This Is Why It’s Critical To Service Customers In The Channel Of Their Choice

This Is Why It’s Critical To Service Customers In The Channel Of Their Choice

It is always best to answer the question on the channel of the customer’s choice if possible. Two main reasons: 1) The customer likely knows you have other Customer Service channels, but has chosen to use social media instead. Serving customers in the channel of their choice is the best way to ensure their happiness and satisfaction, and the last thing someone who’s been on hold for two hours wants to hear is, “Please call our toll-free number for assistance!” 2) Others in the social media community will be able to see that your company is responsive, that it cares for its customers, and that it provides great service. “Redirecting customers away from their chosen support channel is one of the worst Customer Service experiences possible,” according to The Definitive Guide to Social, Digital Customer Service by service technology platform Conversocial. Asking a customer to move to Direct Message on Twitter or Facebook Messenger rather than a public page in order to provide personal information (to verify an account, for example) is a perfectly reasonable request. “It's not always possible for us to resolve those inquiries in a public digital channel so it's about having the right backup and support to take a private conversation that requires a certain security around identification into a live chat channel,” said Monty Hamilton, formerly of Australian telecom Telstra. While some companies are comfortable using Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Message for these types of inquiries, others do not trust the security of any platform but their own. Inquiries (or their answers) that include Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI) must be taken to a private space immediately due to privacy laws. Where it gets tricky is when the customer includes sensitive PII in his or her social media post; while they are making their own sensitive information public, that doesn’t necessarily give your company the right to verify or repeat it. Some companies have created looser guidelines for Social Customer Care agents because the servicing is happening in public (“Just give them what they want so they’ll stop complaining!”) but this is a very slippery slope because customers may learn that social is the channel where a “no” answer can become a “yes.” Excerpts from Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences On Social Media, available on Amazon.

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A customer has complained about your business on social media. Now what? The reflexive response is to move the issue to a private channel, such as direct messaging, email or telephone.

The decision to move a conversation off-channel may seem simple, but in reality there are a variety of factors and many situations are unique. It is always best to answer the question on the channel of the customer’s choice if possible. Why? Two main reasons:

1) The customer likely knows you have other Customer Service channels, but has chosen to use social media instead. This may be because another channel has failed him, or it may be because social media is his first-choice channel. Serving customers in the channel of their choice is the best way to ensure their happiness and satisfaction, and the last thing someone who’s been on hold for two hours wants to hear is, “Please call our toll-free number for assistance!”

2) Others in the social media community will be able to see that your company is responsive, that it cares for its customers, and that it provides great service. Your answer may also provide content to help others who have not even asked a question yet, potentially reducing future Customer Service expenses.

Moving a discussion off-channel still demonstrates responsiveness, but it runs the risk of looking like your company is hiding something, that it would prefer to sweep the question or complaint under the carpet than acknowledge and answer it publicly. And moving every question offline looks downright evasive and robotic.

“Redirecting customers away from their chosen support channel is one of the worst Customer Service experiences possible,” according to The Definitive Guide to Social, Digital Customer Service by service technology platform Conversocial.

Asking a customer to move to Direct Message on Twitter or Facebook Messenger rather than a public page in order to provide personal information (to verify an account, for example) is a perfectly reasonable request. It may also be necessary in order to hear and understand the customer’s whole story, the context of which may be lost in just 280 characters.

“It’s not always possible for us to resolve those inquiries in a public digital channel…

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