The Art of Sharing In A Service Driven World

Written by on July 8, 2015

Join us in next week’s #H2H chat as we talk shop with some of the most brilliant people in the customer support space – Frank Eliason, Peter Shankman and Bryan Kramer. We’ll be talking about the challenges of providing exceptional support globally, across multiple touchpoints, amongst other things. You can even participate in the discussion by tweeting your questions.

In the good old days, customer service was all about being there for your customers when they reached out to you. You picked up the phone, you replied to their emails and if you managed to solve most of their problems on time….you were counted as one of the greats.

Those were the good old days.

In today’s world, being there for your customers is the norm. It’s what your customers expect of you.

Today, great customer service is all about the experience; it’s about listening to your customers, it’s about being proactive and paying attention even when your customers aren’t talking to you directly. Like when they’re talking about you on social media.

However, a lot of businesses are hesitant about providing social media customer support in fear of its exponential negative effect if done wrong. On social media, you aren’t talking to just your customer; you’re talking to the customer, their followers, their followers’ followers and so on. Every post has the potential to reach millions. Good or bad, social media does nothing by halves. The consequences are harsh enough to put off everyone but the bravest of souls.

However, you can’t escape the fact that 47% of consumers use social media for reaching out to customer support as opposed to responding to social marketing. Your presence or absence doesn’t affect the reality that your customers are talking about you on social media and you’d better pitch in if you want to keep your reputation spotless. Social media support is basically Hobson’s choice.

The good news is (yes, there is good news), social media is not as draconian as most people make it out to be. All you need to do is come up with a sound strategy and implement the right processes. And we know exactly how you should go about it.

The Social Hierarchy of Needs


The Customer Support Hierarchy of Needs
If you look at how different organizations handle customer support, the maturity of their operations and the problems that they are trying to solve, companies usually fall into one of the four strata illustrated above. We call this the Customer Support Hierarchy of Needs. Here’s how they apply to social support.

Taking Control of the Chaos

The only way you can get the blitz that is social media under control is by setting up a system of record and processes to make sure every conversation is accounted for. Once you do, create company accounts and support away! It’s only when you manage to draw your response time down to an impressive score that you’ll be able to move on to the next stage.

Getting up: Moving from Reactive to Proactive mode

The next stage is transitioning from a purely reactive role to answering problems and solving issues even before they’re a twinkle in the customer’s eye.

Strata 2 of the Customer Support Pyramid of Needs

GoDaddy has the right idea of it

A proactive approach to customer support entails a lot of things – keyword monitoring to make sure that no posts fly under your radar, automated listening and linking up channels to make sure that you end up providing a contextual user experience. A robust support platform is of great use in this stage because it helps you pull up related information from other tools you use like support history, order history, location etc.

Scaling up past growth pains

Delivering exceptional service to a few dozen customers across tons of channels and products is a piece of cake when compared to maintaining said exceptional levels across tens of thousands of customers.

When you’re on this strata, it’s not just about fast responses and customer engagement; you have to make sure that you will be able to provide exceptional support, no matter what the volume or the variety of issues at any given time. You have to make sure your processes are resilient, that they give you room to effectively manage a large volume of social media queries.

Strata 3 of the Customer Support Hierarchy of Needs

The Xbox Team is very clear about when their customers can expect answers from them.

And you can only do that by setting up workflows and automating a large part of your support process to ensure optimum efficiency. Setting the right expectations for your customers will also help you go a long way in making your user experience a delight.

From Darkness to Alignment

Now, that you’ve laid down your processes, become proactive and made sure said processes are resilient, you now have to work on alignment. Aligning your social media team’s objectives with the company’s goals is key to providing a richer and more cohesive user experience.

Strata 4 in the Customer Support Hierarchy of Needs

JetBlue has customer delight down to an art form

At this level, businesses need to invest in empowering and motivating support agents, not to mention spend some time aligning their KPIs with individual goals through game mechanics and other rewards. This level is all about refining existing processes, creating a consistent voice across all channels and making customer experiences extraordinary.

And that’s just the beginning! The Pyramid will be the focus of this week’s #H2H chat (Monday July 13th 12pm PST/3pm EST) as customer service legends Frank Eliason, Peter Shankman and our very own Alan Berkson talk about the problems that businesses will face in each strata and the kind of techniques and best practices that will help them provide exceptional social support. You can even participate by tweeting your questions with the hashtag #H2HChat and join in on the discussion with us!

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