Recruiting the Right Agents for Social Customer Care

Recruiting the Right Agents for Social Customer Care

Author: Tamar Frumkin / Source: Business 2 Community Social media is not like email or phone service. Its public nature means a mistake ca

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Social media is not like email or phone service. Its public nature means a mistake can have enormous ramifications for your brand. At the same time, its rules and constraints (cultural and technical) make mistakes nearby and easy to make. Mistakes become easy—for example, sending a public message instead of a private DM… a mistake that even twitter’s CFO can make.

Social media also has different consumer expectations from other digital channels. It combines real-time expectations with asynchronous workflow. Abiding by the same service expectations as email (often measured in days) would be disastrous. Consumers expect a social media response “in-the-moment”. At the same time, private social media conversations oftentimes have similar “open” resolutions much like chat. The customer may not respond for 30 minutes and the engagement weaves in and out – per the convenience of the customer.

That’s why social customer service requires a different approach, with new teams, training and new processes. As a result, we’ve seen the rise of completely dedicated social customer support teams (with best-in-class software to support and enable the agents). These teams sit inside the contact center, but with a unique team of agents, trained in social media, being managed separately. The Travelex social care team literally sits in the middle of the operational command center. They are literally and physically in the middle of the action.

What makes a great social agent? Gone are the days of hiring a recent college grad just because they know how to use Twitter. Are they veterans of the call center who graduate into the social channel? Are they external candidates who come from agencies and have technical “chops” across every conceivable social channel?

A model for today

Having a dedicated team is the best way to get started with social customer service. Training a small number of agents is simpler; and it’s easier to reinforce the right behavior, with constant attention. New policies and behavioral norms need to be created, often from scratch or on the fly, so it’s important that these can spread quickly between the agents.

The pros of a dedicated team:

  • Simple to train the right behavior
  • Mistakes minimized as agents are highly specialized
  • Dedicated agents become social-savvy very quickly
  • Information (e.g. new processes) can spread quickly among the team
  • Agents can take a #socialfirst approach, with processes and workflow best for social (and the customer), instead of trying to fit social into a traditional model

There are two main considerations, however: resourcing, and agent satisfaction.


The biggest consideration is in agent resourcing. If inbound volume in social media spikes, and you…