A big, hello from Portland, Oregon. Yay! Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing and More. I have a fantastic guest today. Brooke Sellas. Welcome, Brook.
Brook is a customer care expert, ‘Marketing Companion’ podcast co-host, horse and a dog mom. She is also a founder and CEO of B Squared Media. The company specialize in social media, media buy, and the key topic that we talk about today – customer care and social media.
In this episode:
- Best Practice: Which brands are doing a great job on social media.
- What is the ideal response time to customers on social media and how that changes if a business has office hours?
- What makes taking care of a virtual customer support center expensive?
- Is there a specific channel that every business should be on?
- What is the role of customer support on social media?
- What are the platforms that businesses could use to complement or support customer care?
- How can businesses measure customer care on social media?
- Is there a difference between business and customers key performance indicators?
- How can businesses work with their customers’ internal teams?
- What are some of the best ways to deal with negative comments on social media?
- When do you hide? When do you ignore and when do you ban or mute someone?
- Chatbots as part of customer care and customer service.
Quotes from the episode:
“I want people to stop thinking about customer care as a cost center and think about it as the literal spine of your business; you cannot have a business without customers.”
“Some of the more nuanced KPIs on our side and also on the client-side is sentiment. Are the conversations good, neutral, are they bad? And then also share of voice; looking at our competitors and understanding our share of voice.”
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To expand your knowledge about marketing, and social media customer service check out some of my previous podcast episodes.
A big hello from Portland, Oregon. Yay! Welcome to another episode of B2B Marketing and More. I have an excellent, awesome guest today. Brooke Sellas and I love her Twitter photo. She looks so good, so energetic!
You better check it out @BrookeSellas and her company’s B Squared, and they specialize in social media, media buy, and the key topics that she wants to talk about today are customer care and social media. So I love that topic. Let’s get started. Brooke, welcome to the show!
Brooke Sellas: Hi everybody. I’m waving. I’m waving. Hi.
Pam Didner: Uh, people who are listening, we’re recording, using Zoom. And, uh, I gave a little bit about the introduction, you know, about who you are. Do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself in two minutes?
Brooke Sellas: Sure. Well, I guess on the personal side, I’m a, I’m a sister, a wife, a daughter, and I’m a horse mom and a dog mom. So I don’t have real human babies, but I have two fur babies–a horse named Diva and a dog named Chloe.
Pam Didner: Ooh, wow, so you like to ride horses?
Brooke Sellas: Yes, I horseback ride. Yes. That is my hobby but also like my therapy too. Quite honestly (laughs). You know, part of what, why it’s so healthy. I think therapy is because you have to leave everything out of your mind when you get on. You have to be focused completely on your partnership with your horse. Not on work or what’s going on in the world. So it’s very therapeutic.
Pam Didner: Yeah. , I hear you. So I wanted to tell you a little bit of my horse story. I only rode horses like three times in my whole life. Okay. So every time I like it. On the top of the horse, I was like, “Oh, I’m scared.” I’m feeling. I have that fear factor that I’m going to fall. Yeah. I literally can sense my fear. I’m not kidding. (laughs)
Brooke Sellas: Yes. And one of the horses.
Pam Didner: I rode, and I can tell that she just doesn’t like me. Okay. When she was moving around, you can tell she wanted to throw me off, and I can sense that myself. I was like, “come on, you know, we are in this together for the next 45 minutes. Just be good.
Can we just be friends?” And I started talking about that, you know, I started whispering and say, “can we just be friends? Can we just be friends?” And then slowly I can hear, I can feel that you know, the rise becomes a little more, a little smoother. It’s a, it’s a very interesting feeling, by the way.
Brooke Sellas: So it’s a very interesting feeling, but you did the right thing. I mean, that’s, I have a fear, too. My horse and I have been together for almost two years now, and she still scares me sometimes. And I just have to do the same thing. You know, it’s like anything in life you just have to be like (take a deep breath) “okay, we can do this.”
