Shifting Customer Service for the Social Era

Social Media Week

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By Andrew Caravella


Social media has forever changed the way companies approach customer service. It provides multiple ways for people to interact with brands, influence peers’ buying decisions and – quite rapidly – makes individual customer service inquires very public. A 140-character tweet can have positive or negative implications for any business, so its imperative that customer care teams are ready, willing and able to engage.

Many companies recognize and are adjusting their business accordingly; in fact, Simply Measured recently reported that more than 32 percent of top brands have dedicated customer service handles on Twitter. That means that much of the workload previously reserved for email and telephone has shifted to social media. However, truly superior customer care teams don’t just respond to support inquiries or service questions, they also transform those public interactions into positive brand evangelism.

To ensure your business is built for social customer service success, first compile a team of passionate and considerate brand advocates to spearhead your efforts. The people behind the keyboard must treat each social interaction is an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships and understand the impact they have on brand reputation, customer loyalty and new sales.

Additionally, to ensure the whole team is on the same, discuss the following questions:

+What are your goals for social care?
+How quickly are the representatives expected to respond to questions/problems?
+How does your brand’s social voice translate into customer care interactions?
+When should customer issues be taken offline?
+What tools should you use to manage social conversations and interactions?

Once your team is assembled, ensure they are equipped with the training, guidelines and resources they need to succeed. Conduct an in-depth session to educate each customer care rep about your product or service so they can effectively respond to customer questions without having to go through layers of approvals. Then don’t let them be, continually check in and update them on a regular basis to make sure they are always up to date and able to resolve issues quickly and accurately.

Have suggestions on how to shift customer service for the social era? Tweet your thoughts to @SMWChicago!


Andrew Caravella is Vice President of Marketing at Sprout Social, a leading social media management and engagement platform. Follow him @andrewcaravella.

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