Socialising with customers

Article image - Socialising with customers Jasmyne Munro has helped expand Councilís customer service directly through its social media accounts.

After a successful trial in 2017, Lake Macquarie City Council, New South Wales, has expanded its customer service platforms to include social media.  

Council’s customer experience expert, Jasmyne Munro, said social media has evolved beyond functioning just as a marketing tool, into an important platform where people go to for customer service.

“As our social media following has grown to almost 45,000, the amount of people who turn to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to make an enquiry or lodge a request has increased too.

“Instead of referring people from Facebook to call or email our customer service centre, we trialled a process so staff could respond through the platform directly and lodge requests through Council’s customer relationship management system if necessary.

“Making this work successfully was not as simple as giving staff access to Facebook, it involved creating scripts for common requests and providing training so the team felt comfortable responding and posting in a public platform.

“The trial assisted us with understanding the volume of requests that come in via social channels so that we were able to resource it effectively.

“Resulting from the trial, we now have a new structure that consists of a digital customer service team who manages requests that come through all electronic channels such as email and social media. 

“The structure is adaptable to accommodate for any future change in the way customers communicate with us.

“Trailing the process was worthwhile because it allowed us to review it with a critical eye and make improvements. 

“It allowed us to develop a clear social media response decision matrix that includes what, when and where to escalate certain matters.

“Also, it identified the need to train the digital team in how to use a common tone of voice so all our public responses were consistent.

“We also defined what the digital customer service team would respond to and what Council’s marketing team was responsible for, to make the different social media responsibilities clearer.”