Pam Didner: Very good. So, um, social media and customer care. And I think that’s an interesting topic. And I know that, especially if you are on Twitter and you look in some of the tweets, many brands are using social media as their virtual customer support center. So can you tell us which brands have done a great job of that?
Brooke Sellas: Yeah, if you go and you look at Starbucks or Nike or Netflix, They’re very good about responding and doing so in a timely way and in a human way. My personal favorites that I use. I, um, I love Charlotte Tilbury makeup. She’s in the UK, and she has excellent customer service, um, on her social media pages, especially on Instagram. And then there’s another one called Soludos. It’s a shoe brand or a clothing brand. I, I found them through Instagram. I bought boots through Instagram from this brand. Um, and they have wonderful customer support through social.
And I think, you know, any brand that you look at, who’s doing it well has kind of three, three elements going on. They’re super responsive. I mean, they’re responding to you very quickly. And we already know that consumers expect that response in less than 30 minutes for the most part.
Pam Didner: Really? Okay. That’s not gonna work for me. My response time is like 24 hrs. Sometimes it is two days.
Brooke Sellas: no, that’s okay. That’s okay. We can talk about that too. Keep in mind; these are big brands, you know, for someone like yourself, a 24-hour response time is fine and especially if you set that precedence, right. If you have office hours, are this time or expect a response within 24 hours? Um, but these brands will have the human element. They’re not just copying and pasting, like the answer to the question, which I’ve seen. Horrifying, it’s horrifying, but I’ve seen brands like copy and paste the same answer to people, which is don’t, don’t do that.
And then, they’re proactive with their deadlines. So exactly what you’re saying. They’ll say something like, “Hi Pam. Thank you so much for reaching out. I’m going to find out where your order might be and what’s holding it up. And I’m going to get back to you within 24 hours.” You know, so you’re giving those 24 hours.
Not only do they give that deliverable, but they meet or beat that deliverable. So they give that deliverable, and then they come back in 15 hours or 20 hours, and they say, “Hey, Pam, Brooke, again from Netflix. I want to let you know that your package is on its way. I found out that it was sitting in a center and blah, blah, blah, we’ve called, and they’ve assured us that it’s going to go out today.”
Pam Didner: With that being said, I assume it’s kind of expensive to do a great job of supporting customers. And, in a way, is a virtual customer support center. So is this type of role tend to be taken care of by the customer support center, or do they have a completely different social media team doing it?
Brooke Sellas: Yeah. So it just depends on what you have. And so what happens with, with a brand, or they don’t work before hours after hours, holidays, weekends, right? They don’t; they just don’t work those hours as an employee. So they bring us in to help them fill those times, because social is 24 seven, unfortunately.
Pam Didner: I agree. It’s so sad. On social media, you almost have to respond right away. Otherwise, people are like, “You ghosted me.” I was like, “No, I didn’t ghost you. Can’t you just give me 8 hours first and get back to you (laughs) “
Brooke Sellas: Unfortunately, research shows if Pam asked me, Nike, a question, I get back to you within 24 hours. What, what is the research show? It shows that Pam then goes to Adidas. And says, “Hey, I have this question about these shoes, and if they get back to her faster, she’s probably going to buy from Adidas.”
We have so many choices. So, you know, that is one of the reasons why you have to be fast, and yes, it can be expensive. Still, I want people to stop thinking about customer care as a cost center and think about it as the literal spine—if we’re talking about a human–it’s the spine of your business. You cannot have a business without customers.
Pam Didner: It’s customer retention in a way. So because you have to retain the customers, customer loyalty,
Brooke Sellas: Loyalty, customer experience, all of those things.
Pam Didner: No, I like that interpretation. Yeah. I don’t see that as a cost center, but it’s a way to retain your customers as a part of your loyalty program, as well. So that’s good.
Brooke Sellas: Spend less on acquiring customers because you have so many loyal customers.
