Have an escalations team (or person).

If your customer service is savvy and is responding to customers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you should have a simple email that people can email if they’re having trouble.

The email can be anything that signals that your escalations team (or person) is ready and willing to help. I’ve seen We_Can_Help, letusknow, executive.service, and pretty much every variation in between. Customers don’t really care what the email address is, but they do care what happens on the other end. They want a reply relatively quickly (12 hours or less is ideal) and they want a reply from someone that is intelligent, courteous, and empowered.

The escalations team (or person) should be made up of the same people who explore the blogosphere and the social media sites and offer to help. Having the email forward to a regular customer service department doesn’t do much good. Having it forward to a special team that is empowered to make a difference can result in a lot of solutions and a lot of good will. Pro-active customer support depends on great people and on a commitment to the people you’re serving. Make it easy for customers to get in touch and they’ll make it known that you’ve been helpful.

2 Responses to “Have an escalations team (or person).”

  1. Larry Streeter said:

    Sep 15, 08 at 2:43 pm

    We are starting to see the value of regularly monitoring social media sites like Twitter for people venting any frustrations they may have encountered with our company.

    The concern I have about providing an email address is that it feels somewhat outside the normal support process and/or channels we’ve already established. What I fear is that people on Twitter or Facebook then use this email as their personal support channel.

    Do others share the same concern?

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Sep 16, 08 at 12:31 am

    Larry,

    Definitely a valid point. Part of the point is to have a channel that customers can access (or you can let them access) that is outside of the normal support process.

    As your company gets larger (which I know your company is doing all the time), people will inevitably start to fall through the cracks, have problems, get frustrated, etc. That is when an escalations person or team can step in to help and get the issue resolved quickly and completely.

    I haven’t really seen customers abuse this type of help in the past. I am sure it has happened and will happen, but from my experience, customers having issues like this is usually fairly isolated. They rarely have to go through the same process again and when they do, that person is available, familiar with their account, etc.

    And if the customer is using the escalations team as a first contact, they might have to refer the customer “down” to the regular support team and gently nudge them in that direction.

    Personally, I think it is a risk worth taking. Considering the size of your company, I wouldn’t worry about it. Things like this are issues worth attacking when/if you get to that point. 🙂

    Thanks for your great question!