From Twitter advising staff to work from home to Salesforce cancelling non-essential travel, organisations around the world are putting their employees’ health first during the Coronavirus outbreak by encouraging remote working and extended sick leave. The resulting disruption to supply lines and reduced services means customers are turning to social media. So, how can we maintain a collaborative, efficient social media strategy amid the increasing inbound messages and teams working from home?
Shifting the Balance: Resource Supply vs Customer Demand
During the peak of the virus, teams that usually work in the same office may have to adjust to working and communicating remotely with little to no notice, losing the opportunity for collaboration with desk-side decisions and water cooler chats.
Because of this, your customers may also face potential issues. From reduced or cancelled services to problems with product supply chains, people will turn to social media to publicly vent to your organisation.
This creates a perpetuating imbalance between the volumes of inbound social activity (in the form of direct messages and public posts) and the longer response times from a reduced workforce.
Tools like Slack and Skype help colleagues work together regardless of physical location. Still, there are also processes available to help you handle the increasing demand for social media.
Meeting the Increased Demand on Social Media
The best way for your organisation to handle the changes to resources and customer demand is to prepare before it happens. However, as the outbreak progresses in the UK, many organisations may be unprepared if similar lockdown measures to Italy are applied here.
Keeping your team co-ordinated and proactive while they’re working in separate locations will be your biggest challenge. Providing internal channels to communicate through and oversight on what each team is working on will help bridge the gap between office and home working.
Although crisis situations on social media are usually tough to navigate, the added complexity of team members working from home adds a new dimension to the challenge. Scale up your volumes and increase team collaboration with these helpful tips to save you and your team valuable time.
If your content is relevant for an indefinite period, or you need to ensure as many people in your audience see it, schedule your posts to go out multiple times.
Categorise Your Complaints
Grouping together your most commonly-asked questions can give you a clear idea on what issues your customers are most concerned about. It can also help you to focus your outbound content on answering these questions, so customers don’t need to contact you directly.
Create Quick Replies
During a crisis, it can be hard to stay on top of all your inbound enquiries, while maintaining a consistent tone of voice. Creating quick responses to common questions allows you to answer more messages, keeping the information and overall tone consistent.
Check Outstanding Messages
No one wants messages to fall through the cracks, but when you’re dealing with vast numbers of incoming messages, it’s easily done. Regularly go back through your open conversations to ensure everyone has a response, and no one has been missed.
Broadcasting Internal Updates
Even though your colleagues aren’t in the office, customer service and comms teams still need to collaborate. Regularly updating with internal messages gives your team the oversight to know what’s coming up on the schedule, and where they need to work together to meet the demand of inbound conversations.
Use a Shared Content Calendar
Giving all your teams an insight into what content is coming up is vital to seamless collaboration. Using a tool like a shared calendar can quickly and easily show whether important topics are going to be covered, saving teams valuable time and having to repeat themselves.
Proactively Share Updates
Updating customers on your situation before they ask you directly will help you stay on the front foot, and reduce the need for customers to send you questions. Even if there’s no news to share, regularly posting about the situation will show your audience that you’re being proactive, and doing everything you can to be as forthcoming as possible. Make sure that if you’re using data in your content, you take it from official sources to prevent the spread of fake news.
With current technology, there’s no reason that your organisation can’t continue to thrive on social media; regardless of whether your team are working from home or not. Ensuring you have processes in place to maintain oversight and collaboration is the key to continuing business as usual!