[Interview] The Year of Social Customer Service

An interview with Alon Waisman, Social Media operations manager at Go Daddy

 

2013 is set to be the year when enterprises adopt social media as a real and active tool for customer service. I had the opportunity to speak to a leader and early adopter of this concept, Alon Waisman of Go Daddy.

Alon is the Social media operations manager at Go Daddy and has been with the company for over 7 years. Some could say he is a leader in this concept of social customer service.

He has a team of 8 who are operating this notion of social customer service, of which 5 of them are fully involved in helping customers with their needs via Twitter and other engagement tools.

My questions began and they were questions I couldn’t afford not to ask:

1. Do you offer different types of customer service based on the size of the business?

Our philosophy is to treat all the different customers the same. If a business needs our help, it doesn’t matter if they are small or big, the problem and urgency is the same. We think of it as the small business is a business that wants to be a successful and large business.

2. Do you use social media as a form of customer service? Do you think the growing relationship is a good technique? Or do you use it because you have to in order keep up?

Yes, this in today’s age is vital. If you want to help the customer, go where they are. Our customers are on Twitter, as well as email and phone. But we can guarantee they are on a social network. So why not contact and help them there? It’s faster and more instant, but we don’t offer the service there for that exact reason, but because they are there already.

3. Any new products forecast for the next 5 years that will help sites become more customer service focused? I.e. integrated chat toolbars or other tools.

Our overall goal is to serve customers. Our target though, for the future is to help small business customers. They are the ones to watch, the ones that will grow and become the big business customers.

4. From you experience what are the most effective techniques to resolve misunderstandings with customers?

It goes down to basics. The most effective tool is listening. You get to deal with all types, so just treat them the same. Focus on the core of the problem.

5. I find the when you surpass customer expectations, you’ve gain a loyal customers for quite some time. But how do you figure out exactly the level of a customer’s expectation?

Give the customer a quality product along with respect and then communicate afterwards. Appreciation is the key and get to them before they get to you. Give the customer a call no matter the size of the customer and listen to them. Afterwards follow up on their concerns and show that the issues have been fixed not just for them, but for the whole product. They can be a part of the product. Customers don’t expect to be part of a product change, so they then become advocates.

Another thing that Go Daddy does is show their appreciation for the customer on Facebook and Twitter. Giving a shout out can make the customer that you are stepping up, and going above and beyond.

6. Choosing the correct text when responding online sometimes seems like an art rather than science. How do you breach the gap? What are your golden rules for written customer support?

Customer service is a delicate area. Especially when you move over to social media. Everything can be misinterpreted. The key is to concentrate on what you are saying. Just be causal and professional.

Customer: “Hey, my site isn’t working”

Go Daddy: “You missed a step in the set up process”

Now, the customer can feel offended by this remark. So why not convert the same answer to a question.

“Did you perhaps miss a step in the set up process? Here is a link of how to set up your site”

These trigger words will make the customer feel secure.

7. If I asked this 5 years ago how would your answer be different?

I’ve been here for 7 years, and yes we saw the social age coming, but nobody could have predicted its impact it has on everyday life it has today. It grew at a level that no one could have predicted.

8. What is the biggest challenges facing delivering support online?

Making sure you have all your support team on the same page with that same evangelism. Be in the customers shoes and you will be ok.

9. Do you encourage self-service for customers?

Yes we do. We send them info in their domain email that they set up and we offer help sheets, FAQ’s, guidance etc. for the Go Daddy interface. This ensures that when they come to us for support, it’s for the real issues.

I have to say, I learned a lot from speaking with a company that is considered a leader in all aspects of their business. I think we can all learn or confirm what we were thinking from Alon and his chosen methods of what is needed for this instant gratification era.

 

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Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe