From the consumer’s perspective, it doesn’t matter which team they speak to when they reach a brand on social media. They only care about one answer.
The Sprout Social Index ™ shows that 79% of consumers expect a response from brands in the first 24 hours of being contacted. And 49% of consumers will stop following brands on social media that deliver a poor customer experience. It is clear that the way a brand interacts with customers online and how long it takes to respond can affect or affect the customer’s social experience.
The secret to creating a great customer experience in the social arena starts with the collaboration between a brand’s social team and the customer service team. By clarifying roles upfront and working with the same playbook, social and customer care teams can create a social customer experience that stands out from the rest.
Every team has a role to play
While a brand’s social team is likely a customer’s first point of contact, it’s hardly the only team responsible for addressing every single incoming message. Who responds to a customer message largely depends on both the content of the message itself and the goals of your social and customer support teams. In other words, the team on call is not always the best place to respond and should delegate messages accordingly.
At Sprout Social, for example, the goals of the social team are mainly focused on building brand awareness and reaching our target audience. In addition to responding to much of the incoming social messages, the team mostly manages content that engages followers and builds a community.
What is one thing you learned last year that changed the way you look at all of social marketing.
– Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) February 3, 2021
On the other hand, Sprout Social’s customer care team is focused on responding to issues, inquiries, and technical issues that directly affect the customer’s experience with the product. From shortening response times to helping customers solve product problems, the support team takes care of the conversations, which are then moved to our Zendesk Help platform.
Hello Andrea! We’re sorry to hear that there are errors in the release. Can you please send us a DM with the email address your Sprout account is registered with? We’d like to take a closer look. Many Thanks! https://t.co/1JXZ3gut1d
– Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) February 9, 2021
Sprout’s support team can also intervene if messages come in after the social team opts out for that day. Kathleen Hannon, Customer Support Manager at Sprout, elaborates on the role of her team. “In Dublin and the Philippines, these teams monitor and respond to messages on Sprout Social as part of their day-to-day work. You see and interact with all kinds of messages and we have people monitoring the Sprout inbox almost 24/7 between the social and support teams. “
If a member of the support team has no response, they can notify customers that the message has been received and forwarded to the appropriate department. Even knowing that their questions have been recorded can go a long way in creating a positive customer experience and maintaining brand responsiveness.
Cross-team consistency is the key to success
Regardless of your brand’s unique voice, that voice needs to be carried over into every message you send – whether you’re responding to a complaint, question, or compliment. A whopping 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience when interacting with brands across any channel. Learning how to bring that brand voice to every interaction is a proven method any brand needs to get into their workflows.
One way to maintain this consistency is to train each team member at the start of their tenure. Rachael Samuels, Senior Manager, Social Media at Sprout Social, continues: “Every new member of the customer care team, regardless of location, is trained in our social voice, approach and more. We run a full social training process that includes worksheets, reviews, one-on-one interviews, and then graduation. “
In addition to the training, Hannon gives another tip for building a successful working relationship between customer service and social teams: “Communication, trust, feedback and established norms as well as a common voice also help.”
Create a single source of truth that each team can refer to to ensure everyone is on the same page at all times: use a style guide to describe what a brand’s voice should sound like and internal manuals to help guide the Guide members through next steps for a variety of scenarios. Therefore, if a member of the customer support team comes across internet trolls or is exposed to harassment, they can refer to a common guide to determine what to do and who to include in the conversation.
Simplify your messaging workflows with one collaboration tool
The ability to respond quickly and efficiently to incoming messages is what defines excellent customer care. With a shared social customer care tool like Sprout Social, companies can resolve all customer queries in a timely manner and ensure messages are handled by the right teams.
Two processes are required within the Sprout platform to identify and authorize all incoming messages. With the help of tags, each team monitoring the inbox can tag and sort messages according to certain categories, such as:
- sales Manager
- Functional requirements
- Crisis or Incident Response
- Technical problem
- User generated content
Tagging not only helps team members classify the types of messages they receive, but it also makes it easy for anyone to segment and filter content. For example, a message with the UGC tag can be quickly displayed when social content is needed for a marketing campaign, while feature request tags can be passed on to the product team as research.
Tags can also be used to prioritize incident messages by severity to ensure that those who need to respond in a timely manner don’t accidentally slip through the cracks.
Equally valuable is assigning messages to specific people based on the content and type of response they need. Tasking ensures that those best equipped to effectively respond to a customer query are on the case. For example, messages that fall under the “Technical Problem” category should be resolved by someone on the support team, not a member of the sales or success team. In the Sprout platform, you can send task-specific messages to another team member with the task type and severity.
Do you remember what I said before about documenting each workflow and each team’s responsibility? This also applies to tagging and tasking. After creating your naming conventions and task workflows, make sure you record the various labels and next steps in a place that everyone can refer to.
This can be useful at different times. For example, if your overnight crew takes over the brand entrance and a sales manager comes in overnight, handing this message to a member of the sales team will ensure that there are no potential prospects left behind. And if a social media crisis develops over the weekend, high-level team members can quickly and effectively address the situation by tagging messages “Incident” and determining the priority level.
Teamwork makes the (social customer experience) dream come true
Customers expect a consistent experience when reaching brands on social media regardless of why they reach out to them in the first place. Remember: your followers don’t care who replies to their request as long as they get a response in the end.
The premium social customer experience starts with a strong alliance between your social and customer care teams. Establish clear role expectations and create workflows to ensure the right messages are assigned to the right teams. With social and customer support teams working in lockstep, brands can deliver a seamless and rewarding social customer experience.
Are you looking for inspiration for ways to further reach your customers on social networks? Download our free worksheet for making authentic connections with your audience today.