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How to Use Social Media to Educate, Inform, and Empower Customers

An Interview with the 2017 ICMI Global Contact Center Award Winner for Best Social Media Customer Care

“The idea of empowering agents to use live video chat to assist customers is positively ingenious. Excellent use of more than text-based social media. The development of video-chat via Facebook Live with a dedicated area and technology is very innovative.”
 - 2017 ICMI Global Contact Center Awards Judges

According to Sprout Social, 90% of customers have used social media to interact with a brand. Many of those interactions involve service requests, and yet ICMI research reveals that only 41% of contact centers currently offer formal customer support through social media.  That means thousands, if not millions, of customer Tweets, Facebook comments, and questions go unanswered each year. While many brands struggle to grasp the nuances of social media customer care, brands like Dorel are boldly blazing new trails and serving their customers in innovative ways. How do they do it? Following their 2017 win at the ICMI Global Contact Center Awards, I had a chance to talk with Michelle Williams, ‎Director of Consumer Care at Dorel Juvenile.

Dorel Social Media Customer Care Team

EM: Why did your team decide to start offering formal social media customer support?

MW: In a fast-paced world where people expect prompt information, social media is becoming the standard form of day-to-day communication. Technology is shaping the way customers prefer to interact with businesses. In order to remain user-friendly for all generations, we knew it was necessary to be available how and when each of our consumer segments preferred to communicate. For many, that’s through social media.

EM: How did you get your social customer care program up and running?

MW: Dorel Juvenile’s social media presence has been active since 2010, but in early 2015 we redirected our focus to consumer outreach. We began by sharing new products and promotions on limited Dorel brands and platforms to gauge consumer engagement possibilities. Almost immediately, consumers began responding with their interest in products and promotions but also questions, successes stories, requests for assistance, and concerns about the proper use of our products. Proper use of car seats to keep their little ones safe was an area of particular concern.

Seeing all these conversations unfold, we quickly realized that social media provided a great opportunity for us to truly engage with consumers, rather than just inform. So, we had to decide who should take the lead. Our Consumer Care team is made up of experts in product use and warranty processing, so they were perfectly positioned to answer the questions our customers were asking on social media. And the fact that over 85% of the department is certified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians certainly helps, too! We realized that by answering commonly asked questions, we could also provide help and answers for a large number of caregivers who otherwise may not initiate contact. Statistics show that between 72% to 90% of car seats are misused to some degree. We felt that proper and active social media use to share expertise and tips could help to lower this alarming number.

By May of 2015, Consumer Care recognized the need for regular moderation and involvement in social media and established a dedicated team to assist consumers on existing brands and platforms. The goal was to increase consumer engagement while maintaining industry averages of social media response times. We planned to scale by gradually adding brands and platforms.

Today, we’re fully up and running! Consumers no longer need to call or email for an answer to an inquiry, they can simply post their question on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to receive feedback. These channels provide prompt responses and convenience. As an added bonus, social media allows our customers an opportunity to publicly share positive reviews, positive experiences, and their personal success stories with our products.

Is your service evolving to keep pace with digital transformation? Get up to speed at ICMI Contact Center Demo

EM: What’s been the most rewarding part of serving customers via social media?

MW: The products we sell are truly saving lives and now we get to hear these amazing stories on a regular basis! Our department has received remarkable customer testimonies detailing how our car seats have saved children’s lives. Now that we have an active social presence, these stories are not only shared among the company, but they are also shared on a public platform, allowing the news to go viral (example below).

 Dorel Social Media Customer Service

This social media interaction resulted in an extended partnership between Kylee and Dorel. Consumer Care and the Consumer Engagement teams partnered to replace the car seats for Kylee’s two children, but also sponsor her course completions requirements to become a Certified Passenger Seat Technician. This is just one example of the many ways we use social media to further support our mission to educate, engage and assist consumers.

EM: What’s unique about the way your team supports customers via social media?

MW: A lot of people talk about using video in customer service, but we’re actually doing it. And it’s not as hard as you might think! Our team uses video chat to connect with consumers for certain warranty processes. The social media team has taken things a step further by using the Facebook messenger app for live customer interactions. When words or pictures are not enough to resolve an inquiry, we go live. Seeing what the consumer has been trying to convey in an instant, and then walking them through the solution with live, step-by-step instructions has been an invaluable tool for both the customer and the agent. One minute the customer is posting a question; not too long after, they are either exchanging pictures with an agent or going live via the Facebook messenger app that’s already on their phone.

EM: What’s next for social customer care at Dorel?

MW: We’re continuing to evolve the way we measure success. Currently, we review response rates and number of inquiries managed, as well as service level agreements.  We also review consumer sentiment in Clarabridge to understand the overall tone around our brand, products, and service. We are implementing a new CRM this year, which will enable us to respond to customers with greater speed and efficiency.  We want to make sure we are answering all questions in a timely, friendly, and smart way. This is a top priority for us as we finish out 2017 and head toward 2018.

Learn more about the Dorel team by watching their contact center tour below!

Think you have what it takes to bring home an ICMI Global Contact Center Awards in 2018? The entry process will open this September. Sign up here to receive updates & information.