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Social media has typically been the realm of marketing staff, but times are changing.

As an increasing number of customers look to social media as their main form of communication with businesses, it’s time to reconsider who is responsible for your interactions with customers over social media.

In the last year, a growing number of businesses have started placing social media communication in the hands of customer service staff, rather than marketing personnel, with promising results. Here are a few reasons why it makes sense to give your customer service staff the task of handling day-to-day customer communication via social media.

Customer service staff members are better placed to respond to enquiries and complaints

Your customer service employees have already been trained and have experience responding to a wide range of different customer queries and complaints. Generally, marketing staff don’t have the authority or knowledge to provide solutions to customers. In addition, your customer service staff should already have the customer service skills and training to resolve complaints effectively.

It is easier to measure social media contact through a call centre

Call centres are generally set up to measure volume of incoming calls and monitor customer feedback, and this can be adapted to measure social media interaction with the addition of specific software.

The volume of social media contact is expected to increase

Increasing numbers of customers expect to be able to contact a business through social media channels, and this is likely to rise as Generation Y become more prevalent as consumers. Businesses are going to need to improve their social media response times, and the expertise of their staff, if they want to keep up, and deliver the timely service that customers expect.

Although social media enquiries still make up a relatively small portion of the customer service interaction of most businesses, putting the systems in place now, is better than scrambling to adjust in the future.

If your customers want to interact with you over social media, it is polite to give them the opportunity. A number of businesses are experimenting with self-help options for customers, using social media and automated responses. The transparency of social media means that certain issues will still need to be discussed over the phone, and customers can easily tell if they are being treated differently from other customers.

It is still important that marketing staff members be responsible for creating social media marketing campaigns, and designing social media content.

But as more of the day-to-day work of customer interaction is likely to take place over social media, it is worth considering which staff members are going to be the best people for your customers to interact with on an ongoing basis.

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Jo Macdermott

Jo Macdermott

<a href="http://au.linkedin.com/in/jomacdermott">Jo Macdermott</a> is the Chief Marketing Consultant at <a href="http://www.nextmarketing.com.au/">Next Marketing</a> in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/NextMarketingAU">Twitter here</a>.

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