Following on from my recent interview, Spread the love – Interview with Alexis Dormandy of LoveThis.com, today I’m very excited to share with you an interview that I conducted with Joshua March, the CEO and co-founder of Conversocial, back in August about his company and social customer service.
This interview makes up number twenty-nine in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that I think that you will find interesting and helpful in growing your businesses.
Below are highlights from our interview:
- Based on their experience of developing Facebook apps and seeing the conversations that were taking place on Facebook, Conversocial was developed to help brands manage the conversations that are taking place on social sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- It wasn’t started as a customer service app. But, in late 2010/early 2011 started to see customers starting to use social sites to make contact with companies around real customer service issues and problems and not just complaints.
- Social will have to move into the call-centre. You need real customer service agents trained in social media to handle and solve customer problems.
- The area of social customer service has grown from nothing a year or so ago to now where it is being constantly talked about.
- Social customer service has moved into the Early Adopter phase. (This is supported by the latest data and research from Adobe and Econsultancy – check it out here).
- Every company, Josh speaks to is either in the process of setting up a social customer service team or, even they are not, they now accept that it is something that they need to do.
- Rather than adopting guerrilla tactics, the quickest and most effective way to set up a social customer service team and operation is to get executive level buy in as it requires serious budgets and levels of investment.
- It’s not something that can be switched on overnight.
- However, another way that Josh has seen it get started is when Marketing, the traditional owners of social media, take the initiative and get Customer Service to loan them a couple of customer service agents so that they can set up a small pilot team.
- Conversocial focus on their software, the implementation and use of it but publish best practice guides on their Resources page to help brands get started. They also work with other agencies to provide other services around social customer service that their customers might need.
- Like Frank Eliason said in his interview, it shouldn’t get to the stage where customers have to turn to social media just to get help with their problems.
- However, what Conversocial are seeing now is that customers are turning to social media for customer service as it is their preferred communication channel.
- Social customer service has to sit in the customer service department as they are much better equipped to deal with technical customer requests and issues of scale.
- Most companies that have implemented social customer service teams are seeing those teams grow at a rate of 2-5 times a year. But, their size pales in comparison to the teams that they currently have in place to deal with email and phone queries.
- However, Josh does expect that these service teams will grow to a comparable size in the coming years as social customer service becomes more mainstream.
- This will be driven by a number of things including changing customer preferences, increased adoption by businesses and a customer realisation that customer service via social media is a viable alternative channel.
- There is an interesting dynamic playing out inside companies due social customer service responses being so public that they become a part of the face of the brand. This is a very real part of the impact of social customer service and Marketing need to buy into it and be an integral part of it too.
- Marketing and Customer Service departments are evolving in that they are, as well as having externally facing functions, also developing internal support capabilities so that they can support each other in the delivery of social customer service that is customer focused but, also, aligned with the brand.
- Interested in getting started on your own social customer service journey for your business? Josh’s advice: Go and download their free, best practice guide from Conversocial’s Resources page.
- Best way to stay ahead and in touch…..spend more time with your customers. Data is important but immersion and conversation are key.
About Joshua (taken from his LinkedIn profile)
Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Conversocial, a venture backed SaaS company.
Conversocial is a social customer service software tool for Facebook and Twitter, used by companies including Sephora, Groupon, Hertz, Tesco, Net A Porter, Waitrose, M&S and more. They help their customers deliver great customer service through social channels by enabling them find and respond to real issues faster and more effectively – decreasing negative sentiment and the risk of social media disasters whilst saving time and giving greater customer insight.
Previously he co-founded iPlatform, the UK’s leading social app development company (and the first official Facebook Preferred Developer Consultants in the UK), which was acquired by Betapond in September 2012.
From 2008-2010 he was the Chairman of the Facebook Developer Garage London, an official Facebook event running monthly for developers, entrepreneurs and marketers working on the Facebook platform, which he helped set up in 2007.
You can follow and connect with Josh on Twitter @joshuamarch, connect with Conversocial on Twitter @conversocial, check out their website www.conversocial.com and can download their ‘Definitive Guide To Social Customer Service’ that Josh mentioned in the interview from Conversocial’s Resources page.
Thanks to thinkpublic for the image.
Note: I write these posts and conduct these interviews because I am passionate about companies that do great things and provide great service to their customers. I consult to companies to help them achieve this sort of greatness too. If you’d like to find out more then get in touch here. Alternatively, to stay in touch and get access to more ideas not published here on the blog, then do sign up for my monthly newsletter here.