Supporting your customers and members with social media is a very different kind of activity than supplying a call center. It requires a whole host of new skills, not least the ability to engage as a person with other people.
That ability to engage has to be a formal policy and expected behavior for your staff that you plan to turn loose online to engage with your customers. You can’t simply put call center people who only know how to read from a script onto a Twitter account with your company name and hope for the best.
Talking to a scripted call center staffer is usually unsatisfying. A scripted support person using social media is merely making the substandard experience transparent to the entire world. This is not adding value for anyone.
View social media based customer service as more performance art than as transaction. The quality of the interaction is going to be of more value to your organization than the individual improvement in outcome that you create for the customer or member in question.
How right on you are! I was the manager of a customer service center at the World Bank and engagement was the number one factor in customer satisfaction. We discovered that when our staff were detached, rote, that our customers perceived them as part of the problem! But, when our staff were able to identify with our customers, they were perceived to be on the same side as our customers, working together to find solutions. Appreciate your expertise here!
Thanks for sharing your story, Seth, Great example of this in action.
A call center trained for engagement could create a lot of additional value for everyone via social media connections to their customers.
Thanks for this post, David. Great title, great points. I love the idea of Customer Service as performance art! Absolutely true that the rules are different. But not just in social media. Scripts and call centers leave little opportunity for connecting truly with customers, listening, empathizing, helping and leaving a wow impression. Great customer service is never just a transaction.