource Customers are likely to swap from channel to channel and it is important the agent dealing with their query are able to identify where they have come from and communicate effective and quickly to get the issue solved:

  • 42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications.

Evidently, agent training plays a large part in ensuring effective social customer service. Without the right skills set or business knowledge, contact centre staff can feel overwhelmed when faced with the large volumes of incoming requests, especially in a real-time environment. "Soft skills" training might be extra useful during the holiday period to help agents in engaging with customers on a deeper emotional level. Parents who think their child's present isn't right or won't arrive on time for Christmas day can present a pretty fearsome online presence.

Of course, hand in hand with pressure and emotion comes opportunity. Online Christmas sales are likely to break records once again, so positive responses to social customer service offer the lure of instant dividends.

If you've planned your social customer service for the worst, you might just receive the greatest gift of all:vocally happy customers.

For more on managing customer service on Twitter try our guide. 

Guide: Twitter Customer Service Explained

Tags: social media marketing, Social Media Strategy, Customer Service, statistics, social integration, christmas, social customer service

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