Pam Didner: Yes, yes. I hear you. Is there a channel that brands must be on that they have to be like, Oh, of course, you’re going to tell me what I depend on, you know, why you are selling and talking to customers? I get that. I get that. I’m just saying that you know, set that aside. Is there a specific channel that everybody should be on? Or is it not?
Brooke Sellas: No, I don’t think there is because it is about the customer, right? If we are truly putting the customer first and I’m the brand, let’s say I don’t have any customer care. And I was starting today, Pam and I are on the marketing team, and we’re like, “we have to get this customer care started today. Where do we start?” That’s where I would start.
Where do our customers live? Which platforms do they spend the most time on? Which platforms have we already seen them asking us questions on? Are they asking us questions on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook on all of those channels? And then break that down even further. “Okay. Well, how many questions are coming in through Facebook versus Twitter versus Instagram?
So do your research to figure it out deeply, right? To figure it out deeply, not just on the surface, you have to go deep on this. Like where do I want to spend my time, resources and money? Because it takes all of those things to do customer care correctly. Do you need to understand where I should spend my time? If none of your customers is on social—
Pam Didner: Don’t do it. Exactly.
Brooke Sellas: Don’t spend your time, money and resources.
Pam Didner: Yeah. Can I also ask one more question, giving that to us? So, uh, immerse yourselves in multiple different social media channels. You probably know uh, so, uh, social media, uh, technologies well. So can you share with us in terms of, you know, Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, Instagram, for example, the most popular social media channel? What are the platforms that you use to complement or support customer care?
Brooke Sellas: So we use Sprout Social, but we also use a lot of different platforms. Some of our clients use things like Digimind, Khoros, Falcon IO, Talkwalker. There are so many tools out there as long as they have that listening component. It’s a good tool. Now there’s going to be other things you want it to do. And you’ll need to do your research there, too. But, if we can go from reactive to proactive through social listening, that’s the tool I want to use for customer care.
Pam Didner: Got it. And, uh, it sounds like the platform you’re using is very client-driven. It sounds like if a client has tools, you will use the tool to do your job. Is that, to some extent, correct?
Brooke Sellas: Yeah. We, we want to hit the easy button for our clients. Like we, so with customer care, our clients typically have an internal customer support team, and they’re dealing with the phone, email and social. So we’re trying to take the heavy lifting of social off of them. So we just plug ourselves in their processes. If they don’t have a tool, they’re more than welcome to use ours, which is Sprout Social, and then we’ve already got all of those processes and templates and all of that worked out for them. So they can kind of hit the ground running with us.
Pam Didner: So, how do you measure, uh, the customer care on social media channels? What are some of the key performance indicators that you usually use? I understand somewhat, sometimes it is customer-driven, but do you set up your own KPI to measure your success?
Brooke Sellas: Yeah. So the two big, I guess the two biggest client-side KPIs would be response time, right. How quickly do we respond as things come in? And then time to resolution, meaning from the time they put that request in from the time that set that Pam reaches out on Twitter and says, “Brooke!”
Pam Didner: “I need this! What’s wrong with you?!? (laughs) Where’s my stuff?”
Brooke Sellas: “I need it right now!” All the time, listen to that first response that we give. So I tried back to champ Pam. “Oh my gosh. I cannot believe it’s missing. Let me find out.” So that’s that response time. But then, to close the loop, when we come back to Pam with that final answer, here’s where it is. “We don’t know where it is. We’re going to issue you a refund”–whatever that resolution is, that time to resolution is one of the client KPIs.
And then some of the other more nuanced KPIs that we get into on our site and the client-side are things like. Sentiment. So are the conversations happening? Good? Are they neutral? Are they bad? Um, and digging into those and then also share of voice. You know, looking at our competitors and understanding our share of voice.
Pam Didner: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense to me.
