Implementing an Efficient and Effective Social Care Team
By Matt McConnell, CEO Intradiem
Can a social customer care program be effective while also efficient? It has to be. Integrating a social media plan into an existing call center environment is necessary in today's consumer-driven world. The key to a successful integration is combining the right team with the right tools and metrics.
Organizations face the challenge of how to efficiently establish, train and maintain a social customer care team within an established contact center environment. The difference between a traditional customer call and a social media dialogue is significant and requires different training, skill sets and techniques. This can be difficult for established centers, but the goals remain the same: satisfied customers and satisfied agents.
Building your social care team
As you start to build your social care team, either from new employees or existing agents, there are important traits to consider. Not only must your social care team members facilitate the voice of the customer while communicating the voice of the company, they must be flexible and have "netiquette."
To start your agent selection process, a good place to begin is with agents or potential agents who are already socially savvy and understand the nuances of social media interaction. If they don't already belong to multiple social networks, they may not be the best fit. Once identified, an excellent evaluation tool is to put them through a sample case. For example, ask them to respond to ten different tweets (staying within the 140 character limit), or Facebook posts to see if they can accurately represent the brand’s voice.
Another factor to consider is whether or not the agent feels at ease while speaking with a large audience. You might ask, “Are you comfortable sending something out to 100, 1,000 or 100,000 people?” If the answer is not a strong one, move on.
Leveraging available time with intraday management
Many companies use intraday management solutions to deploy agent training, and this approach certainly applies when evaluating and training agents to handle customer inquiries via social channels. Intraday management can help you bring a new social customer care team into the fold and also help with the day-to-day management of the social care program.
Aggregated available time can be used to cross train agents demonstrating proficiency on your social certification program. In addition, this otherwise idle time can also be used to direct agents to work on social media inquiries.
Balancing Training with Current Responsibilities
Sometimes people question how agents react to their down time being used for training on new skills or handling different types of inquiries. While it may be intuitive to think that busy agents are quickly burned out, it is actually the opposite. The average amount of time between inbound calls is two minutes – hardly enough time for a breather between calls.
Intraday management technology uses this time to take a small percentage of agents off the phone and direct them to work on social media activities. A large pool of agent idle time is aggregated and repackaged into 15-20 minute activity sessions for a small group of agents. The agents that remain on inbound don't notice the slight decrease in available time between calls.
The agents look forward to these sessions as it provides variety in their day and a break from inbound, particularly when they work on social inquiries, which is something they might enjoy.
Forecasting Social Media Traffic
When thinking about forecasting social media traffic, you could draw a parallel to forecasting call volume. Start by tracking and reviewing your inbound volume and create an inbound volume chart that spikes in different times based on geography, customer base, etc.
Then, when considering time for agents to resolve social customer issues, include a buffer to accommodate for the following:
1. It’s new and will take agents longer to do, at least initially.
2. Agents will move beyond inbound to providing outbound content/service updates and will need a little extra time to develop content, compose blogs, leverage experts within the organization to handle certain requests, etc.
As your social care team matures, they will become more efficient in their responses and posts and the buffer will decrease.
Advancing your social care program
As agents become more advanced in discussing customer service topics through social media channels, they are a rich source for providing content that can be proactively distributed through social media, which may help customers find the solutions to their problems on your social channels.
The use of your intraday management tools will also increase productivity by adding automated processes that support overall efficiency goals. In addition to finding time for training and social care activities, you can use intraday management tools to monitor trending topics on social channels. If a company has a new product release and a glitch is going viral, intraday management tools can alert management who can triage the appropriate response online and even within the call center before the situation gets out of control.
Finding the right people and efficiently structuring how your social customer care team interacts with customers are the key ingredients for creating an effective program. A strong intraday management tool can help any organization weave social inquiries into an already hectic contact center environment to capably manage the voice of the brand while also managing customer needs.
Michael Pace, Social Media Customer Service Expert, presented this important topic during a recent webinar, “5 Steps to Building a Social Customer Service Team.” The information presented in this article can be found with more detail in the archived event.
Intradiem, formerly Knowlagent, is the leader in intraday management solutions for contact centers. Intradiem equips our customers with business reflexes that immediately and consistently respond to unpredictable events and conditions. Reflexes such as intraday task management, intraday staffing, queue management, and real-time alerts improve business performance by over 20 percent. More than 450,000 contact center, field service, retail, bank branch, and back office employees around the world use Intradiem’s solution every day. For more information, call 888-566-9457 or visit www.intradiem.com.