Social Customer Support Goes Operational: From Tweet to Resolution




A summary of the September 1, 2011 Dreamforce session, covering:

  • Why you should harness social media for customer support
  • How to improve ROI using social media, for newbies
  • An action plan for setting up social processes for beginners
  • The best way to set up social customer support from scratch
  • Using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to support customers

The Speakers

Bobby Buntin
Service Cloud Consulting Manager, Deloitte Consulting
Lauren Ingram
Product Manager, Social CRM,

Watch the full ‘going social’ Dreamforce session.

Customer Video

Quick summary

Consumers spend one in every four minutes on social media sites.¹ For beginners, this Dreamforce session introduces the importance of supporting your customers socially – and how best to do so.

Social customer support is harnessing the power of social media to deliver enhanced customer service and turn customers into brand ambassadors.

[¹Nielsen, April 2010]

Three ways to improve your ROI:

Be consistent – Millions could see your Tweet, blog, Facebook or YouTube channel. So agree what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it –and say the same thing across all channels.

Be timely – Time is of the essence in the social media world. Decide what you’ll reply to and how long you’ll take. Be consistent across departments.

Be recognized – You don’t need to answer every Tweet. Instead, you need the Tweets you answer to be noticed. Get a reputation for good customer service by prioritising influential customers (those with most followers or friends).

Social customer service soundbites

niall-harbison-thumb-xs Bobby Buntin, Service Cloud Consulting Manager, Deloitte Consulting

“You absolutely need a set of guidelines…what [to] respond to and what [your] tone is like.”

niall-harbison-thumb-xs Lauren Ingram, Product Manager, Social CRM,

“Service is marketing. What we’re doing on Twitter, on Facebook, on YouTube is public. And so anything that you say and anything your customer says is visible. Defining the way we talk to customers is defining the way we’re marketing our organisation.”

niall-harbison-thumb-xs Lauren Ingram, Product Manager, Social CRM,

“Your company is already social whether you like it or not.”


Social media customer service action points - Four steps to setting up social customer support

  1. Determine your goals - What do you want to achieve?

    • Learn - Understand customer concerns and behaviour, identify new trends, detect issues and analyse competitors.
    • React - Contain your social media oil spills and respond to competitor moves.
    • Engage – Build awareness, maximise customer loyalty, enhance service and solicit feedback.
    • Influence – Directly drive revenue, deflect customer inquiries, lure competitors’ customers and recruit new talent

    Tip: Start with three or four objectives, then scale up.

  2. Determine your social cusomer service approach - Where do you direct customers to interact with you?

    • Common account – Yamaha has a single hub for Q&A about their musical instruments.
    • Account by customer need – Comcast offers accounts for different functions within its organisation.
    • Named employees – Zappos emphasises the personal touch by focusing on individual employees.

    Tip: You don’t need to pick just one. Many companies have a hybrid approach. If you offer different social customer service accounts, group them by customer need not by your internal names.

  3. Develop a social customer engagement model - How will you use social media for customer service?

    • Ignore, analyse, deflect to self-service, or redirect to phone or email?
    • Broadcast generic information, engage in public conversation, or opt for private conversation?
    • Share internally or externally (e.g. retweeting)?
    • Only respond to direct messages (e.g. on your forum)? Or do you have the staff to handle discovered messages (out there in the Twitterverse)?

    Tip: Social media may not be the best place for technical issues. Take the specifics to a more private channel then post a public message saying you’re glad you solved their issue. If you’re asked a direct question and don’t want to reply on Twitter, refer customers to the best channel.

  4. Define your social customer service process - What will your social media customer service process be?

    • Does Marketing already monitor social media? Could they answer queries (no need to add headcount) and direct questions to support? You may be able to keep your current support function the same, saving costs.
    • Do you want support to handle your social media? If so, ensure they have the right skills. Your company’s reputation is at stake.

    Tip: The important thing is not where you draw the line between responsibilities. The important thing is that your people know where the line is. That way, you’ll stop more than one employee answering a customer query (or no one!).

Social media customer service links

How can I help? The mini-guide to social customer service Today, social media is turning customer service and support on its head. In this mini-guide, we’re going to give you an overview of this new business landscape. We’ll highlight what’s happening and what it means for your business.
Discover the golden rules of social customer support.

An interview with Brad Cleveland In this expert interview with Brad Cleveland we discuss social media and it's effects on customer support. Brad helps organizations maximize their return on customer relationships, by harnessing the full potential of call centre, self-service, social media, and peer-to-peer capabilities. Read the interview in full.
Get tips on customer service from the social media guru.

Read our New Guide to Social CRM

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