Treating social customer support as just another traditional service channel is risky. Social media are known for their snowball effect for positive, but especially negative customer feedback. Nothing in the telecommunication industry evolves as quickly as customers’ expectations. Adapting to the speed, dynamics and public nature of social media is critical, according to Ovum. At the same time, optimizing social customer service is only effective when the entire customer support journey is taken into account.

This post will highlight:

  • How social customer service differs from traditional support and why this creates complexity at the support end
  • Practical strategies to reduce complexity of social customer service

Social support challenges and complexity for telecoms

More customers use social media to look for help from their mobile operator. Since social platforms are seen as tools of instant communication, customers expect immediate responses from your support agents. In fact, 42% of customers expect a response within the first 60 minutes. However, things do not often exactly play out this way.

Although many telecoms treat social media as just an additional service channel, according to Ovum, it is different from traditional support. Compared to private, one-to-one call center support, social interactions are often public and visible to millions of users. This acts as a force multiplier of positive and especially negative customer feedback. 

According to Sykes, it is often time-consuming for telecoms to cut through the clutter of posts and identify the actual customer service issues. It is also difficult to identify the social media user as a specific customer and navigate through the multiple private and public messages they send.  Putting these challenges together creates a complex situation where customers’ high expectations are difficult to meet and support is labor-intensive.

How to address the complexity of social support?

As clichéd as it may sound, we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The reasons customers are flooding your social channels with enquiries are twofold:  

  • They cannot find the answer to their questions within your online resources and FAQs
  • They want a quick response

Put the solution upfront

Social interactions often happen after users have tried to solve their issues using traditional channels. The moment they submit their questions on Facebook and Twitter, many have already exhausted all other support options. This raises the stakes, as these frustrated customers need a fast resolution.

Many other customers are turning to social first, because they perceive it as a path of least resistance. In other words, they look for the fastest and easiest way to solve their problem. 

In both cases, according to Ovum, the individual customer and the reputation of the brand are at risk, due to the nature of social interactions.

That is why telecoms should offer adequate answers to customer questions, before they have turned into a flood of private and public messages. One way to achieve this is by equipping all of your support channels with the right tools and knowledge base, which ensures First Contact Resolution (FCR). That would be visual, step-by-step tutorials on the operators’ website. For contact centers, a similar knowledge base and tools that empower your agents should also be available. For Facebook, a custom “Device Help” tab on your main page. See an example of how QelpCare empowers Device Help in Facebook:

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Sort and prioritize first

Before you can effectively process social interactions, you have to create a categorization framework. Our colleagues from Sykes suggest sorting the posts into different categories, such as complaints, enquiries, trouble reports, sales opportunities and positive mentions. Then, prioritize the actionable posts according to severity, so that the most critical issues can be resolved first.

By categorizing the types of issues and most common device problems, you can recognize emerging patterns and blind spots in your device help tutorials.

Fight complexity with consistency

All too often, operators’ knowledge bases lack consistency. The instructions customers find on operators’ pages are sometimes different to solutions offered by contact agents. The social customer service agents give different responses to similar questions. The length of time spent browsing through community forums leave users more confused than when they started. When you roll these challenges together, public outcries do not come as a surprise. 

Adopting an integrated knowledge base solution will help you to provide consistent answers throughout all touchpoints of the customer’s journey. Replying to customers on social media with simple, non-jargon answers which match the information provided through your other service channels will reduce the complexity of the support. It will empower your agents to provide more consistent answers. They can also navigate your customers to the visual tutorials on your webpage. 

Conclusion

Social customer service differs from traditional support. However, it cannot be examined and optimized separately from the overall support journey and other customer service channels. Making your online self-service easily accessible for customers will decrease the flood of questions to your social customer service and increase your customer satisfaction.

At Qelp, we specialize in providing end-to-end self-service support, covering all touchpoints of your customer’s journey. Let’s discuss your support challenges.