Brooke Sellas: So those are some of the biggest KPIs. I mean, there’s all kinds of things that we measure, but I would say those are like the four biggest.
Pam Didner: So, now I’m gonna ask the behind the scenes questions. So obviously time to resolve, like somebody asking you say, “where’s my stuff?” And that requires a lot of time to understand the backend, uh, how the delivery tracking mechanisms, uh, how things are done on the client-side. And you will need to understand some of the tools they use. How they track the products, or even what’s the inventory on stock and all that stuff.
How do you get yourself up to speed on that? That can be so complicated because I’m working with a client and their system of tracking. Oh my God. I almost kill myself. And, uh, you know, I have to have a user manual to understand all that. So how do you manage that with your team?
Brooke Sellas: Yeah. So with most of our customer care clients, we’re working with that internal team. There are handoffs between our team and the internal team, and we can track that handoff with the systems we use. We’re able to figure out during that time to resolution, how much time, you know, how fast the social team–B Squared–and how fast the internal team was, the brand?
And then sometimes you’re right sometimes like, uh, I’ll give you an example. One of our clients, his Brother International. So they do, um, printers, label makers, sewing machines. They do all kinds of things we had to intimately become. Well aware of all of their products and understand a lot of the nuances for each product because that’s what people say.
Pam comes to us on Instagram and says, “Hey, I can’t figure out how to get the needle changed in my, whatever the sewing machine number is.”
Pam Didner: You are like. “I don’t know! How do I know? (laughs)” Can you imagine if you say that as a reply? “Go figure it out yourself!” No, I’m kidding (laughs)
Brooke Sellas: Um, yeah, it’s called Google, Pam! (both laugh) So what we do for our, for, for us is we build out these living, breathing, what we call FAQ documents–Frequently Asked Questions. And every question we get gets put into that document. Every single question. Even though in the beginning, we might have to go to the client and be like, “Oh my God, how do you change the needle in the PX whatever, whatever?”
Once they tell us how it goes into that FAQ document, that’s part of what the team uses. As those questions are coming in and they can refer to that document. It’s all labeled very, um, driven by product, product type and all of that. So pretty quickly, they can go in and find that answer. And then you know, anytime, now in the future. When we get that answer, we can answer it very quickly.
Pam Didner: Let me summarize very quickly. There are multiple things that you are doing. And some clients, there’s an internal team that you work with. If that’s the case, you probably don’t need to know how and how they track stuff internally. And then another situation is. A lot of questions are being asked, and you created FAQ, which is probably a most likely ask questions, and you build a database over time.
Another thing is, um, you have an assistant in place, probably get yourself up to speed, and it is a certain kind of training that you have to do with you and your team. You know, I, from my perspective and you kind of customer care, the FAQ is very important. And also the product training, the training is so critical for any kind of customer support, um, that, um, so they understand the specific question that people usually ask. Yeah. Very, very good.
Brooke Sellas: Yeah. It’s so important.
Pam Didner: So, what are some of the best ways to deal with or deflate from your perspective? Um, uh, some of the negative comments, especially when people are incredibly angry when they get on Twitter or are not even logical? And what about trolling? There is a lot of trolling on some social media channels. How do you deal with that? Do you have any suggestions for our listeners?
Brooke Sellas: That’s a great question because this has been a tough year or last year, we’re out of 2020, but it’s still tough.
Pam Didner: But I think all of us becomes very kind of emotionally needy. You know, we all of a sudden like, like including myself, all right. I’m just talking to myself and my husband too. I’m going to drag him with me. All of a sudden, we have a very needy. Do you know what I’m saying (laughs)?
Brooke Sellas: Yes, we’re very, we’re very, and again, I’m raising my hand here cause this is me too. I’m going to admit to it. Pam and I are being open and honest here, people. I’ve been demanding. I’ve been impatient. You know, I’ve been all those things.
Pam Didner: And I’ve been cursing like a drunken sailor. Okay. The first time I’m going to make that open channel is on my podcast (laughs).
