How to remove risk when channel-shifting

With almost every customer-facing organisation at various stages of a channel-shift strategy, it’s a common concern for those managing this to want to remove risk when channel-shifting. Those organisations that really commit to this change are reaping the benefits, with many customers also now expecting this service as standard practise. Shifting a percentage of your customer service to social media will reduce the pressure on your contact centre, create loyalty-building customer experiences and save your  organisation’s thousands – but some organisations are still reluctant to make the leap.

After years spent speaking with hundreds of public sector organisations, I often hear several key themes surrounding social customer service. Thankfully there are safeguards that can be put in place to ensure a channel-shift strategy is implemented in a manageable, secure and controlled manner. To help you side-step common issues or barriers, here are the main concerns organisations highlight to me and how you can overcome them;

Social interactions become unmanageable

The trick behind overcoming this fear is understanding that you have total control. You can redirect as much, or as little, traffic as you want to your social channels. If you find that social customer service is being well received and easily managed within your team then you can redirect more traffic by featuring this service on your website’s contact us page, emails and on your traditional comms material. By drip-feeding your customers reminders to use your social channels, you can increase awareness at a manageable rate.

By utilising a social media management platform with built-in tools, like pre-created snippets and content libraries with a database of pre-approved content, your organisation can prepare for a fast rise in social enquiries and have tools in place to manage activity. However if the demand is rising a little quicker than you find comfortable, you possess the power to slow it down by removing these reminders.

Internal and external buy-in

One fear that is regularly mentioned to myself is the concern that a channel-shift strategy may struggle to get internal and external buy-in. Internally, getting your team on-board with plans to offer a new alternative service may initially cause them concern, but by explaining procedures, safeguards and action plans, you can reassure and empower your team to see the many benefits for your organisation, and for them personally. You can “buddy-up” less confident operatives with colleagues, run internal competitions to raise awareness and hold regular training sessions – all of which will build buy-in.

By providing your customers with a fast, low-friction method of communication, it will encourage them to embrace social customer service. Making them aware of the service is key to developing a natural channel-shift. When customers contact you out of hours, why not create a message redirecting them to social channels.

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Putting your head above the parapet

Organisations have expressed a concern that if they get a negative reaction to their social customer service they may have problems counteracting and managing this. Over time clear patterns will come to light and expose which queries can be dealt with on social media, and which need to be transferred to other channels. This information will help you to build a more effective strategy and ensure the right queries are getting the right response. Every organisation has diverse audiences to manage, but with social customer service your organisation has the ability to really tailor communications to suit them, helping you to create stronger relationships and brand advocates. Developing an in-house knowledge-base will help your social operatives increase their first-time resolution. Similarly, having a “social ambassador” in each department who can answer specialist questions via social media, will also help to increase the success of this channel.

Every organisation has diverse audiences to manage, but with social customer service your organisation has the ability to really tailor communications to suit them, helping you to create stronger relationships and brand advocates. Developing an in-house knowledge-base will help your social operatives increase their first-time resolution. Similarly, having a “social ambassador” in each department who can answer specialist questions via social media, will also help to increase the success of this channel.
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Security

Keeping your organisations reputation safe is of the utmost importance and security risks are a valid concern. But long gone are the scary days of shared passwords and audit-free activity. With some social media tools possessing a wealth of security settings, this fear can be eradicated by carefully selecting the best and most secure social media management platform for your organisation. With blocked words, individual user permissions and the ability to instantly update and remove users, organisations can grant access fear-free of a social crisis.

Change can often be scary, but channel-shifting is the perfect way to reduce pressure from your contact centre, save money and create powerful customer experiences. Our clients are seeing fantastic results from implementing a channel-shift strategy, National Express shifted 28% of their inbound communications to social media whilst reducing their response time by 152 minutes. A year from now you will wish you had started today.

 


About the Writer:James Davis
James Davis is a Product Specialist at SocialSignIn. Combining his knowledge of the public sector and the latest social media technology, James helps clients understand the obstacles and opportunities in today’s digital jungle. Outside of work, James is a self-confessed geek, humanist and lover of music, travelling and environmental issues.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow him on Twitter here.