3 Best Practices to Optimize Your Social Customer Service Team’s Workflow

By: Sofie De Beule

October 27, 2016

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Successful social customer service programs typically have strong workflows in place that allow agents to work efficiently and collaborate smoothly. Workflows are essential in a hectic environment. They give agents a framework to handle every type of message, complaint, or inquiry, following a certain procedure.

Workflows help manage social media messages more effectively, increase productivity, and ultimately, enable faster responses. Once workflows are set up, the job isn’t done. They need continuous refinement to ensure they’re still doing the trick. Below are key best practices to optimize your team’s workflow.

1. Appoint internal company experts. Messages come from everywhere; each incoming mention is unique and requires a different kind of approach. Triaging social media messages is easy if you assign specialists to help divide the workload based on expertise from a product or language point of view. The idea is that each message needs to land in the inbox of the agent(s) who is most knowledgeable to answer the question.

2. Introduce a first- and second-line customer support. Some customer service agents easily take on basic questions while others answer more complex questions too. This isn’t any different from a typical call or contact center. That’s why it’s important to make the distinction between first- and second-line customer service agents.

  • A (junior-level) first-line agent has all-round knowledge and answers more basic, frequently asked questions. If a query is too complex or difficult to handle, they label (or tag) it with “second line” to automatically route it to a more senior team member.
  • A (senior-level) second-line agent also responds to questions and is as social media-savvy as any first-line agent. In addition, second-line agents have in-depth expertise and answer more detailed questions (e.g. billing issues, technical details about appliances, etc.) that need more time to solve. Since social customer feedback brings a wealth of information, second-line agents have an important responsibility in detecting underlying issues (e.g. product malfunctions, network breakdowns, etc.) to quickly troubleshoot and share them with the relevant department.

3. Introduce approval workflows. As the volume of social media messages is only expected to grow, so is your social customer service team. It’s key to have a straightforward process in place to get new team members on board in order to get them up to speed right away. In this case, approval workflows work wonders when new agents take the first stab at responding and handling cases.

In addition, you also need a straightforward approval flow in place when agents are in doubt and want to get a second opinion. Approval flows can be used for any type of agent (i.e. junior, mid-senior, and senior level) and usually depend on the type of situation. For example, you may be dealing with impolite customers or ongoing, endless discussions, when a customer remains unhappy after multiple compensations, etc. When situations are out of your league, you need a social customer care team lead’s judgement.

In the social customer service field, optimizing your team’s workflow is pivotal to increase productivity. To learn more on how you can organize and optimize your social customer service program to make your efforts more effective, read our eBook on building a social customer care team.

Sofie De Beule is Content Marketing Specialist at Clarabridge. She helps establish Clarabridge as a thought leader for Social Customer Service and Customer Experience. Sofie’s an Engagor expert, Clarabridge’s best-in-class social customer service solution, inspiring brands on how to manage and get their social customer service program off the ground. Sofie holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & International Marketing from Artevelde University College Ghent. Read more from Sofie on Twitter @sofiedbeule.