Dreamforce - the cloud computing event that draws more than 50,000 to San Francisco every year - kicked off this week with more than 750 sessions for developers, media and other industry power players.
In addition to the planned events, organizers will again feature the "Salesforce Service Cloud Call Center," but this year it's all about social. This live customer service response hub will provide onlookers a chance to see expert social response in action. Why social for customer support?
“I don’t think there’s any company out there that doesn’t need to be thinking about [customer service through social]. I guarantee your customers are already using the channel, and they’re probably already talking about your brand,” says Fergus Griffin, senior vice president of solutions marketing for Salesforce.com.
"Salesforce Service Cloud Call Center" observers should be able to glean some tips by watching, but here's a few best practices you should take home from the event.
Hashtag Common Queries
Griffin told me that last year during Dreamforce most interactions across all service channels involved questions about where things were located, recommendations for events, and tips for getting around the conference. Hashtags allow customer service managers to instantly create a knowledge base for topics such as these.
During this year’s event, Salesforce Service Cloud Call Center agents might hashtag common queries with things like #Dreamforcemaps, #Dreamforcefood or a more general tag like #Dreamforcehelp.
Then, if a Dreamforce visitor tweets, “Where’s the closest restaurant?” the agent could respond “@UserName check out everyone’s food recommendations by searching #Dreamforcefood!” When they search that hashtag, the visitor could scan through everyone’s suggestions. This saves the agent time, while still providing a helpful personal response.
Depending on what hashtags emerge, you're company may also choose to add these to the self-service knowledge base on the website.
Post Publicly First
John Rote, Vice President of Customer Experience at Bonobos, compared support through social media like troubleshooting in a coffee shop or bar.
“It’s likely more people will hear about it and pull friends from across the room to listen. This can mean a bad experience is shared further, faster,” says Rote, who will sit on a social customer service panel at Dreamforce called “How Small Businesses Keep Up with the Velocity of Customer Service."
To mitigate this risk, Rote suggests companies always acknowledge the comment in social before taking the interaction to another channel. This approach publicly demonstrates that the company is listening and responds to everyone. If the interaction was taken straight to email, no one would know customer service addressed the problem.
This is also useful for companies that stream their Twitter feed in the infrastructure of the website. Again, it adds a personal face to the company and shows website visitors you're listening.
One of the biggest challenges with providing customer service through social is dealing with the sheer volume of requests. Griffin said companies should have a well-defined strategy for prioritizing responses.
This should include ranking factors from social–a Klout score, for example–and customer history. A company might choose to respond first to longtime customers or those with a history of high-value purchases.
“Companies should strike a balance between who [the customer] is in the community, but also who they are to you,” Griffin says.
Engage Customers You Might Never Have Known
Customer service through social media is not just about providing another interaction channel in addition to phone, email or live chat. Bonobos found out through customer surveys that social media support engaged customers who might never have sent their question otherwise.
“The thing that was really amazing to us was 3-4 months after [implementing our social customer service strategy], we found out that most of those customers identified never would have reached out to us if they weren’t able to do it over Facebook or Twitter,” Rote says.
So, take a minute to check out the Salesforce Service Cloud Call Center this year and learn other strategies for elevating your social customer service strategy.
Research for this article was provided by Help Desk Software Advice.