It is very unattractive to pick up the phone to call a customer service number.

If you feel similar, you are not alone – when it comes to customer service, people are turning to other methods like in-app messaging and social media as the preferred method. For example, over the past year, social messaging, the preferred method of contacting consumers for customer service issues, grew by 110%. Why spend an afternoon on hold when you can simply tweet a brand with your questions or DM?

This shift towards online communications comes at a time when interactions with digital customer service are expected to increase by 40% and the average weekly support requests to increase by 20%. However, direct access through digital channels like social media and increasing the volume of messages can quickly affect a brand’s customer responsiveness. Your customers don’t care that your inbox is filled with hundreds (or thousands) of messages. All they care about is that their inquiries are resolved promptly and efficiently.

In this article, we’re going to show you how Sprout’s tagging capabilities can help even the busiest customer service teams maintain and scale their customer social responsiveness. With an organized tagging strategy, streamlined inbox, and clearly defined roles, brands can create a premium customer service experience that will keep everyone happy.

3 ways to improve customer service with tags

When it comes to customer service, speed is important. According to the Sprout Social IndexTM, 79 percent of consumers expect a response within 24 hours of being contacted on social media. If you manually sort and reply to every incoming message, you will likely not meet this expectation. And few things annoy customers more than feeling like their questions, frustrations, and feedback are being ignored.

Sprout’s tagging capabilities not only allow customer service agents to access all of these messages, but also maintain their responsiveness when the volume of incoming messages increases. Using an inbound tagging strategy, brands can amplify and scale their customer service efforts in three specific ways:

1. Prioritize the most important messages first

Not every customer message requires an immediate response. The response to a compliment, while nice to acknowledge, is nowhere near as important as the response to a disgruntled customer who threatens to cancel their subscription. With tags, customer service reps can easily and quickly categorize incoming messages by type and mood to better manage their responses.

Start by brainstorming all types of messages you are likely to receive on any given day. This includes things like product feedback, complaints, billing issues, service issues, and sales leads. From there, you can apply tags to organize your incoming messages by message type and level of urgency. For example, a complaint about a lost order or a question about billing issues takes precedence over a tweet celebrating a recent product launch. Tags allow customer service teams to quickly sort incoming messages accordingly and determine which messages need immediate attention.

Tags are equally valuable for managing an acute surge in incoming messages following situations like a product recall or a service outage. With Sprout’s advanced plan, team members can set up automated rules to match incoming messages with specific keywords or phrases to a relevant category or agent. This eliminates the need to manually tag messages and gives customer support agents more time to focus on solving the problem at hand.

2. Delegate tasks to your distributed customer service team

With Sprout’s intelligent inbox, you can not only organize your inbox, but also assign messages to specific representatives on your team, regardless of their location. You may have one person responsible for answering all billing inquiries while another customer service representative handles any product-related questions. By tagging specific topics or questions and applying them to incoming messages, you can increase customer response time while getting the most helpful answers possible.

Instagram Contest - Smart Inbox Team Collaboration

For larger customer service teams, tags can also help streamline the Smart Inbox and allow service staff to focus only on the messages they are assigned to. Customer service representatives can create personalized workflows in the Smart Inbox and only view incoming messages that are marked with their name. Tag-based inbox rules allow team leaders to keep their agents informed by routing messages directly to each person’s inbox view and even setting up notifications for high-priority messages.

3. Scale your customer service with ease

As consumers increasingly use social networks to communicate with brands, there will come a time when account managers will need to evaluate whether they need to hire more service staff.

One way to tell if this is the right time to hire is to check the Tag Report and Inbox Team Report. Here you can see the total number of messages assigned to each of your team members, along with the average first response time and average response wait time for messages to which the agent day has been applied. These reports are a great way to assess whether the work is evenly distributed among your team and whether you need additional help to meet the demand. If you find that the average waiting time for replies is tending to increase, it may be a sign that your current team is overflowing with work and unable to keep up with the volume of incoming messages.

Admittedly, the thought of involving customer service reps at a time when incoming messages are showing no signs of slowing down can seem daunting. Thanks to tags, you can bring new team members up to date, what types of messages you regularly receive and how to respond appropriately. Instead of telling new reps how incoming messages are categorized, you can actually show them an example of a high priority issue or what messages that fall under the category of a sales manager look like.

Tags will take your service efforts from good to great

Nobody likes an unhappy customer, especially when that customer is using social media to express their complaints about a particular brand. With Sprout’s tagging capabilities, customer support teams can provide exceptional customer service and maintain that great performance – no matter how many messages they receive. By proactively flagging incoming messages and organizing inboxes, customer service teams ensure that every customer interaction is helpful and efficient.

Ready to take your customer responsiveness to the next level? Sign up for a demo of Sprout Social today.