Can you name an industry that hasn’t been affected by social media? If you can list it, someone will target it so keep that intel to yourself! But assuming you can’t, you would have to agree that along with social media, social client relationship management (CRM) has become pretty essential – and the job market agrees.
Social customer service jobs are on the rise and being active on Twitter – and understanding why social customer service is so important – may help you stay a step ahead of fellow job seekers!
With Twitter adding new services for businesses all the time, it’s easier than ever for brands to develop a presence on Twitter. And it’s also easier than ever to succumb to social media nightmares, so developing solid social customer service protocols is pretty essential. And this is probably why Indeed.com is seeing such a spike in social customer service job posts:
The trend for hiring dedicated social customer service reps has certainly accelerated quickly. When we began working with companies on developing these operations in 2011, the most common arrangement we came across was recruitment of one customer service agent in the call center to start channeling their knowledge to customers over social. Usually, these reps were still working by phone or email, heavily moderated by marketing, and rolled out only to provide customer-specific information as a last resort for the social media manager. It was a good first step, but not good enough to scale.
However, in 2012, the social customer service agent made its mark as a serious job role. Even when only a team of one or two, it is now acknowledged that these agents require a specific skill-set as they break out of pure issue handling to take on the front-line of social customer engagement. Today, making headway into 2013, this trend is only growing faster. While last year’s leaders grow their teams to expand the reach of their service efforts on social, there are still many companies out there who will be looking to catch up, and will follow this trend to be competitive while consumers confirm their preference for social conversations.
We also asked him to help explain why businesses were misinformed to think social media was not a good way to handle customer service. His response sums it up nicely:
The only businesses that will be able to continue ignoring the importance of social media as a service channel are those who can comfortably turn their backs on good service as a differentiator. From my experience, those who have swayed away from social categorically are those who haven’t developed a solid customer service culture through other channels. You’ve got to get the service part right before you can go social with it. Taking customer service to social media is not about keeping up with the latest technology or being current, it’s about meeting your customers at their point of need. If that’s something you’re dedicated to as a company, then the vast majority of businesses will find that road pointing to the Internet’s biggest communication channels – Facebook and Twitter.
And finally, we asked why services like his (not his, specifically) are equally essential to the social customer service equation:
Getting the right team, with the right skills, is of course the most important first step. And this isn’t as simple as making some smart new hires. Social customer service touches many more aspects of the business than companies might at first expect. These functions; marketing, PR, communications, customer experience and product teams, are largely concerned with brand protection, which is hugely at risk, and insight, which is readily available when social customer service requests start coming through.
Although most businesses started out on social by handing out passwords on post-its to a select few staff members, they soon realized that this public discourse needed to be a serious program managed with proper security and real accountability. As volumes grew, we all came to realize that social media was very different than other communication channels. This realization led to the birth of the social customer service rep, with a completely new repertoire to master. This shift to social also means there’s a lot of information to filter while delivering faster than ever responses. That requires smart technology if these reps are ever going to scale their reach.
And finally – probably the most motivational consideration – businesses are really missing the most valuable of opportunities if they don’t make the most of the data that comes out of this kind of social engagement. The right tools allow agents to easily categorize and record information from social conversations that can be used for actionable insight into how to make valuable business changes quicker than ever before. Who needs so much customer service when you’ve got a better business offering?
How is your company handling social customer service? And are you noticing more job posts in this area? If you look at our job board, we list quite a few social media jobs – check it out! And for real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.
(Hired image from Shutterstock)