Avoid the Denzel Dud Double Feature: Taking a Holistic Approach to Social Customer Care

By Ian Jacobs | Small Business

I am a true aficionado of great actors in bad movies. In fact, to fully celebrate my quirky cinematic tastes, I developed an idea called the Denzel Dud Double Feature- the first edition would include a back-to-back viewing of Denzel Washington’s 1995 virtual reality trashterpiece “Virtuosity” and the 1998 evil soul terrorizes Philadelphia misfire “Fallen.”

My appreciation for films like these stems from seeing that even the most acclaimed actors, in this case including Denzel Washington, John Goodman, James Gandolfini, Louise Fletcher, and Russell Crowe, cannot rise above their material; I savor the juxtaposition of actors able to convey a huge range of emotions with just their eyes trapped in a film with a script seemingly written by a second-grade student or a director who could not organize two cans into a line, let alone orchestrate a huge cast and crew into making a work of art.

Like unfortunate Denzel, many enterprises today continually slip into the good actor/terrible film scenario when it comes to social customer care. By focusing specialist teams and disproportionate resources on providing customer service on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, these enterprises build up the persona of a consistently excellent actor. Customers experience fast response times from helpful, quirky, and personality-laden employees. In short, customers often have great customer experiences using social channels when seeking customer care.

But many of the companies justifiably well-known for being leaders in social customer service also consistently rank among the companies providing the worst overall customer service in consumer surveys. If social customer care acts like Denzel Washington, the overall customer care organization more closely resembles his stinker of a film “Carbon Copy.”

In short, excellent social support does not automatically raise all customer service boats. Companies who focus on building new teams and innovative processes for the social channels but change nothing about their poorly performing core contact centers end up saddling most of their customers with mediocre customer experiences. In fact, pulling a company’s best contact center agents and putting them in charge of social channels can leave a gaping hole in skills for the traditional channels.

Even more importantly, companies that separate their social care tools from their core contact center tools have no visibility into what their customers do outside of the social sphere. This is critical because customers often turn to social when they have failed to achieve their goals using other channels such as phone, email or self-service. If companies took a holistic approach to customer service, looking at cross-channel conversations including social, they would understand what a customer had already tried in their quest to resolve their issue and they would be better prepared to respond to customers.

Phone agents could, for example, see that a customer had posted a question about changing an airline ticket on Twitter an hour earlier and ask the customer if they were calling to change their ticket. By doing that, the agent speeds up the phone interaction and, at the same time, also demonstrates to the customer that the company is paying attention to the social realm.

That sort of cross-channel experience presents a single face to the customer. Instead of a great actor in a bad film scenario, companies that turn customer interactions across multiple touch points and time into a single seamless customer conversation become that wonderful combination of a great actor and a great film. And wouldn’t you rather have your company be Denzel Washington in “Glory” than Denzel in “The Mighty Quinn”?

To learn more check out our white paper: Bridging the Great Divide: Best Practices for Integrating Social Media and Customer Service

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