How Jackson Hewitt Dominated Social Customer Service

Eric Haftel, Social Media Marketing Manager at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss customer expectations surrounding the immediacy of social media and the importance of an internal communication system between social media and other customer support teams.

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Full Episode Details

Meeting Customer Expectations on Social Media

Jackson Hewitt is the second largest tax service in the U.S. (next to H&R Block). Their new CEO, David Prokupek, is passionate about social media, and has wholeheartedly thrown in the support and resources needed to make it possible for this week’s guest, Eric Haftel, to excel in his job as the Social Media Marketing Manager.

David came to Eric and said, “We are going to be responding within 15 minutes on social media, because that’s what we are going to have to do to be the best in the business.” Before that, there was a general attempt to respond to every question, but no protocol in place to make it happen efficiently.

This tax season was Eric’s first with Jackson Hewitt. He was able to make that change, and it’s paid off.

“We now are recognized on Facebook as being a company that responds within minutes. None of our competitors can say that at this point.”

Jackson Hewitt understands the need for immediacy on social media. Before their new push to respond within minutes, if a question went unanswered for more than an hour or two, the customer would leave and never come back. With up to hundreds of requests coming in per hour at certain points in the tax season, Eric had to bulk up his team to be able to handle the volume.

At one point during tax season, they had 7–10 folks working on the social media customer support team (separate from their phone/email customer support team), covering Facebook and Twitter. Scheduled with 2–4 people on from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eric could still be found responding until 1 a.m. some mornings to make sure to get back to everyone.

And it’s not even about getting the right answer immediately: The customer support team isn’t made up of tax professionals, so often the response is a recommendation to talk to your tax preparer. It’s more about making sure customers know, “At Jackson Hewitt, we hear you, and we’re going to take care of it.”

Streamlining Internal Communications is Key

Sebastien WertzJackson Hewitt’s customer support team operates separately from the newer social media customer support team. Like so many other companies, they understand that it takes different skills to excel in each area. But it’s imperative to have a consistent communication system between teams to make sure everyone is able to deliver the same level of excellent support.

This year was a work in progress for Eric and his new social media support team, but they were always heavily connected. They use an internal customer care system where any customer support team member can open a case on a customer. That way if someone started by reaching out via Twitter but then calls (or requests a follow up call from the company), the information is accessible across the board.

In addition, both teams are constantly sharing information back and forth about trends. If recurring issues were popping up across social media, Eric would alert the phone team to expect similar issues, and vice versa.

“They were ready in advance, just like we were ready in advance. I think that we resolved any issues, or anything that could have been bigger in past seasons, much faster, and in a much better way. I think that our customers can see that and hopefully appreciate that.”

See you next week!

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