The latest customer interaction channel which contact centre professionals need to respond to is social media. Unlike voice, email and web chat, where each inbound event is easily recognised, identifying which social media posts require a response is much trickier.
For example, Twitter's 230 million active users post some 500 million Tweets every day. Thousands of re-tweets and hashtags can exponentially increase the potential reach of each post. Contact centres must be able to filter out those which warrant the engagement of an agent. It's a daunting task, and just watching your Twitter account may not be enough. Enterprises need to utilise robust tools to meet the challenge. The choice is often driven by where the organisation is in the lifecycle of social media adoption. Two main approaches exist:
- Early stage users start with an approach where they can view enquiries and respond. This is typically a reactive process, with the organisation responding to issues as they arise
- Mature social media user organisations use processes and technologies to focus on customer histories and conversation threads. The aim is to increase customer satisfaction by engaging with customers, using their channel of choice. These organisations search multiple social media sites for mentions of their brand names with various terms of complaint
EML Wildfire report that more than 80% of B2B organisations have Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
Most open a Twitter account to publicise their own new content. Only 37% use Twitter to gather customer feedback, with just 35% using it for complaint gathering, according to Econsultancy.
There is a significant difference between having an account for broadcasting one's own activity and consistently monitoring activity for effective customer engagement.
Source: EML Wildfire (January 2013) & Facebook key facts
When starting to use social media for customer engagement, early stage users can find it a confusing jargon-rich world that seems ready to trap the uninitiated. Gartner has received double the number of customer-facing social-analytics queries in the past 12 months.
It is clear then that organisations are looking for solutions to manage the social media revolution. The challenge is understanding which solution is best for the enterprise.
The marketplace is crowded. Vendors seem to offer similar functionality. Finding a solution that is right for today's needs and which can evolve to accommodate future requirements, can be difficult. Some solutions are free to use, others demand six-figure commitments.
Perhaps the best start point is a clear understanding of the stages involved in progressively adopting social media in the enterprise, and where your organisation is on that journey. The following table will help:
Organisations can access data from four sources: Contact centre professionals need to consider not only the capability of the tools offered by each vendor, but the level of access to social media data too.
- 'Free' web interfaces or APIs provided by the publisher such as Twitter.com
- 'Free' or paid-for interfaces from a data reseller such as Topsy or HootSuite
- A paid-for social media standalone application such as Sentiment, Conversocial, Radian 6
- A paid-for enterprise application from their contact centre vendor, with integrated social media functionality (such as Netcall)
By understanding where the organisation is now on its social media journey, and its plans for the future, contact centre professionals can make informed choices about the investment required. Discussion can then move on to how each contact centre can be set up to manage social media.
Look out for our blog "Five steps to manage social media in a contact centre".