There are lots of benefits to keeping your social media and customer service teams connected. From more complete resolution of problems to developing stronger relationships with your clients, social media has the potential to make your business actions better — and faster. That’s especially important for customer service, since leaving a client concern unrecognized could damage your brand’s relationship with that person and could lead to poor word-of-mouth about your business.

This integration of social media with other aspects of your company’s activities is one of Sprout Social’s strengths. The social media management tool is designed to make it as easy as possible for your brand to capitalize on the business possibilities of networks such as Facebook and Twitter. To that end, Sprout Social has partnered with Zendesk and more recently also with UserVoice to build on the new features rolled out in the S2 release of the tool to make sure that your customer support team operates like clockwork. Here are some of the features your company can take advantage of with these joint efforts.

What You Need for Social Media Customer Service

We’ve discussed some suggestions for how to conduct good customer support on Twitter and on Facebook, and the general principles of good service are the same whether you’re interacting over the Internet or in person. Be courteous to all of your clients and respond to their needs quickly. Also, be sure to keep the process as streamlined as possible, without sending your customers on a wild goose chase to get the information they need. And finally, be sure to follow up and double-check that the problem was properly resolved.

Most social media and customer support teams are working with separate tool sets that make it challenging to follow all of those principles. The teams rely on email or phone conversations, which can be lost or forgotten or put on hold. And while many client questions may go through the traditional channels of a support team, people are increasingly likely to ping a company directly on Twitter or Facebook. It becomes easy for a complaint to be given two tickets, or to be missed entirely. The average customer support division doesn’t have the resources to field these communications, which is where the combined capabilities of Sprout Social and Zendesk or UserVoice enter the picture.

Sprout Social was designed to help you with customer communications. The Smart Inbox means that you’ll never miss a direct mention and makes it easy for your team members to keep track of interactions for follow-up. Zendesk and UserVoice speed up the customer support process. If you’re already a client with either service, then you know that they’ve worked to make things simple for all parties involved.

The integration between Sprout Social and Zendesk and UserVoice means that a support ticket created through the Sprout tool will be visible in both places. Any comments on the item will be visible to all involved, which means faster and easier resolution of the problem. And since a task can be reassigned, it’s easy to make sure that all the necessary steps, from the technical tinkering to the final communication with the customer, are accomplished.

How to Use Zendesk and UserVoice Within Sprout Social

To start using the customer support ticket features, log in to your Sprout Social account. If you don’t have an account yet, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial. Once you’ve signed in, click on the Settings button, which is at the far top right of your screen. Select the “Helpdesk Integration” option, then click “Connect” to fill in your Zendesk or UserVoice account information.

Once you’ve signed in, click on the “Messages” tab in the top menu to access your Smart Inbox. In the bottom right corner of each message, you’ll see an image of a small pushpin. Click on that pushpin to create a task. The task can be assigned to any of the team members on your Sprout Social account if there’s a customer service rep online who can deal with the issue directly.

The Tasks section can show the duties assigned just to you or to the entire team, so a manager can monitor the progress of each job. You can also toggle between the Incomplete Tasks and Completed Tasks in case you need to reference a case that’s already been closed.

This article discusses Sprout Social, our social media management tool for businesses. To learn about our editorial ethics and our commitment to objective coverage of the social media space, visit our About page.

[Image credits: digitaljournal.com]