What makes a great social agent?
Empowering contact center excellence for 30 years!

What makes a great social agent?

"Facebook is said to be working on a check-in feature so that your friends can see your location. Though I think everyone knows, if you’re on Facebook, you’re at work." --Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon is right. We have a lot of people using social media at work and smart businesses are paying them to do it.  The challenge is hiring and training the right social agent to be helping your customers. A great social agent has the following traits; great listening skills, quick response times, empathy, concise communication, good decision making, and works well with internal departments.

Great Listening Skills

Our customers are talking about our company in many places. A good social agent will listen to them first. By listening, our agents can help us determine where our customers prefer to communicate with us. Good listening also helps determine the right questions to ask our customers. This leads to an improved customer experience and potentially more sales.

Quick Response Times

Customers expect quick response times in social media. Jay Baer, from the Social Habit, said that 32% of the social media users expect a response within 30 minutes. That is not a lot of time to respond.  Quick response times are also critical in managing social media risk. If your social media agent starts to see a trend in a critical issue, he /she will need to address it and escalate it quickly.


A good social agent has to be empathetic.  People are more comfortable sharing personable tragedies in social media. It is important that we respond with empathetic statements like “ I am sorry that happened”  before  solving  their business  issue.

Concise Communication

Twitter only allows for 140 characters per tweet. Good social agents know that they have to be brief and use tricks to convey the right information. Some of those tricks are using contractions, using other characters (% for percent) and omitting extra words.  Good social agents write like journalists; brief and to the point.

Good Decision Making 

A good social agent  knows when to answer a question and when to have someone from marketing answer the question or issue. He or she also should know when to move a conversation to a different channel. It is very common to ask the customer to contact you privately to solve an issue.

Works Well With Other Departments

Marketing and customer service overlap a fair amount in responding to social media requests. A good social media agent knows when to contact other departments for answers and when someone else should provide the answer. It also helps if the agent has a little marketing experience.

Hire and train your agents with these skill sets and your customers will have a positive customer experience when interacting via social media.

More Resources

Topics: Social Media


More from Mark Goin

Comments (1)

Leave a comment

Please sign in to leave a comment. If you don't have an account you can register for free here.

Forgot username or password?


Kymberlaine Banks — 11:09AM on Feb 28, 2014

great basics to consider, we also look for initiative because the role requires the urge to joyfully look for customers to delight, problems to solve, and opportunities to build relationship as opposed to waiting for calls to come in.


Does your contact center have a policy regarding allowing agents who wish to apply for internal company positions outside the contact center?

No, we don’t have a formal policy
Yes, agents must work in the contact center for at least 1 year before applying for other positions
Yes, agents must work in the contact center for at least 6 months before applying for other positions
More Polls