Over the past decade social media has redefined the role of customer service. The changes in consumer behaviour, interaction preferences and new technology has elevated customer service to an indispensable aspect of the brand experience. According to a recent study from Facebook, more than 80% of customers now expects brands & businesses to have established social media channels for them to communicate with and more than 70% of millennials on social media have interacted with a chatbot guided campaign in the past 6 months. The predecessor of our known customer service used to be mainly associated with “after services”, a channel mainly for product enquiries, troubleshooting or filing complaints. Some brand’s management still couldn’t justify devoting substantial resource into this line of work, nor do they see the immediate value of their investment, the attitude has been, “If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.”
In the budding stage of social media, the inbox was the customer service. Many standard operation procedures (filing methods, notification practices, etc) were simply adopted from traditional service protocols and that would suffice to the general audience. But as social media became an integral part of our daily lives and brands began implementing Omni-channel approaches in their marketing strategy, customer service were often overlooked. Service operations were not modernized to meet new customer’s expectations, for example, having a human agent on during extended office hours is the standard, but the expectations nowadays are 24/7 and as brand how do you combine and allocate the level of human agent involvement with automated chats for quick Q&A access is the challenge. Furthermore, brands are hit with the reality that the loads and complexity of enquiries flowing in are too much for a human agent to handle efficiently while facilitating channel operations which in turn became a bottle neck for businesses and detrimental for the brand experience.
With Omni-channel, creating a cohesive brand experience is critical. But the challenge first lies with centralizing multiple communication touchpoints, after all customers aren’t just chatting within the inbox anymore. For the local audience that uses Facebook or Instagram, their interaction point can be on the wall level, in the comment sections on post, reactions from Instagram stories or threads in forums. For non-local audience their channels could be on WhatsApp, WeChat conversations, Telegram and even Signal. To us, we’ve foresaw the need to address this problem and have devised a scalable enterprise solution, Chatnroll, for all our clients to manage their daily enquiries. Long gone are the days of manual copying and pasting routines from each social media platform and repetitive labour-intensive updates on google sheets and email, everything is automated on our platform so our clients can focus on what truly matters, the insights.
Picking the Right Platform
There are many tools out there that serves similar management purposes, but the difference is if the platform was developed with a “social” mindset and the means to expand beyond from just a “customer service platform”. To us, customer service doesn’t stop at after service or first-time enquiries, rather we treat it as continuous overview of the customer’s entire journey/experience with the brand, a true single customer view for the omni-channel. From campaigns interactions to wall games comments, to reactions on posts, to offline purchasing details, chatbot driven sampling campaigns, preference gathering footprints on E-commerce site everything is centralized and systematically documented for admins to process or conduct further analysis.
With this holistic view of customer service in mind, the design of our platform admin user experience would have all the necessary management functions and many innovative flexible modular functions will be integrated along the way to facilitate new marketing and sales related activities. To name a few standard functions, tagging and labelling, sentiment detection for comments, notification protocols in case of PR crisis, administrative authorization levels to enable seamless collaboration between teams and business units, to detailed reporting with data visualization for quick or comprehensive insights.
Reliability is just as important as functionality for a customer service platform, to put it into perspective, we assisted our airline client to handle enquires during the two mega typhoons in 2017 and 2018. The incident began when planes got cancelled and a wave of enquires piled into all their service channels (inbox, wall level comment sections, phone calls, etc). At peak times, there were more than 10,000+ enquiries per day. Our system could handle the load and our emergency protocols teams were in action assisting with filtering and labelling enquiries in the platform for customer checking for plane departure times, layover hotel enquiries, refund on tickets and negative comments. We prioritize the various tickets and automate the repetitive process with a modified campaign module to handle refunds on tickets to speed up the processing speed. Meanwhile, we monitored the sentiment level of negative comments on various platforms, inbox, forums, and public media to formulate strategies to neutralize via personal messaging or seeding to help our client recover back to a normalize state.
Customer Service Transformed
The value of customer service isn’t just assisting the brand’s marketing operations but rather the enquiries and comments gathered over the years is a gold mine of data for the brand to harvest from. Brands needs a change in mindset to stop viewing customer service as just a touchpoint with your brand and set your visions further out the horizon to view what can this channel bring you. As third-party data diminishes and there are less reliable sources to target new customers, your best option is to start with what you have, to build your own database because the more you know about your customer, the more you will be able to hold them. But to reach the stage where you can transform your customer enquiries into valuable insights requires that you have the proper setup to collect the right data and design campaigns that integrate these data collection modules.
Clement Lee, Digital Strategist of Prizm Group
Extracted Version Published by Marketing Interactive on 3 December 2021