10 Common Social Customer Care Team Mistakes to Avoid

By: Sofie De Beule

March 3, 2016

While many brands have already taken on a social customer care program, it’s still easy to fall into the common pitfalls. Make sure your brand avoids these mistakes if you want to bear the fruits of a successful social customer care program.

1. A strategy without long-term vision. If you want to embark on a social customer care journey, you need to make sure your whole company is on the same page by identifying long-term goals. If you worry about not being able to make significant improvements in response times or meeting SLAs, you need to get this sorted out right away. In the most common case, an unclear strategy and ad-hoc activities (and in the worst case, even the lack of a strategy) will cause you to dramatically lag behind.

2. Impersonal responses, especially when under pressure. In the heat of the moment, when fighting your way out of a crisis or dealing with very disgruntled customers, it’s sometimes difficult to keep your cool. However, customers will appreciate if you respond in a human, personal way instead of using automated messages, even when times are tough. If that means calling on an extra pair of hands at those moments that truly matter, try and go the extra mile.

3. Customer care activities isolated from other departments. It’s very easy to find yourself working in silos and opposing cooperation (both intentionally and unintentionally) with other departments (e.g. PR, R&D, etc.) because you might feel they can sometimes slow things down. However, to quickly problem-solve inquiries and dramatically reduce response times, you need cooperation and buy-in from the entire company, including the individual departments. You can foster that close cooperation by hosting frequent, company-wide meetings.

4. More than two touch points for handling customer cases. Try to fix customers’ issues with only two touch points instead of going back-and-forth with your customers. It’s not a game of ping-pong! When resolving issues, ensure you limit the amount of touch points; first, you need to acknowledge the complaint or issue and ask the right questions. Secondly, get back to your customer with an appropriate solution and resolve their concerns. Obviously, some inquiries are more complex than others which requires you to get more into the nitty-gritty.

5. Not reporting on your activities. While you’re busy creating beautiful dashboards that display all of your KPIs and metrics at a glance, don’t forget to report on those numbers too! As part of your efforts to keep your superiors up-to-date and prove your efforts are paying off, make sure you report on your activities in order to safeguard your KPIs are still aligned with your strategy and goals.

6. Neglected customer feedback. With the wealth of information your customers share about your products and service on social, it would be a pity to let all if it go to waste. Don’t throw it away; make sure you close the loop with your customers and pass on the information to the right people. For example, if you notice customers keep complaining about payment issues during online check-out on social, escalate this issue to your eCommerce manager with a detailed report.

7. Lack of leadership over your social customer care team. Companies often get caught up figuring out which department should own social customer care. In addition, the social customer care team often lacks direction and the proper guidance which causes team members to feel demotivated. That’s where a social customer care team leader comes in! A successful manager claims ownership and is responsible for coaching and motivating social care agents, as well as looking at the numbers to make sure everyone’s on target.

8. You’re not active when your customers are. Companies are often clueless about when people are most frequently talking about their brand. Make sure you’re actively responding to questions when you need to be. Social customer care is not your average 9-to-5 job and requires a different mindset. For example, eCommerce websites are making huge numbers over the weekend which is when most customers are making online purchases. Determine your business hours based on your customers’ needs and adjust when necessary.

9. Success stories not shared with the entire company. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to share success stories with the entire company. In addition to sending out reports and hosting frequent, company-wide meetings, why not make it a consistent effort to shine the light on your awesome customer care team? Typically, sharing success stories, even the smallest one, has a noticeable impact on employee engagement.

10. Social customer care program not maturing. As social customer care becomes more challenging, companies often prefer to stay in their comfort zone instead of taking it up a notch. If you want to truly gain an edge over competition, be bold and make more optimistic goals in terms of SLAs and response times.