I have been exploring for a while to see if a link between our customer service agents on Yammer and our customers on Twitter exists. Is there a point at which the two platforms could come together in the provision of customer service? 

Happily there is. It’s a bit clunky but it works. And the answer is ‘#yam’. 

Let me set the scene. Every day via Twitter our customers ask us any number of questions covering a wide range of topics. Many of these I simply don’t know the answer to and until we get our customer service agents working directly on Twitter (which will happen) I will email these queries through to either our customer service agents or to our knowledge experts.

This whole process got me thinking: could we simply tweet these queries through to the relevant person/team internally and for them in turn to respond directly to the customer?

And then one day last week I had a breakthrough moment. I am not sure what triggered it, but I thought about the ‘#yam’ hashtag.

Let me digress for a moment and switch my attention to Yammer. We have been using Yammer internally for a few months now. We have about 305 members who have sent out 2,963 messages. It’s still growing and we have let membership grow organically. There are individual and teams from across the business and located in different offices around the UK and Europe.

What we have found with Yammer is that it has hugely sped up either the identification of the relevant knowledge owner or the actual solution itself. In the past we would have had to find the relevant knowledge owner. Now we simply post the question on Yammer and an answer will come back to us within minutes.

Fast forward now to this blog post and my breakthrough moment. A customer had tweeted about their order and the fact that it was for a birthday present. There was a real sense of urgency from the customer. I also knew there was very little I could add to the process, I simply needed to put the customer in touch with one of our customer service agents and quickly. 

Not sure why, but I thought to myself what would happen if I added the ‘#yam’ tag at the end of my tweet, as well as mentioning the customers Twitter id. So this is what I tweeted:

Customer query: Could FSE pls help @[TwitterId] with a missing order asap on Thu. Probs w/ order no. It’s a birthday present. Thx #yam

(FSE = Fanatical Support, our customer service agents).

The customer first tweeted about the issue at 22:50pm on Thursday evening. I sent out the above tweet a little after midnight on Friday and it was picked up on Yammer and responded to by one of our customer service agents at 9.03 Friday morning. The issue was finally resolved at 13:34 on Friday. Obviously part of this took place out of office hours, but it showed that it could work. Twitter and Yammer could work together using the ‘#yam’ tag.

Whilst this is by no means revolutionary, I would like to think that there is an element of the evolutionary about it in terms of how we provide customer service. The ‘#yam’ tag has shown us how we can bring our customers and customer service agents closer together. Firstline issues can be identified and therefore resolved potentially more quickly without a customer having to call through to the contact centre; a win-win situation for all.

Perhaps another piece of the customer service jigsaw has been put in place through the use of social media; the very medium that is forcing businesses to re-examine and re-engineer how customer service is provided.