Brooke Sellas: I love it, though. I have to; I have dropped more F-bombs than in my whole 40 years on this planet. But going back to trolling, we have as part of our process, we have kind of three tiers of what we do. The first, I’m not gonna even count as a tier. When someone’s angry, we try not to take it personally. We try to help them. But if we’re talking about that person that’s going beyond, right. They cross that line. Then we go into the three tiers. We hide, we ignore, or we ban them.
So we have protocols in our, like, processes of when to, how to know. When do you hide? When do you ignore, and when do you ban or mute someone?
Pam Didner: What do you mean like when you hide? How do you hide virtually? I know I can hide physically. Right? How do you hide virtually? Come on. You cannot hide virtually. We’re gonna track you down!
Brooke Sellas: Yeah, so I’ll give you an example, like on Facebook, let’s say, you know, we’ve all seen this. Somebody comes to your Facebook post, and they leave like the “Hi, buy my course that I’m selling for this thing that has nothing to do about this post. “Right. They kind of spam the posts.
Pam Didner: You hide the comment.
Brooke Sellas: That comment.
Pam Didner: I got that. No, I got it. When you say hi, I was thinking like, “Brooke, you’re going to virtually hide somewhere.” Isn’t that pathetic?
Brooke Sellas: I wish, I wish,
Pam Didner: I think completely different. You were like, you know, “we’re going to hide that comment.” Okay. Don’t be stupid, Pam! (laughs)
Brooke Sellas: Now that you’re stupid because inside–the inside Brook–that’s what I want to do. I just want to hide. But unfortunately, the clients don’t pay us to hide. Yeah, or like Facebook has a profanity filter. So you can go into your settings. Then if somebody uses the F-bomb, if Brooke or Pam comes on your page and they’re needy and demanding and dropping F-bombs, Facebook will automatically hide that.
Pam Didner: So basically hide, ignore and block.
Brooke Sellas: and block. Yeah. Ignoring is more like. If people are having civil conversations, you know, between themselves, which happened with some of these larger brands. Um, and they’re civil. They’re nice. Yeah. But it does not involve them. And it’s like, “Oh, I love this sewing machine.” And Pam’s like, “Oh my God, I had the same one.” Then I’m like, “Oh my gosh, have you seen this such and such pattern?” And you’re like, “yes, I have.” This is all going on right in the comment stream.
Pam Didner: Kind of just like on the side you let it go, let it go.
Brooke Sellas: We don’t need to respond to that. It’s civil. We want that, you know, peer to peer banter happening, but we don’t need to like insert ourselves.
Pam Didner: I like that. And then, of course, the last one, you block them. It’s like, you know, like, “you are not joining our party anymore. You are out!”
Brooke Sellas: You’re out! This one is like threats or harassing people inside the community or people giving out personal information. Which has happened, believe it or not. That’s called doxing. Um, of, of, of people who within the company.
Pam Didner: What’s the term?
Brooke Sellas: Doxing. D-O-X-I-N-G. When someone’s doxing, meaning like, so if so say, you know, someone who works at Brother, you can be like, well, “here’s Brooke’s information. She’s in the Support Department, and here’s her cell phone number. You should call her.”
Pam Didner: Seriously?
Brooke Sellas: Oh yeah. That is not allowed. Um, and then we also have the three-strikes rule, like just on the B Squared side, it’s our process. Like if somebody breaks like the harassment, any kind of like threatening–like those big, big rules–that they break those three times that you’re done.
Pam Didner: Very good. So do you have any parting thoughts for our listeners if they want to launch a customer care program, uh, on social media? What are a couple of steps they need to pay attention to, uh, before the launch, uh, in terms of preparation?
