By Liam Somers, Director, Customer Care & Risk Operations
It’s that time of year again; sleigh bells are ringing and holiday shoppers are eager to track their gift card purchases.
While we work hard all year long to provide an optimal holiday gifting season for our clients and their customers, it’s just a fact of the holidays that consumers require more support during this time of the year—and we’re happy to help. Whether a gift card buyer accidentally typed in the wrong recipient address or a recipient has questions about redemption, we are on hand to ensure a smooth experience for all parties.
I previously authored a post titled Holiday Lessons Learned: What It Takes to Run a Successful Customer Care Team. In it, I mentioned that during the height of the holiday season, our customer care agents can field up to 100 phone calls on any given day. In addition to calls, we are seeing an increase in customers reaching out via social media and have put a team in place to ensure their questions are also being addressed in a timely manner.
Many of the tips I wrote about in my February post also pertain to social media customer care—from empathizing with customers to making sure your agents are well-rested. But there are some channel-specific best practices that companies should incorporate into their social media customer care initiatives.
- Respond Quickly — This sounds like a no-brainer, but customers are using social media as a quick way to get a brand’s attention and, as such, expect a quick response. While you don’t need to have all the answers right away, be sure to acknowledge their issue in a timely manner and let them know you’re looking into it.
- Be Transparent — Companies, like people, aren’t perfect. Mistakes happen from time to time, and if you’re being called out on social media, it’s best to own up to your mistake and quickly shift the focus to finding a solution.
- Move to a Private Forum — Public complaints can prompt others to join in, so it’s best to move the conversation to a private forum, such as Direct Message. In our line of work, we’re asking for order-specifics, including email addresses and order numbers, so for us, a private forum is a more secure method for obtaining this information.
- Be Personal and Personable in Your Responses — A number of companies use automated or “canned” responses when answering questions via social media. Your social media team is an extension of your customer care team, so make sure your social replies are in the same tone you’d use if you were speaking to the customer on the phone. And don’t be afraid to inject a little personality and fun into your social conversations. When you connect with customers on a human level, you ease a bit of their frustration, as they know that someone is truly interested in helping them.
- Close the Loop — When speaking with a customer over the phone, we are typically able to resolve an issue on the spot. On social media, however, there can be some back and forth to gather all the details to resolve an issue. To ensure you’ve addressed a customer’s concern, follow up and close the loop.
Just as retail is evolving to include many different touchpoints and channels, customer care centers need to evolve, too. As you gear up for the final—and busiest—shopping days of the season, make sure your customer care and social media teams are working hand-in-hand to provide the best possible experience that will turn holiday shoppers into lifelong customers.