Social Media Customer Service

Shared and Followed: Hiring Social Media Representatives

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In a world that increasingly relies on social media for business and personal interaction, having a dedicated team of social media representatives can do wonders for your customer service.

The business reputations of many companies depend on their ability to provide good customer service — one of the reasons so many have chosen to outsource to third party customer service providers.

Good customer service means having the ability to respond to customer issues in whatever media your customers prefer, and in our booming tech generation, online methods, in particular, social media, are becoming more popular than ever. According to research done by GFK and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, social network use currently takes up the most amount of consumer time spent on the Internet. Because of this, hiring a social media team capable of handling your customer service needs is vital to improving your customer outreach and overall flexibility.

Hiring Social Agents

The hiring process for social-focused agents needs to follow the unique needs of social media customer service. Customer service via social media is fast-paced, public, and limited by the platform you choose. This can make finding social media representatives that can handle your online PR a daunting task.

Creating separate profiles for your job hunt on Twitter or Facebook can help you keep your advertising profile separate from your business life, and can streamline the process by allowing you to show your prospective hires only the information you want them to see. This rule is also used for customer service outreach. Analytics firm SimplyMeasured reported that brands with dedicated customer service handlers have increased by 19 percent year-over-year.

Your Social Manager

Every team needs a leader, and a dedicated social media presence can benefit from leadership as much as any other department:

  • Your social manager needs strong written skills and the ability to respond to queries paired with marketing strategies. He or she will be the go-to person for creative problem-solving solutions.
  • Their social media presence should demonstrate their ability to manage each unique platform.
  • He or she should possess marketing skills and be able to apply your company’s business initiatives in an effective and professional way.

Necessary Skills

To unlock the benefits of social-focused service, your agents need to not only be able to navigate social media and know how to provide effective customer service, but also how to combine the two skills to face the unique challenges that social media platforms have to offer.

Your social media representatives should have an established online profile that demonstrates their networking abilities and skills at platform management. Their training should also involve how to handle complaints from customers in a public way. While the tried-and-true phone calls of contact centre fame are a private affair, social media outreach is about as public as it gets.

This is a particular challenge when dealing with angry customers who slam your brand on social media. While a skilled customer service agent won’t be baited by frustrated customers, the public and viral nature of social media commentary raises the stakes whenever your brand comes under fire. Take care to hire agents that are adept at handling these situations — the world is watching.

Social Media Challenges

Social media customer service offers its own set of unique challenges.

The lack of inflection in online messaging means that communication is even more complex than it is on the phones, making it essential that your agents are able to deliver their message clearly.

Depending on what platform you choose, there may be character or formatting requirements that limit your interaction. Twitter only offers 140 characters per post, making the process of understanding the customer’s problem a trickier proposition. To best manage this, agents should be well-versed in short form communication and be able to synthesize details down to manageable bits of information that are easily digestible by your customers.

Another consideration is to keep your audience in mind. Just because you’re working with social media, doesn’t mean that your market will be entirely composed of tech-savvy Millennials. The baby boomers need for excellent customer service is as strong as ever, and your social media representatives must be able to address their issues as well those of the younger crowd.

The Right Stuff

Social media customer service can offer huge benefits to businesses with the right agents to unlock its potential. Bad customer service can backfire and create a public relations nightmare. However, the right service informed by experience, social media knowledge, and the unique challenges that are faced on each platform can enhance the customer experience and create more flexible outreach for you and your consumers.

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