Brooke Sellas: Yeah, I think, you know, just start paying attention to your social channels. My guess is, you know, you’re probably on at least one social channel, if not more. Start paying attention. What kinds of questions are you getting? Are you getting customer support questions? Are you getting sales questions, which would be, wouldn’t be customer support or people saying, “but did they come with laces instead of zippers? Or do you have them in Brown versus black? That person is in the–
Pam Didner: purchasing decisions. Yeah. And the purchasing decision.
Brooke Sellas: Yes. That’s still customer support because guess what? if you can answer them quickly before they run to the other brand…
Pam Didner: …you get close to the deal for them. Yeah.
Brooke Sellas: We still call that customer support. So would-be customers are included. What type of questions am I getting? Where are they happening? Quantify that, you know, how much is happening and where, and what times? And then start to figure out my office hours and what hours can I dedicate to going in and answering these questions? And then if you’re ready, if you’re beyond that, if you’re like, Okay. I’m beyond that. I’m already doing that, and you want to go to the next phase, consider getting a social listening tool because that’s how you go from reactive to proactive. That’s how you go from customer support to customer care because then you’re looking at conversations around your brand and your keywords.
And you’re able to join those conversations and fix problems before they arise or bring in people to buy before they even know they want to buy from you. You know, it gets very proactive versus reactive.
Pam Didner: Hey, I have another question. It’s not necessarily related to social media. Similarly, in terms of customer care on the website, many people are using a chatbot. Do you have any new insights to share on that at all?
Brooke Sellas: I don’t mind chatbots. I think they’re great. And here’s a great way to use a chatbot. Like you were saying, I can’t answer you for 24 hours, so maybe you set up a bot. That says like, “Hi, this is Pam’s pet bot. My name is Spot. And Pam’s away sleeping at, or and-or bingeing TV. And…
Pam Didner: Yeah, I don’t mind sharing that information just to be authentic. Okay? (laughs)
Brooke Sellas: Yeah! And then “I’m available, and I can help you with these things”, and you can set up your bot to kind of have like a menu of options. “If you need Pam. Click, you know, click the pan button and she’ll get back to you within—” and then do that deliverable. Then make sure you meet or beat it. She’ll get back to you by X but then meet or beat whatever X is. But that bar can essentially answer FAQ’s 24/7 with accuracy.
So I’m not opposed to bots. I like bots, but make them fun, make them feel human and make sure they can view you have a human option with that bot.
Pam Didner: Very good. I have one silly question. I would like to ask you, and I’ve been asking many of my guests, you know, what is your most useless talent? like literally useless to this?
Brooke Sellas: Okay. So the audience won’t be able to see it. So, Pam, you’ll have to describe it, but I can, I can curl my tongue into like a Clover looking like (pause)
Pam Didner: Really? Oh my god! I can attest to it. Brooke can do that. To me, that’s a conversation opener. You can do that, and you will make such an impression.
Brooke Sellas: (laughs) Your face! I wish you could see Pam’s face right now.
Pam Didner: I was like, “Oh my god!!” Great job, I’m so sorry that I don’t have this, you know, I don’t have like upload a video that you can see, but Brooke, I love it. Super impressive. (laughs)
Brooke Sellas: Thank you.
Pam Didner: Hey Brooke, thank you so much for coming to my show and is so happy to have you. And, uh, I hope that we will talk to each other again on Twitter. It’s love, love, love your tweets. So that’s keeping in touch on the social media channels. Okay?
Brooke Sellas: Will do. Thank you much for having me? I had so much fun. So,
Pam Didner: Again, thank you so much for listening to my podcast. It means a lot to me. Uh, you can subscribe to my show on your favorite listening platforms. If you would like me to invite a guest, feel free to reach out and let me know. I would see what I can do.
If you have any specific questions, reach out to me on any social media channels, or email me, hello, a PM. dinner.com. Love, love, love to hear from you. I also have a Facebook community, Build Your Marketing Skills to Get Ahead. So I joined, and I answer everybody’s questions. So ask me that question. I will take care of it. So love to hear from you. Take care until next time. Bye!