The Real Value of Social Care

Today, it’s almost unheard of for companies to not engage in social media in some fashion. In fact, McKinsey reports that 70% of companies engage in some form of social customer care. This doesn’t mean that the traditional call center has died. This means that companies have to evolve and adopt new communications channels to reach more customers, adopting phone, then email, then chat, and now all social channels.

Why Social Care?

Customer expectations and demands have risen as companies embrace social care. Fifty-three percent of customers who ask a brand a question on Twitter expect a response within 1 hour — the figure goes up to 72% if that customer is making a complaint.  Customers are also sensitive to the quality of the interaction — and 70% will actually stop buying from a brand after an unsatisfactory social care experience. Still not convinced? Aberdeen Group reports that companies with a social care program experience a 7.5% YoY increase in customer retention – those without only see a change of 2.9%.

What does all of this mean? Excellent social care must become the norm, or a company’s bottom line will suffer. As we all know, customer retention is far cheaper than customer acquisition.

Measuring Business Impact

There are various ways to measure the business impact of social care teams. Most are held to traditional “call center” metrics like response or SLA times, but social gives us a lot more visibility and data to draw from. This makes it an interesting channel to mine for both care and business health insights.  Here are some business impact metrics to consider as you gauge success:

  1. Response Time – This is the most important because expectations are the highest at the outset.  It is also the first touch point with the customer, and the first impression is everything. Good companies respond in less than one hour.  Excellent companies respond in less than 15 minutes. Hyatt, a Spredfast customer, has used our Conversations product to reduce their response time by 49% in ten months (Oct 2013-Jun 2014), and now proudly boasts a global-wide social care response time of 10 minutes or less.  

  2. Resolution Time — Resolution Time or Time-To-Resolution (TTR) is the average amount of time it takes for a company to resolve customer care issues. This is particularly important for companies with technical support, such as internet, cable, or phone service providers, as well as technology and software companies. Tracking resolution time through social is valuable to show that time spent on resolving issues is below a certain threshold, such as 2 hours per issue. Resolution Times may also be used interchangeably with Service Level Agreement (SLA) times if such times are explicitly stated in the customer’s service contract.

  3. Total Volume — Calculating total volume of issues on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis is another figure important to the bottom line. Understanding the average total volume for your social care team helps reveal and justify hiring needs, as well as individual performance levels. During that same aforementioned 10-month time period, Hyatt used our Conversations product to increase its total volume of all inbound social items answered by a whopping 241%.

  4. Team and Individual Performance — Managers can then use response time, resolution time, and total volume to gain visibility into individual care reps’ performance and troubleshoot any issues. To motivate their team, managers can reward high-performing care agents or create friendly  competitions among teammates. At Spredfast, we designed the Care Performance Index for this exact purpose — instant visibility into performance and the potential to use gaming as a source of motivation for higher performance. [See image of Spredfast Care Performance Index scorecards below].

  5. Customer Feedback — As the eyes and ears on the frontlines of the business, social care reps have tremendous insight to the business and product based on Customer Feedback. They can source and share such feedback to product teams. At Spredfast, our customer support team sits in close proximity to our product development team to encourage frequent and open communication around customer issues.  ATT built the AT&T Idea Center to directly source ideas from customers and feed their insights straight to research & development.

  6. Issue Type — Understanding common issue types can make social care teams operate with greater efficiency, while helping glean insights about the business. Through the use of content labels in a social software platform like Spredfast, customer care teams can track and measure categories of inbound conversations. For example, a shoe company can categorize customer issues by product questions, shipping and tracking, in-store experience, product complaints, etc. By building an inventory of common questions, teams can then build common responses lists. Reps’ time can then be spent proactively addressing questions at a greater volume as opposed to researching answers.

  7. Customer Satisfaction Surveys or Reviews — Customer satisfaction surveys and reviews, while often out of the hands of social care teams, are a fantastic way to measure and report success. Do customers that receive social care have higher Net Promoter Scores or leave more positive reviews? This is another way to prove value of social care efforts. At Spredfast, we don’t just help other brands get social care right, we take pride in being the highest-ranked Social Relationship Platform for Customer Service, earning a perfect 5/5 in the most recent third-party survey.

Where to Start

If you are running a care team without really measuring business impact, you are not alone. But chances are, you are using a social software platform or listening tool like Spredfast to manage and measure conversations. By looking at this conversation data through the lenses provided above you will be able to improve performance of your social care efforts and better articulate the value that you are creating for your business.  

February 1, 2015
The Tweets, The Ads, The Data: A Recap of the 2015 Social Super Bowl
February 5, 2015
Back to the Future: A look at the state of social TV in EMEA
Kelly Ferraro is a Strategy Director for Spredfast, where she leads social strategy for global customers. Kelly is a social media and running addict. She is an east coast transplant currently living in Austin, TX.