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Raising The Bar In Social Media Customer Support In The Online Grocery Sector

In the online grocery industry, inbound complaints posted in social media have been typically either ignored, or the Social Media Marketing Department directed the customer to choose a different channel to access support. Our client has built success on the brand promise: Our food is fresh. Our customers are spoiled. We wanted to be able to “spoil” customers with a better solution than switching channels and taking three of four touches to resolve an issue.

We analyzed the social media support offered by our client and by their closest competitors. Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current offerings and piloting a way to use Radian6 Social Engagement tools and the client’s CRM to set a new industry standard.

We based our model on the social media division of responsibility pioneered by the airline industry. In this model, social media is one more inbound channel customers are using to access service.

• Customer support experts handle support and issue resolution;
• Marketing & Communications handle engagement, public affairs, and promotions.

Getting buy-in from marketing and in-house social media teams was the first step. In our pilot, we were able to establish that using Radian6 and the CRM in combination, we could identify and assist our client’s customers while staying in the social media channel of their choice. Our goal was to be able to provide First Tweet Resolution (FTR) for existing customers tweeting about service issues. For customers choosing Facebook as their preferred channel, the service target is First Post Resolution.

From there, we collaborated with our client’s marketing manager, social media manager, and customer service manager to develop proprietary training for a team of social media customer service agents. The team was selected based on their knowledge of our client’s policies and processes, their judgment, their passion for the our client’s brand, as well as their ability to communicate in writing appropriate to the channel.

Six days after we launched, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy impacted both our client’s customers and operations on every front. The company lost 60% of their delivery truck fleet, their server was knocked out, and offices were flooded. The social media channel became a critically important connection with their customers.

Our client’s CEO said, “Hurricane Sandy was client-affecting on an epic scale. Throughout this time Blue Ocean was a bright spot maintaining contact with our customers including using social media as a primary contact channel. During the post-storm period we experienced an incredible surge in contact volume, which on several days exceeded 200% of forecast. We asked our agents at Blue Ocean including our newly-minted social media team to quickly adjust. We were very thankful that we had this kind of support and so were our clients.”

The company was recognized as one of the best corporate citizens in New York for managing communications with their customers during Hurricane Sandy.

Following training conducted in collaboration with the social media manager, our client handed over responsibility for monitoring and managing social media channels to our social media support team. The agents on the team are responsible for categorizing mentions, resolving social media customer service issues, and distributing marketing, public affairs, and engagement posts to the appropriate departments within our client.

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