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How to Create Social Customer Service Playbook that Actually Works

Mike Schneider
By Mike Schneider on Aug 9, 2013 12:52:00 PM

In our conversations with businesses looking to establish social customer service operations in every industry, a recurrent theme is the question of how different departments can transfer knowledge seamlessly to one another, and how management of social conversations can be handed securely to customer service agents. 

How to Create Social Customer Service Playbook that Actually Works

A good solution to these new organisational challenges is to create your very own Social Customer Service Playbook.

We mentioned in our last post the importance of creating a knowledge base or documentation that can be easily navigated by your team. This should include every guideline you expect agents to adhere to – from tone of voice to appropriate responses, but also procedures for unexpected social outbreaks that evade all the rules you can set out on paper.

A Social Customer Service Playbook should be developed with input from the marketing department, for their communication, branding and social media knowledge; the customer service department for their experience in dealing with customer queries and handling complaints; and where relevant for your industry, corporate communications and legal departments. Your agents and team should feel confident to turn to the Playbook whenever they are unsure of what steps to take, so look to develop a well-thought through go-to resource.

Here, we provide you a checklist of things to consider when creating a Social Customer Service Playbook that really works for your team:

Focus and Goals

It might sound simple, but have you communicated your company goals to your team, and why you are using social media for customer service? In your Playbook, be sure to provide your agents a strong focus for how to approach social communication. Key motivators and priorities of the brand will help empower your team to make the best judgment while delivering fast service to your customers.

The 101 on Social Platforms

New additions to your team could be coming from a range of backgrounds when it comes to social media knowledge. A run-down of how different social platforms work and how conversations can be seen publicly in different scenarios is again the best route to real confidence in handling potentially brand new channels, and is a worthwhile investment in your team’s expertise.

Tone of Voice

Delivering a consistent brand voice is number one priority for many marketeers on social. Whether you have 1 or 100 social agents, each person should reflect the brand’s personality through their engagement with customers. Perhaps your agents’ individual personalities is your brand’s ethos, but different businesses will look to prescribe this to completely different degrees. Make sure tone of voice guidelines are described clearly for your team in a way that makes sense for new starters, but can also be referred too by existing team members when they are unsure of where to toe the line.

Do’s and Don’ts

Being explicit with do’s and don’ts is a great way for you to both establish your boundaries for social communication, and communicate these to team members in a practical way . Setting out clear examples of what responses would and would not be a brand fit is a good way to demonstrate brand and tone guidelines in real terms and avoid misinterpretation.

Example Responses

Set out scenarios which require a variety of responses, and gives examples of the type of replies you expect agents to provide.  If your team ever needs to check back, this section of the Playbook will help them craft similar responses of their own. It’s important to note that regurgitated template responses can often be received badly by consumers, so caveat example responses in your Playbook with a warning.

Go-to Resources

Keep your agents up to date with an easily accessible knowledge-base and evergreen articles that are easily accessible to refer back to. Not only will your team be especially well informed, but they can also shorten response times by having quick access to the information your customers regularly need.

Step-by-step processes

Clearly outline the steps for processing a customer message from start to finish. This should be designed for the specific systems your agents use to manage conversations, and should leave out no details. Give step-by-step information on how to respond, what data to record such as sentiment and categories, how to share messages with team members and when to deem a conversation closed. Annotated screenshots are a good way to reinforce staff training.

Who’s Who?

Even through a well-maintained, living document, not every scenario can be prepared for on paper. Be sure to list a complete directory of everyone to address when your agents need further assistance for specific customer needs or social situations.

Let us know how you developed a Social Customer Service Playbook in the comments below. If you have a Playbook that works for your business, can you share any other tips to those looking to create one?

Download our latest Quick Guide to Social Customer Service: Finding Your All Star Team, for more tips into hiring and training processes to build up your team.

Click to Download your Free Quick Guide

Topics: Customer Service

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