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Needles in Haystacks: Trying to Identify Social Customer Service Issues Without the Right Tools

By Anna Drennan on Jan 20, 2012 6:54:00 PM

Social networks aren’t just another customer service channel. A whole range of conversations take place in this public arena. And although extremely important, and always growing – customer service is just one.

Dedicated service teams are managing complaints and questions at a more frequent rate, but often these are still in the hands of a single social media manager, responsible for both marketing and support. It’s important for whoever manages social strategy to understand the requirements for direct customer care.

Imagine you’re responsible for customer service on your company’s Facebook page and Twitter account (you may not need to pretend) – how do you find issues quickly enough to properly respond to customers? How do you pick them out from the noise of general conversation?

As soon as you reach any kind of scale, using social platforms directly just isn’t a sensible option. We’ve thoroughly investigated the challenges faced by major companies in Facebook, but this single example illustrates the unique obstacle of social networks to customer service.

Walmart has over 11 million fans. A recent update, asking the simple conversation starter: “Fill in the blank: The best thing Santa brought me was…”, received over 5 and a half thousand replies. Buried amongst this huge number were 20 customer service related questions and complaints.  It might not seem like much, relative to the mass amount of comments posted, but buried in the haystack were substantive issues that needed immediate attention. 

How would you go about addressing those real issues?  Here you have - largely in under 24 hours – disgruntled customers, who if continually ignored will likely go on to complain repeatedly. It’s certainly no easy feat.

It’s not only companies operating at the scale of Walmart who need the help of technology. Not only is it important to isolate real issues from the vast majority of messages that don’t need your attention, but marketing and customer service need better integration. What is intended as a friendly conversation starter can spark real problems. This is something we found to be a particular problem for Walmart in our recent research study “Who’s Ignoring Their Customers”, which looked at the response rates of major retailers to issues in Facebook. Marketers who post updates without considering the needs and demographic of their audience face bigger consequences than a lack of appeal. Deals posted which aren’t targeted to relevant areas invite the public frustration of those who don’t qualify.

This particular Walmart post is an extreme example; we’ve found that many other pages need an average response rate of 10%. But it shows the operational challenge that social networks can present to those trying to stay on top of customer service. Conversocial provides tools to prioritize the most urgent messages that need to be dealt with, and gives every team member visibility of what conversations are taking place, allowing them to communicate quickly. Don’t try to clamber into the haystack without some help.

Find out how Conversocial can help your team prioritise and respond to urgent messages here

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