mathew.ladd works at Jive Software in the Account Support Department. A bit about Mathew: "I have my undergraduate degree in communications, specializing in marketing and sales, and have a ton of experience writing content for startup companies around Portland. I'm a philanthropist through and through, and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. You can count on me to be honest, forward, and not afraid to speak my mind. I gather a lot of inspiration from the world around me, and like to share that positivity through my writing."
A little over a week ago I introduced the idea of combining Social and Support to engaging clients online in Riding the Social Support Wave: Social Support Part 1. This week I want to focus on what that Support team is, and how to create a smooth flow of information through those members. I did briefly cover the basics of the how to do this, but want to make sure and address the team dynamic aspect, and setting up standard responses that will save everyone precious man-hours and effort. So, let's dig right in!
Develop clear structure for your team dynamic. Let's do a little recapping here first. Initially, you should set up your response team in charge of getting back to those social questions. There are several directions that might suite you best, but two that I want to touch on are wonderful for getting your support team going. Option 1: Centralize to just one to three responders who function as the company voice on social. Organize these creative responders, and have them writing original content for getting back to inquirers. Consider them the gatekeepers of your social world. This helps keep a consistent voice in all support responses and allows for a few people to hold the good flow of communications internally and externally.
Option 2: Use your whole team, your entire staff as responders. Have a couple of people help guide staff with their responses as the filter. This allows for direct customers to employees who know the most about that topic. A full communication tree of amazing responders who handle the inquiries directly is the ultimate goal here. Have a solid plan for not letting any communications slip through the cracks.
Work to be polite and efficient. My first few rules include being thankful, thoughtful, and show your clients you appreciate them. You should also develop and maintain standard responses to questions that come up frequently. You will want to have thoughtful wording for quick and easy responding no matter what platform you are providing support through. It is important to have short and long responses to the same question due to the character limits of certain platforms (e.g., Twitter, which only allows 140 characters). For those inevitably tough questions you don't know the answer to, let your customer know: (1) you are actively working on it, (2) you'll get back to them soon, and (3) that you appreciate their patience. Keep building to your scenario lists as more and unique circumstances arrise. Keep good record of how the situation was resolved, bring the support issue to a close quickly.
Don't limit any program you set up. Keep trying new things, growing your capabilities, and learning what's the most effective through trial and error. Realize it is not always going to be perfect and avoid getting discouraged early on when learning from mistakes. Curious how other companies are doing this? Watch this webcast on how T-Mobile has provided social support.
How is your support team structured for handling customer questions through social?