Five Best Practices for Social Media Care - Slide 5

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Reaching out and following through is critical for building real relationships. This can manifest itself in several forms. First, companies get excited to set up social media channels, like Twitter, but then fail to post updated information. Stale = Bad. Second, it’s not just about posting information, but engaging customers and collaborating with them. Collaboration = Good. Third, if you request a customer to communicate with you in another non-social channel, such as voice or email, be sure to follow up the conversation to resolution while tracking that conversation across the channels used.

Follow-through enhances positive customer sentiment toward a company. Even if the information being communicated is not what the customer wants to hear, knowing the agent followed through in a timely and professional manner mitigates the negative impact. According to a recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, January 2011, "When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet," failing to respond does not help customers rule out worst-case inferences. Rather, people tend to err on the sinister side when inventing explanations. At the same time, customers will tolerate problems not being fully resolved as long as the process is seen as fair. In short, follow-through in social care can make or break customer relationships.

A tremendous new customer service opportunity has emerged with the adoption of social media by consumers and the ability for companies to effectively listen to and track conversations about their brands. TELUS International calls this activity “social care,” and it’s defined as the efforts employees make through social media to care for customers. Interestingly, these efforts aren’t necessarily confined to traditional contact center agents working in customer service departments. They are finding some companies empowering not only their well-trained customer service representatives, but also a select group of engineers, product managers and even executives. Tapping into the larger talent pool is one of many strategies companies are using to provide positive customer experiences on the social Web.

Several best practices emerge from research conducted by TELUS International. Some of these practices are already being effectively employed at benchmark companies while others are underutilized practices that represent opportunities for companies to expand and improve their social care efforts.

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