Why Every Social Customer Care Team Needs A ‘Gatekeeper’

By: Sofie De Beule

November 20, 2015

In a social customer care team, there are many different roles and responsibilities. Social customer care team leaders and agents often wear many hats. Recently, the term ‘gatekeeper’ has been popping up across the industry as more and more companies have considered introducing the gatekeeper role into their social customer care team.

You might think that gatekeeping is the role of a single person, but that’s not necessarily the case. Let’s take a look at the role of the gatekeeper, and solve the mystery behind the term ‘gatekeeper’ for social customer care once and for all.

Best practices for social customer care call for every message that needs an action to land in one central inbox. This gives your team a way to keep an overview of all messages (and your entire social media presence) at all times. The gatekeeper is the person or team of people that makes sure each incoming mention gets directed to the right person with the right skills.

In addition to one central inbox, we also recommend having multiple mailboxes that allow you to direct mentions to different people. Each agent is responsible to reply to a certain number of mailboxes. It’s the gatekeeper’s responsibility to makes sure each message gets directed to the right person or department.

Playing By the Rules

How and why gatekeepers direct messages to different mailboxes should be part of your code of conduct for social customer service. In addition to your rules of engagement (e.g. how you should reply in case of a crisis, which tone of voice to use, etc.), a code of conduct explains and clearly documents the roles and responsibilities for each agent or department, such as which messages they are able to reply to. It answers questions like, “Which type of messages should go to marketing or second line support?”

Let’s explain this with a straightforward example:

Antonio works in the Italian customer care team of a multi-national company that sells electronics. He speaks Italian and is the most knowledgeable person to answer questions about kitchen supplies and washing machines.

So, when an Italian messages comes in with technical questions about a kitchen blender, the gatekeeper makes sure that message lands in Antonio’s mailbox.

However, say that another customer starts complaining on Twitter about a promotional campaign that was recently launched to promote that same kitchen blender. Instead of bothering Antonio, the gatekeeper will direct the message to Pepe’s mailbox. Pepe works in the Italian marketing department and is responsible for responding to marketing-related questions.

How can a gatekeeper direct mentions to a mailbox? With Engagor, it’s easy-peasy! By adding a tag to a mention (e.g. Italian Office, Customer Service, Marketing, etc.), that message will automatically land in the new mailbox.

Leverage & Capitalize on Your Team Members’ Skills

The gatekeeper role is critically important, especially if you work with large teams and you’re flooded with questions on a daily basis. Gatekeepers allow you to keep an overview of the incoming messages and make sure they get directed to the right person or department to make sure you can deliver a fast response– or even decrease response times. Your code of conduct should document which department or agent is responsible for which type of message, but make sure you consider the skills and schedule of each team member when you make your plan. If you set up your gatekeeping team to succeed, they’ll help your entire organization to put the customer first.