Is it time to start working with an Outsourcer for your Social Customer Service?

Recent research from BT shows that 70% of customers now expect a response to a social media comment within 15 minutes. These ever-growing customer expectations are putting brands under real pressure to deliver social customer service through an in-house team. So, is it time to look at outsourcing your response to social media channels, or at least some of it?

Why is the social channel so different from traditional channels?

For many years large brands have outsourced their voice, email, web and chat channels. There are obvious benefits to partnering with specialist providers of contact centre services, often offering 24/7 operations, with multi-lingual agents and the ability to scale up and down to meet customer demand. All strong advantages to managing the social channel…

What are the primary fears in working with an outsourcer?

Social media has historically been owned by marketing and PR departments and they are reluctant to trust an outsourcer with management of the (whole) social channel. They want to maintain control of publishing and measurement of their marketing posts. Furthermore, there is a perceived risk that an outsourced agent could post or tweet something in the public domain that could really damage brand reputation. How can we alleviate these fears?

How technology is helping outsourcers position for social customer service:

Social media platforms are evolving all the time. They can now recognise and direct specific types of activity to different teams or agents. So, a marketing-related tweet can be assigned to the marketing team, whereas an urgent customer service issue can be directed at the contact centre. With time / day plans and overflow options, an outsourcer can easily join the mix and pick up out-of-hours response or help manage spikes in the social channel.

7 features that enable outsourcers to join the social customer service mix:

1. Keyword Tables can be used to route mentions, based on specific keywords or phrases. This ensures that marketing can maintain ownership of responses to their marketing activity, whilst customer service enquiries can be automatically directed to the contact centre for a swift response.
2. Team Schedules can be set up to direct mentions to the in-house team within working hours, but to an overflow (or outsourced) team for out-of-hours, or at weekends. We can even automatically direct any remaining assigned mentions to the overflow team at ‘end of shift’.
3. Volume Thresholds can be set for any team or agent. This means that if there is a sudden spike of social activity, across any social channel, we can define a maximum volume of mentions for each team and automatically re-assign tweets and posts at the outsourced team to pick up.
4. Time-Elapsed Overflow can be configured for each agent. Here, if a mention has been assigned to an agent, but is not responded to within a specific time period, it is automatically re-assigned to the overflow team. These measures really help to optimise response time…
5. Multi-Lingual Routing can be set up to deliver post and tweets, from specific languages, to a team of multi-lingual agents, potentially within an outsourced partner. This is where outsourcers can play a key role in helping to manage social customers, across the globe.
6. Command & Control – permissions can be set for each agent, limiting outsourced agents to a set of pre-defined or automated responses. Supervisor approval loops can be used to ensure that every post is checked and approved ‘before’ it goes live and into the public domain.
7. Real-Time Visibility – a live supervisor dashboard shows the volume of mentions coming in, the number assigned to each team and every agent interaction. Bulk actions enable quick re-assignment of activity across teams and agents to help optimise workload and response time.

All of these features make it more viable to work with an outsourcer to help manage the social media channel. Marketing gets to keep control of their activity, whilst the in-house social team gets priority in responding to customer service issues. But, an overflow team can be positioned to manage out-of-hours, multi-lingual requirements and help to smooth out spikes and busy periods.

Are you keeping up with the ever-growing expectations of the social customer? Do you need to consider working with an outsourcer to help manage your social channels effectively? Feel free to Contact Us if you want to discuss this area more and arrange a quick demo of the DigiDesk platform.