When I contacted my utility company via Facebook about an issue I had with my meter reading, I was annoyed to get an instant reply asking me to call the contact centre if my request was urgent. The reason I was using Facebook was because I had already been on hold for the previous 40 minutes, and it struck me that this response illustrated exactly how so many organisations still get social contact wrong.
Customers using social channels quite rightly expect organisations to reply using the same channels, and they also expect a response time that’s appropriate for the channel they’re using. With chat I expect an instant response, social within the hour, email – the same day, and I’m happy to wait a few days when I send a letter. That’s why it’s important for customer contact centres to have the right staffing levels across all channels, and also access to multi-skilled agents who can handle social requests if your dedicated social agents are busy.
Some queries are also too complex to resolve as social interactions – security might be an issue if the discussion is on Facebook, or there might not be enough characters available via Twitter. That’s why it’s also important to equip your social agents with phone, email and chat capabilities so that they can seamlessly transition their social interaction to another means if it is getting complex or needs further clarification. You also need to make sure you don’t make the customer go through endless security processes as you move them from one channel to another as this will really annoy them.