Does a good call center customer service rep necessarily make a good social media customer service rep?
Companies have the unfortunate habit of hiring all of their customer service reps based on the same criteria, no matter what the channel. With this in mind, we decided to come up with a list of the ideal characteristics of a social media customer service representative.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the next level!
He/she communicates well in writing
This might seem obvious, but without strong writing skills, being a social media customer service rep could be quite problematic. Internet users express themselves however they want to online, but your customer service reps are publishing content in the name of your brand.
They must, therefore, have impeccable writing skills. Spell checkers can help, but they’re not always enough.
On social media, it’s generally best to avoid canned responses. The social media customer service rep needs to be able to formulate responses using as few characters as possible since they are generally constrained to write brief or limited answers. Ability to be succinct a must!
Facebook, in its Page management guide, recommends that posts get right to the point and encourages users to avoid pre-defined responses.
He/she is not afraid of public conversations
Fear of negative buzz hangs like a sword of Damocles over the heads of online customer service reps. Some who have done the job in call centers or via e-mail tend to quickly take conversations private (DM, Facebook private message, etc.), where other internet users can’t see it.
Whereas on social media, a public response reaches more than just the person it’s addressed to, and can positively influence customers and potential customers. Private responses should be reserved for “sensitive” issues.
He/she is highly adaptable
The social media customer service rep has to adapt to change constantly. They know when to joke around and when to offer serious solutions, always in a friendly way and showing respect for the customer.
They also have to adapt to changes to the social networks themselves, and to keep up with trends and usage habits in order to meet customer expectations.
He/she is not a Community Manager!
That’s right! The role of the Community Manager is to promote the brand on social networks by regularly publishing content, games, etc. The customer service rep, however, responds to inquiries that come in through these same channels in order to provide specific assistance.
When the job is different, the skill set is different…
He/she is a company expert
Obviously social media customer service reps are required to answer specific technical questions regarding a company’s products and services. They must, therefore, have extensive knowledge of these products and services in order to respond clearly and quickly.
The customer service rep: the key element in brand image
The customer service representative plays a very important role in crafting the company image in the eyes of consumers. Through social networks, they convey positive energy and can turn an unhappy customer into a happy one. They can even be the deciding factor that turns a lead into a customer.
This “new career” came into existence as brands increasingly embraced social media, as consumer use of these channels grew, and as customer service became a stronger factor in consumer brand choice. For these reasons, the hiring and training of good social media customer service reps are two critical activities that should not be taken lightly.
Originally published Feb 10, 2016, updated Sep 24, 2021