Webcare: are you doing it right? Probably not

You only have to ask one question to know if your webcare activities are future proof:

If I would receive ten times the amount of messages for my organisation on social media as I do today, can I then still scale with my current team and technologies?

We have to understand that the current amount of messages on social media about brands, products and services is still relatively low. Just a small percentage of people are using social media as a replacement for their customer service or as an active sales orientation channel. A lot of the activities are still rather private and passive. However quite a significant amount of companies are now starting their webcare activities, which is often a copy of the old-fashioned offline customer service process: single reaction, single response.

By just copying your approach from your traditional call center you might be able to give yourself a nice marketing advantage in the early days of interacting with your customers online. Though in the long run it is a recipe for failure. What if all your customers decide to stop calling your call centers and move over to social media? What will happen then? There is no way to throttle the waiting queues as you can when your customers call your call center.

Therefore your approach has to be different, since the medium is different. A future proof approach consists of three elements:

  1. Customer Communities; It is a misunderstanding that you or your organization has to be the one answering all the questions online. Create or facilitate a customer community in which your stimulate customer self service. If customers help other customers it will make you more scaleable in peak situations.
  2. Social Media Analytics; A customer community will only help you in getting to a certain amount of questions asked online. Therefore you nee to monitor the rest of the Web as well to see if questions arise and even more important to identify certain trends you can act upon more pro actively.
  3. Automation; If customers ask a question they are in search of an answer, if you can provide the answer in a few seconds, they are happy. A lot of questions don’t need an answer provided by a human, so why bother to have human providing standard answers on standard questions.

These three elements will provide you with a more efficient approach, since either work is done by your customers themselves or in some cases the work will be automated. Leaving you with your existing team, that now can start making a difference on the interactions that matter, instead of providing standard answers on standard questions.