You have done the research, and you know the time has come to launch your digital care program. After all, in today’s social media-centric world, it is impossible to stay competitive by exclusively relying on outdated service methods. However, there is more to online customer service than simply expanding phone and web agents’ responsibilities, and the success of your digital customer support team depends on a carefully planned launch. These three tips will ensure you have the right structure, the right tools, and the right people to optimize your company’s digital care program.

Create a Dedicated Digital Customer Engagement Team

It can be tempting to expand the roles of current customer service agents, but this is a grave mistake.  Social customer care requires a specialized skill set, and the tools necessary to do the job well are quite different from those used by phone and web agents. Your social customer care team works on a public forum, making it critically important that agents receive targeted training and results are monitored carefully. Ensure your success by creating a dedicated social media customer issues resolution team, and choose hours of availability that mirror the hours your company is open for business.

Choose the Right Tools

Social customer service interactions are far less costly than phone and email channels, but only when your agents have the right tools. Specialized social and digital customer service software is designed to ensure that your agents are both efficient and effective. When looking for a digital care platform it’s important that the tool has an effortless workflow. It should provide you with insight into other agents actions, prevent agents from making duplicate responses, enable full issue resolution on channel, and give your agents access to information resources quickly. A social care platform should also include monitoring functionality that makes it possible for agents to proactively engage consumers by seeking out and responding to social mentions.  In addition, the solution you choose should enable you to measure the success of your efforts. The reporting functionality should give you insight on account activity and team performance.  For enterprise brands, it’s very important that the platform can integrate into other customer systems.

Select Top Talent to Represent Your Brand

The most important component of your digital customer care team is the talented agents that represent your brand online. Therefore, the most successful companies choose seasoned agents with a history of strong performance for this high-impact role. Social media is no place for someone new to the company or new to social media. Instead, start with the best of the best on your phone and web teams, and promote them onto this new team.

Look for the following knowledge, skills, and abilities when considering the candidates:

Demonstrated enthusiasm for your brand – Don’t take the risk of putting a disengaged employee on your social customer care team, even if their work is always technically correct. When interacting on social media and digital messaging channels, agents must show true understanding of and affinity for your business, so select social media agents accordingly. Remember, in the same way the call use to be recorded, your customer now has an entire record of the conversation.

Good judgment, even in gray areas – Building your social media team with tenured agents does more than ensure you have brand ambassadors. These individuals come with a working knowledge of company policies and procedures, which makes it easier to ensure they will give accurate information to customers.

However, many customer issues are not black and white, and your agents will be tasked with providing a speedy response to a question that doesn’t fit neatly into familiar scenarios. Make sure that your team is made up of agents with strong problem-solving skills, and choose those who have a history of using good judgment in decision-making. These agents will have to make decisions independently while honoring the general principles of company policies.

Clear, concise writing skills – Even the best phone agents may struggle with expressing themselves effectively in writing, and good writers might not be great with the short format of most social media platforms. Choose agents that can communicate well in writing, giving short answers that are easily understood, while simultaneously showing empathy for the customer.

Your customers want to feel like they are interacting with a human. Emojis, memes, and gifs take the place of written communication to help express the human element of your brand and appropriate use of these can make agents even more effective. Your highest performers will know when to think out-of-the-box by responding to customers with these options.

Want to learn more? The Social Customer Service Agent: How to Hire, Train, Measure, Pay, and Retain is your guide to developing a social and digital customer care team. It includes real-world examples of successful social engagement and service strategies that can be immediately applied to your business.

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