7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team

Despite the plethora of training available for expanding your brand over social media, solid tips for training a social customer service team are noticeably absent. To be a best-in-class, customer-driven company, you need to answer questions and engage with customer on their terms, on their turf. For the billions of people who’ve gravitated to Facebook and Twitter, that means you need to provide amazing support over social media.

While hiring new socially savvy staff members might seem daunting, getting your employees up to speed and providing exemplary support is the most important element to tackle after you’ve brought on a great team.

1. Classify the Most Common Problems

You will not be able to train your team on how to handle each and every question they encounter on social media, but you’ll be able to train them on the top 20 issues and establish FAQs, quick links, canned responses for getting more information or directing private type of conversations to Direct Messages (DM) or Private Messages (PM.) A general rule of thumb is that all issues brought to social media can be handled over social media – unless they involve credit card or banking numbers, passwords, or health issues.

Here is an excellent example from Delta where they shift a conversation regarding their award-winning Sky Miles program to Direct Message:

7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team image deltaassist7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team

2. Enable your Team to Solve Problems Over Social Media

Can you imagine calling up your favorite business to ask a question, someone answers, and then they tell you that in order to get an answer you’ll need to hang up and send an email? It’s not acceptable on email, and it’s not acceptable over social media. So keep things on Social Media until you can’t.

Need a mailing address? Use Facebook’s PM or Twitter’s DM. You’ll solve the problem on the second touch and save your customers’ time. Draw a line in the sand and give your Social Customer Service Team the tools they need to solve your customers’ problem over social media – not the tools to simply deflect the problem.

3. Train your CSR on the Customer

A customer with a problem is a two-sided dilemma – the customer and the problem. The customer has a history with you. They’ve had previous requests and complaints and experiences which help define their perception of your company and the brand. You need to capture that history. Build a story about your customer, provide that information to your CSR, and train them on the customer part of their “Customer Service Representative” role.

A. Find the history of the customer - CRMs and other information aggregators are perfect for this task. Has the customer asked you questions over Twitter previously? Highlight that conversation for the CSR so he/she can use it for reference. Check out how @Fordservice does this:

7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team image fordserver7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team

B. Prioritize Customers – Something that is taboo for many folks in the customer service industry is the idea that certain customers take precedent over others. Unfortunately, not all customers are created the same. While we definitely don’t advocate denying a customer support, we do understand there is the customer with a dozen of bank accounts or who has been a customer for twenty years who might expect to be moved to the front of the line.

4. Understand the Gap in your New Employee’s Skills

Perhaps you’ve just hired a great CSR with a stellar track record in email customer support. Or maybe you nagged a former social media marketing manager looking for more satisfaction in her day-to-day operations. It’s hard to hire a unicorn, so recognizing your team’s potential allows you to focus on:

The product specialist - Train them on the best way to make a customer feel loved. They already know all the answers about your product or service.

The social media maven - Train them on the importance of timeliness and solving the customer’s issue with one or two touches.

The traditional customer service representative - Train them on the brand voice and the product and best practices of social media. Tesco Mobile’s customer service team was trained by Digital Agency Jam to give a unique brand voice to the Twitter feed.

7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team image tesomobile7 Training Tips for your Social Customer Service Team

5. Highlight the Best Examples

Once you’ve established the top twenty list, another great way to train your new social customer service representatives is to give them public examples. Create a simple powerpoint training deck. Dedicate an issue to one slide and highlight the “Best” example on the left and the “Not-so-great” example on the right. Use this presentation as the basis for a recorded training that can be reused for each new-hire.

6. Implement a Buddy System

New employees can learn from established employees with a formal buddy program. Established buddies should give newer employees:

  • An easy sounding board. Newer employees can quickly chat with established employees about how to handle a difficult situation.
  • A mentor for the newer employee can look to for skill replication.
  • A person to regularly review outbound tweets and messages and take over when needed.

7. Know the Product, Know the Problem

Once you decide to build your team, it’s important to lay out some ground rules. Your team is here to engage and support customers over social media. For many businesses out there, that means educating your team on the products or services you provide to the masses.

It shouldn’t be scary to launch your newly minted Social Customer Service Team. Breath deep, train well and empower your team to please the customer. Your customers will thank you for it.

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