I came across this post from Heather Clancy on the smartplanet blog in which she lists 5 best practices for applying social media to better customer service from Forrester analyst Natalie Petouhoff. Natalie covers the space regularly and this is a summary of her main points from the report "Best Practices: Five Strategies for Customer Service Social Media Excellence." Enjoy!
1. Take ownership. Keep focused on the true mission, making the customer service, and avoid letting marketing and sales control the agenda. Understand what they need, but don’t skew what you’re doing to accommodate tactical problems. If you handle customer service properly, it will naturally help sales.
2. Figure out who you want to reach and set out specific goals. Don’t just experiment.
3. Focus on the customer experience. In particular, make sure there is support for a two-way conversation. Where possible, let the customer do the talking on your behalf by engaging and developing “super customers.”
4. Understand the role of different technologies. In all likelihood, your strategy will rely on multiple approaches. You need to figure out what’s best for your audience AND you need to keep on top of the new tools that will doubtless be at your disposal in three months.
5. Figure out the costs and build a real business case. Even if some of your perceived benefits might be intangible, you can assign them a value and weigh them against the start-up technology investment you might have to make. You need to know the risks and when to cut your losses.