Give Your Customer Service Organization an Inside Advantage
When you hear the phrase “customer service community” what do you think of? I’m betting that for most people, the first (and maybe only) thing that comes to mind is a public-facing customer community. And no doubt, public communities are the centerpiece of any social customer service solution. But it would be a huge mistake to overlook the critical role of internal communities in customer service.
Internal communities offer a leap in service team effectiveness, allowing employees to share best practices, put their heads together to solve tough cases, and alert each other to important feedback, emerging issues, and trends. By spreading vital knowledge across the entire group, they can make the whole team as smart as its smartest members. Given the inevitable turnover in support staff and the high cost of training, the ability to capture and preserve expertise saves a boatload of money.
Compare this to the traditional tools still used by many service organizations: e-mail, IM, static intranets, wikis, and the like. Vast amounts of effort and information are lost or duplicated in such systems. Without an internal community, your customer service agents have to resort to those traditional, siloed systems to hunt for answers.
Many of our most successful customers have expanded from internal- or external-only communities to a combination internal and external, realizing big synergies in the process.
T-Mobile, for instance, backs its 150,000-strong Jive-based customer service community with internal collaborative communities, also powered by Jive. As T-Mobile Enterprise Community Manager Will Rose explains, their service staff used to rely on a patchwork of nine separate systems for their knowledge base, customer feedback, collaboration and other functions. Now all those activities are supported by T-Mobile’s Jive communities, resulting in major improvements in knowledge sharing, rep effectiveness,call deflection and resolution rates.
Another customer, StrongMail, has two Jive communities—one for employees and one for customers—integrated via bridging. Bridging makes possible a variety of features that leverage the complementary relationship between internal and external communities. So, for example, customer service agents should be able to easily pull in unanswered questions from the external community, collaborate on the answers with employees who don't normally go to the customer community, and push them back out to the customers. In StrongMail's case, this has enabled their service organization to put customer concerns front and center inside the company and tap their globally distributed workforce to rapidly answer critical customer questions.
Bridging can also simplify knowledge base creation, with features that allow users to take a customer discussion, turn it into a document with a single click, edit it, and, with a few more clicks, publish it as a searchable, fully indexed article in the internal or external community.
These are some of the ways an internal community can not only make your service team better, but improve your external community, too.
Bottom line: if you’re leaving employee collaboration out of the customer service equation, you're missing out on some of the key benefits of social. It’s only logical to give your service team the same advantages you give to customers. That’s why Jive has bundled a 100-member team community as standard equipment in our Customer Service Solution to work alongside the customer-facing community. It makes sense.
If you would like to connect with others who are interested in customer service check out the group: Customer Service
Jive's Customer Service Solution includes team and customer communities with bridging; Fathom and Fathom Pro social media monitoring; and integration with CRM and Microsoft Outlook. For more information check out the Customer Service Toolkit