3 Key Social Customer Service Lessons Learned at C3 Europe

By: Sofie De Beule

September 28, 2016

brussels airlines
crisis management
cx conference
social customer experience
social customer service conference
social customer service program
social customer service triage
social media crisis management
tesco mobile
transport for london

Last week, September 20-21, social customer service and customer experience professionals from across Europe (and beyond) gathered in London for C3 Europe, our annual CX and Social Customer Service conference. The event was a major hit, with eBay, Brussels Airlines, Transport for London, Philips, Unilever, Lloyds Banking, Tesco Mobile, and many more on stage for interviews, panel discussions, and practical use case presentations.

A great mix of industries shed light on their social customer service and Customer Experience Management (CEM) program. They not only shared their challenges, but also (and most importantly) their recipes for success. Attendees headed back home with tips and tricks on driving a successful social customer service program, ways to turn customer feedback into action, identifying root causes, and so much more. Let’s take a look at three major social customer service lessons learned at C3 Europe.

1. Only focussing on reactive social customer service is a thing of the past. A lot of companies have identified the need for social customer service and are actively responding to messages. But customers expect more! For those companies that really want to gain a leg up on competition, providing proactive service to customers is the way to move forward. Tesco Mobile, who took the stage with our host Mark Jeffries, believes their proactive social customer service strategy really sets them apart from their competition.

The company even takes it up a notch, and doesn’t just respond to messages directed to them. Customers expect a highly personalized experience with a service provider, which is why the UK telco company labels any incoming mention that would benefit from a follow-up response. Consequently, they’re able to filter on it and reach out to them when customers least expect it. For example, they check in and ask how customers are getting on with their new phone, if they’ve downloaded the app, etc. This simple, yet effective method to build stronger relationships has even earned Tesco Mobile the award for Best Social Media in Customer Service from the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA).

2. Crisis management stretches beyond your social team. Unfortunately, sooner or later, every company has to deal with a crisis situation. Recent major crisis events, like the March terrorist attacks in Brussels Airport, have made companies across the globe rethink their strategy. Social is the first means to pick up on a crisis, however, proper crisis management involves every department. You really need that holistic view of your company and resources to make sure you can engage confidently when times are rough.

During the March attacks, Brussels Airlines quickly expanded their social team of 2 agents to over 50 team members responding to queries due to surging volumes, with colleagues jumping in from Finance, Front-Desk, and many more. In the aftermath of the crisis, Brussels Airlines has embraced its challenges magnificently and has grown their crisis program in many ways:

  • An updated crisis checklist allows them to quickly switch to autopilot and stop ads, cancel all scheduled posts, pull up various statement templates, etc.
  • The birth of a central social media knowledge hub and social mini course allows anyone from the company to start responding to questions when your inbox is inundated with messages after receiving a very short, hands-on briefing.
  • Bigger focus on customer experience with better involvement from other departments with the introduction of a ‘Jumpseat programme, allowing anyone from the company to be part of the social media team for an hour and get a better sense what customers are complaining about front-line.

3. Simplify the way customers can reach out to you via social. Let’s face it, social media comes with its pains, especially when your customers rely on the availability of real-time information in industries such as public transport, airlines, and hospitality. In London, public transport (e.g. Tube trains, buses, main roads and traffic lights, etc.) is run by Transport for London. The company running the capital’s transport network has a complex, fragmented social media landscape, with a numerous different social profiles.

However, this doesn’t show in the way customers reach out to Transport for London’s accounts. Customers don’t have to deal with the behind-the-scenes work that goes into receiving a seamless customer experience on social. Transport for London’s goal is to provide a straightforward, timely response. For this, they have a really straightforward process in place to handle all incoming queries.

  1. A customers reaches out to TfL’s social profiles.
  2. The incoming query gets automatically triaged to the right team. A few queries (that are lacking context) are manually referred between departments.
  3. TfL handles the query and the most knowledgeable person to answer responds as quickly as possible, directly through social. A message gets moved to private messages when deemed necessary.

C3 Europe was an amazing two-day event filled with great content, tangible action items and essential tips and tricks. We hope to see you next year!