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Team structures for social media customer service

There are many benefits to having team structures to social media customer service. This article looks at the different options.

There are a number of ways a team can be structured for social media within a business.

Each organisation needs to look at its existing structure, size and specific customers’ needs to understand which option works best for them.

Let’s take a look at some of these options:

Team structure 1: Organic

Team structures for social customer service Image 1 A completely unstructured approach that brings in skills from around the business in an informal mesh of expertise and casual commitments.

This is the most authentic approach, as it brings the true voice of the business to light in social. However, it can also lead to a number of issues stemming from a lack of formal roles, responsibilities and communication channels.

Team structure 2: Centralised

Team structures for social customer service Image 2 A common approach that sees a central social media communications team (often the existing marketing and communications team) create and publish all content.

The benefits of this approach are the added consistency and, in certain industries, and assured adherence to regulatory codes. However, the output can end up being too company-centric, without serving the audience’s informational needs.

In addition to the above, with this approach, the existing communications content tends to be merely repurposed and published on social media. This is unlikely to result in compelling content that cuts through into social media feeds and delivers true value to consumers.

Team structure 3: Hub and spoke

Team structures for social customer service Image 3 This approach most closely mirrors the structure of a traditional newsroom with a central editor, who receives and commissions content from around the business.

This provides the consistency of the centralised approach, whilst empowering departments to create content that furthers their own agendas. It also creates a feeling that everyone has a stake in the wider social media effort.

This approach requires some setup and buy-in throughout the organisation. However, as it serves the interests of all in a simple and effective manner it is unlikely to present a challenge in most companies.

Team structure 4: Multiple hubs and spoke

Team structures for social customer service Image 4 Essentially, this is a scaled version of the hub and spoke model. This model allows individual business units to work within their own contributor/editor networks, with a central editor-in-chief or social media team who ensures that content is on-brand and integrated.

This model works well for businesses that have separate social media accounts for different aspects of their business, or for different locations. For example, where an organisation may have multiple products appealing to different audience groups. Whilst putting editorial power into the hands of those business units, a central team of experts who are fully aligned with the brand’s values and current marketing goals ensure integration across all content published.

The tone of voice in customer service

It is likely that your organisation has a defined tone of voice in its social media content. However, this will probably need to be adapted for your customer service interactions.

Think about how you can take your existing social media tone-of-voice and bring the following qualities into it:

Conciliatory

Show empathy and care for your customer. They need to feel like there is a real person behind the response, someone who cares about their issue.

Serious

While your content may be designed to entertain followers when there is an issue a customer needs to know you are taking it seriously. Avoid trivialising issues through an excessively light or flippant tone in your responses.

Action-focused

Your customer service responses must be focused on what is going to happen and when. This is rarely necessary for other content pieces. However, when issues arise customers need to know that action is being taken, what the solution will look like, and when that is likely to happen.

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