Set Response Times and Customer Expectations for Social Media Interactions with the Call Center
Illustration by Iris Vidal

Because social media interactions take place in a 24/7 world, your social service strategy needs to define your response time goals for various social networks, whether you will staff those channels around the clock, and if not, how you will communicate that information to customers, as well as a plan to set customers’ expectations for which types of interactions can be handled via social and when they can expect to hear back.

For the most part, contact centers that respond to customers via social channels tend to respond quickly. Over half (54.1%) of the participants in our 2013 Multichannel Metrics Survey that use Twitter have an average response time of within one hour. For Facebook, almost one-third of centers (32.6%) have set a target of within two hours, while 21.7% set a goal of within two hours, 17.4% said within 12 hours, and 19.6% set a goal of within 24 hours.

The speed at which you respond to social interactions depends on the social channel, type of post and type of interaction, says Bob Furniss, director of the Service Cloud Practice at Bluewolf. “If someone posts a tweet to your customer care Twitter handle, then it should be handled the same as a chat. It’s immediate because they’ve reached out to you directly,” he says. “But if it’s a random mention—‘the service I just received from @ABC_Care was great’—then that might fall into a four-hour window. Much like service level, you have to understand what types of interactions you’re getting on social and build service levels across those contact types.” Keep in mind, though, that conversations that happen in the social environment are real-time, therefore, customers expect companies to respond in real-time.

But what if your center is not a round-the-clock operation? Furniss suggests posting information about the times that your team is available on each social channel site, as well as the time zones in which you operate (keep in mind that the social channel may be global, even if your company is not).

If you want a 24/7 presence, you can set alerts to be sent to your team, the marketing team or designated individuals, Furniss adds. “If there are a lot of contacts about a certain topic, your team will be alerted, and they can respond and/or immediately escalate the issue, if necessary.”