9 Steps Towards the Optimal Online Customer Service [Part 1]

20 September 2016 11:27 by Maartje Beelen in Online Customer Service

9 Steps Towards the Optimal Online Customer Service [Part 1]

Do you want to optimise your customer service on social media and come close to 100% happy customers? Here are 9 recommendations on how to optimally shape your social media activities for customer service.

Dozens of our team members converse daily with our product users. Our customer support team, accountmanagers, consultants, social media experts all see how our users have set up customer engagement via social media. There’s one thing they all agree on: these days customer service on social media is rising to a more professional level.

Nevertheless we still see struggles. Some companies are afraid to take the first steps to offering service through social media. And there is also doubt about ownership: should the communication department handle all social media activities or should it be a second task for the customer service department? There is no holy grail. No company has the exact same strategies and set-up.

Do you want to start with or optimise your customer service on social media and come closer to 100% happy customers? Here are the first 4 recommendations on how to optimally shape your social media activities for customer service.

1. Use workflow settings to work faster

Of course, personal contact is super important in customer service, but efficiency is too. Managers navigate on service levels and response times. How can you match the efficiency boost with personal contact?

For this purpose you can use software settings that allows a custom, automatic workflow that matches your service process. You can automatically divide messages or client cases under your agents based on subject, platform, priority, sentiment or author type by setting up and assigning engagement feeds. You can also have the messages appear in different inbox columns filtered by subject, priority, product, client group or social media platform. Lastly, set in the system which people can use which social media account to respond, who needs approval for his or her messages and how the automatic signature of your agents looks like. It will save you lots of time in the future.

We often see that our users repeat a specific action throughout the day. For example, a question enters your inbox that you as an agent cannot answer and that needs to be answered by someone on the Mortgages Support team. You want to assign the message to Joe of the Mortgages team, assign the labels ‘Question’ and ‘Mortgages’, add the memo “Hi Joe, can you look at this for me?” and you want to respond to the actual person “Thanks for your question! I forwarded it to my customer support colleague Joe and he will answer you within two hours. ^YR”.

An another example: you want to ‘like’ every Twitter, Facebook and Instagram message that you assign the label ‘Compliment’ to. Such actions are relatively labour-intensive, while you perform these strings of actions maybe thirty times a day.

With macro settings you can save these strings of actions as one action. That can be e.g. a standard reply, assigning a label or assigning to a person or a combination of those. In this way, you can semi-automate your social customer engagement: you are in charge, but you can also push a button to activate a string of specific actions.

2. Assess the mood of the customer

Customer engagement via social media is often even better for customer support than a telephone conversation. With social media software, you have already the information you need at hand to help a customer. It immediately shows profile information from the social web, client information from CRM and the conversation history when a message enters your inbox. That means that you don’t have to explicitly ask for client ids and contact moments in the past, and you can immediately focus on solving the customer’s problem or providing the information the client needs.

Check the general sentiment of the customer. Is it a notorious yellowbelly? Or is it not a troll, but all his or her messages about your product, service or shop are negative? Try to be extra nice in your conversation by using positive words. And maybe you can do something extra to make this person happy.

Another tip is to look at the combination of general sentiment and CRM information. In this way you can for instance choose to give that loyal customer that is complaining on Twitter a call to settle his mood.

3. Assign only one contact person per client case

One conversation with a customer is a collection of public and private messages between you and one author with one specific subject. This potentially can include 100 messages, which means 100 messages will clutter your agents’ inboxes. You can avoid this and make sure that no other agent accidentally mixes himself in the conversation by using automatic client case management. In this way, everybody has its own contact person in your team and he or she can take ownership of a specific client case.

Furthermore, it improves the workflow of the whole team. You are the only one that sees the corresponding messages, so that you and your colleagues can keep track. Only when you actively transfer a client case, the other agent can immediately see the customer details, such as conversation history, general sentiment, list membership and team memos, and the case messages will be transferred to his inbox.

After you replied to a client message, the case automatically transfers from your inbox to ‘Pending’. The conversation appears in your inbox again when the client has responded to your reply. At the moment that the client changes the subject of the conversation (“Thanks for you solving my WIFI problem, but now the signal to my digital television is interrupted”), you can complete the client case and start a new one.

Client case management helps the customer, because he only has to deal with just one person, and it helps the agent because he doesn’t have to work around an open case in his inbox.   

Coosto Software for customer engagement and customer service

4. Measure exactly how many clients you’ve helped

A telephone conversation doesn’t usually end before the question is answered, while on social media it often takes multiple messages to give someone an answer. And sometimes the discussion starts in public and ends with some private messages. One telephone call is thus not equal to one social media message. We see that many agents that want to assess how many clients they’ve helped tend to count the number of authors they’ve spoken to instead of the number of sent messages. Both is suboptimal, because one author normally has multiple interactions with the customer service during a longer period of time.

It’s more realistic to measure the number of client cases instead of the number of sent messages, because you then measure how many people your team has actually helped. And you can measure the actual response time per case instead of per message, which often really variates. Furthermore, the customer service manager can better measure the real-time status of open and closed client cases.  That’s why automatic client case management isn’t only useful for performance, but also for measuring your customer service performance. 


I presented recommendations 5 to 9 in part two of the blog. But of course, I'm also very interested in your own tips and recommendations! Please share them via a comment below.

Read part 2 of this blog