Last week’s Shift Happens post strongly hinted at a follow up post from the customer services Digital Access Team at Leeds City Council. Well, true to form, they have provided the following update on how they have found adding social interaction to the customer service offer.
Our team now manage web chat, social media enquiries and emails and we’ve had to find the right approach, language and tone to respond via these different channels. It’s been good to see how members of our team add their own personal touch and how well received our approach appears to have been with our customers.
We know that using social media as a customer service channel can mean taking a risk, so it’s fair to say there were some nerves in taking on that responsibility. If we get something wrong we are open and honest about it and customers seem to respect and accept that. But it’s also a fantastic opportunity to reach many people collectively who may have the same enquiry.
These are some thoughts from our team:
“I have found social media a quick and effective way to help people personally, whilst showing a wider audience how we deal with enquiries and resolve them. Hopefully giving them a bit of insight into how we operate on a daily basis.”
“Handling customer service enquiries on Social Media can be challenging, as anything you say is open to scrutiny, but by providing accurate information in a friendly, relaxed tone it can resolve a potentially damaging situation. I think that we’ve become adept at this, often generating positive feedback or at least an acknowledgement that we have helped the customer.”
We have used our social media accounts to share information with customers successfully, such as promoting road shows or recently advising of Christmas bin collection dates, reducing some contact via other channels.
A really popular feature over the winter months has been a daily update about the weather and gritting, getting up to 1000 views daily which shows that customers want to know about this service. Our customer contact centre receives enquiries about gritter movements so this has been a productive way of sharing information.
Customer interaction has been positive in many respects even though we can be dealing with emotive subjects which a lot of people feel strongly about. We’ve seen customers use social media as a platform to air on-going grievances in public in the hope it will prompt action. In responding to customer enquiries or criticisms we have acknowledged customer’s concerns, provided advice and shown others looking at the post that we have acted whilst informing them at the same time.
We intersperse occasionally dry information with upbeat posts about events in Leeds to keep people interested and encourage interaction. We have seen a noticeable increase in likes and follows since we started this.
We have introduced themed LCC hash tags, including:
#mustdomondays – advertising up and coming events
#wellbeingwednesdays – healthy options on activities in Leeds
#throwbackthursdays – old photos from the archives for followers to guess what, where and when in Leeds
#funfactfriday – fun and interesting fact about Leeds for a Friday afternoon
#leedsgoodnewsfeed – this has proved to be the most popular and receives the most ‘likes’
Sometimes customers reply to us with light hearted comments and we respond. We respect sensitivities when it comes to handling customer concerns or complaints but sometimes being human and engaging in a bit of humour can make a difference. #fishgate was one example with one customer which developed a following and many ‘likes’ weeks before the more well-known one went viral. Our support via social media has generated many positive comments from customers, including:
“Hello people. Thanks for giving me this chance to have direct contact with you. Your help will be great!”
“Great to see a council prepared to interact in this way. Well done Leeds!”
In our experience, introducing social media to our customer service offer has made a difference, providing a more personal interaction. We hope you think the same.
Digital access team