January 21, 2013
Bringing Social Media into the Contact Center Mix is No Longer Optional
It’s safe to say that when social media channels first began to be widely adopted by Americans, companies and other organizations weren’t yet aware of the impact these channels would have on their business. While companies likely found it helpful at first to read social media posts that mentioned their brand, they were unlikely to have recognized at the time that social media was on its way to becoming a set of major channels through which customers expected to communicate.
The fact that they didn’t expect this was obvious when you recall that most companies put social media monitoring and response into marketing departments, which simply weren’t equipped to handle the onslaught, according to contact center solutions provider Genesys (News - Alert) in a recent white paper.
“The problem: In far too many organizations, it’s the marketing and corporate communications departments that drive social media engagement, according to the white paper. “While this arrangement has many benefits, a different set of tools and skills is usually required to successfully handle customer issues. When you factor in the possibility that data generated via social media could be lost — which could have potentially otherwise been used to inform and provide context for many discreet operations within the enterprise — then the issue becomes business critical.”
Customers have eagerly adopted social media as a way to communicate with businesses for a number of reasons, but the primary one is that it’s very public: while a customer communicating a gripe via e-mail may involve only herself and the company, the same customer airing a gripe via Facebook or Twitter can spread news of her issues far and wide, and it can have real repercussions on a company. In fact, according to Forrester Research (News - Alert), 16 percent of customers have already vented about negative customer service interactions through social channels, such as online customer reviews, blog posts, and Facebook (News - Alert) status updates, and that number will only continue to grow.
So how do companies get on top of social media to ensure that they are not only moderating and sampling, but proactively heading off trouble and responding to social media posts?
For starters, it’s important to understand that the proper place for social media management is the contact center. It’s the only department equipped and trained to handle the flood, and it’s important that social media contacts be pulled into overall customer relationships like any other contact channel.
“Through true integration, companies don’t only gain the ability to listen to consumer sentiment about their brands, but they can prioritize these sentiments to determine the appropriate actions, engage with consumers as never before possible, and integrate the resulting interactions across marketing, customer service, and various other customer touch points to deliver a truly satisfying customer experience,” writes Genesys.
While it may be easier said than done, many companies are finding social media management success today in their contact center platforms, many of which allow them to bring social media into the customer relationship with relative ease. These solutions have social media modules that allow companies to listen and monitor social media, capture customer profiles, prioritize social media contacts, then act and engage with customers reaching out via these channels. This allows companies to become proactive and use social media to their benefit instead of simply reacting and putting out fires.
“Providing a single source of truth from social media to all knowledge workers can dramatically improve operational efficiencies while providing the kind of customer experience that bolsters brands — and their revenues,” writes Genesys.
Continuing to ignore social media channels, or using an ineffective piecemeal approach to solving issues that arise in social media will increasingly guarantee that companies will fail their customers and their brand.
For more information, read “Bridging the Great Divide: Best Practices for Integrating Social Media and Customer Service for Bottom Line Results” by Genesys.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman