#SFExperience: U.S. Cellular is Answering the Call for Social Customer Care
In our latest eBook, The Social Experience, we gathered insights and expert advice from today’s top brand social marketers and industry visionaries. We are sharing insights from this book these insights here on the Spredfast Blog. Today, Sonny Gill shares how U.S. Cellular is building an efficient and sustainable social care program.
In the last two years, U.S. Cellular has embarked on a journey to provide customers with a level of service on social media that further enhances the experience they are accustomed to receiving in traditional mediums. The question we asked ourselves was, “How do we build an efficient and sustainable program?”
First, we analyzed our Facebook and Twitter communities to determine the current state of customer service requests. What were our customers asking for help with the most? What answers did they need? Knowing the answers to these questions helped us determine how to approach our strategy.
Our analysis revealed that our customers wanted technical, account, and device related support. This led to the realization that the program needed to live within our call center where our customer service reps were the subject matter experts in these areas. Logistically, we connected with our cross-functional teams within customer service to develop resource and staffing models to build the appropriate team, provide training, and map out operations.
Next was the technology. Selecting Spredfast allowed us to scale our program through a platform that provided solid team workflow and performance features. Knowing the technical capabilities, we were able to build two important aspects of our social care program:
We covered the ins and outs of the program for our new social care team members – from understanding the basics of social media and our brand to performance expectations and trainings on the Spredfast platform.
2. Performance Management
To measure team effectiveness, we first needed to identify and track the appropriate metrics. As your organization looks at social care performance, several key indicators you should consider are:
- Number of issues routed
- Number of issues resolved
- SLA —service-level agreement, or resolution time
- Average handling time
- Individual and team performance measured against the above
- Community sentiment
Fast forward to present day: we’ve seen tremendous growth in our social care program. Starting in beta, we had just 5 associates working normal business hours. We worked out the kinks with this smaller team. Today, we have 11 associates working 7 days a week and into the evenings.
This expansion reflects the increased activity of our service channels of Facebook and Twitter. Customers have become increasingly aware and accustomed to contacting us in social and it shows. We saw over 29,000 service inquiries in 2012 alone, a 205% increase from 2011, and that trend has continued in 2013.
In answering these thousands of monthly requests, our social service team has met and exceeded our social SLA of < 1 hour. This has been an important metric as we continue to evaluate team and individual effectiveness, along with overall program efficiency.
Social customer service continues to be an integral part of organizations today. It’s an opportunity to better understand, connect, and service your customers – and a program that continues to grow and evolve for U.S. Cellular.
Sonny Gill is the Social Media Manager at U.S. Cellular where he helps lead social business and marketing strategies. While at U.S. Cellular, he’s helped develop & implement its social customer service and customer advocacy programs. Sonny has been immersed in and evolving the marketing & social industry for over eight years, with experience in telecommunications, higher education, and automotive.
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