The open nature of social media conversations means that contact center leaders will need to think through their social customer service strategy separately from their engagement strategies for other channels, says Elaine Carr, manager of Training & Development at ICMI (International Customer Management Institute).
One of the key differences for frontline agents is learning how to define the customer’s need. For instance, customers often don’t take their requests and complaints directly to the company. Instead, they may post a complaint as a comment to their followers. Or those who do begin a conversation directly with the company may not be clear about what they want.
A well-thought-out social media strategy will act as the foundation to build your social service training program, Carr says. Your program should be based on a social playbook or handbook that sets out what the company is trying to accomplish, a plan for when to respond and how, key roles and responsibilities, how to integrate social contacts into the contact center’s workflow, guidelines on tone, an escalation process, as well as social media monitoring and reporting processes and tools. In addition, your social playbook will help to determine training goals and how your training program should be structured.
A good way to kick off your training program is to provide trainees with a basic understanding of how social media works and the differences for engagement among the various social networks (e.g., posts on Facebook are not limited to a word or character count while, on Twitter, tweets are restricted to 140 characters).
Even if your agents are already active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks, they now need to look at social media from the business standpoint, and not just sharing information with friends and family, explains Carr.
“Understanding social media in this context, along with the social media policy and the process guidelines calls for a lot of game playing and role playing,” she says. “Conduct exercises in writing social media replies. Focus on specific situations and keeping an informal, positive tone.”
Practical pointer: To test your trainees’ understanding of the differences among social networks, present them with an example situation and have them write a response to the customer for each of the social channels in which your company is active (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).