Once simply a way for individuals to connect online, social media has become so much more. It’s a way to broadcast news, it’s a way to engage in business networking, and it’s a way for customers to interact with the companies with which they do business.
Many companies didn’t see the latter coming. They believed social media was a phenomenon to be observed: by monitoring it, they could understand how consumers perceived their brand, their competitors and their service. For this reason, they put the task of social media monitoring with a department they thought made sense: marketing or public relations.
As it turns out, customers started to expect responses to their Tweets and Facebook (News - Alert) posts when it came to interacting with companies. They expected social media to become simply another channel option when it came to receiving customer service. Social media responsibility, sitting in the hands of marketing or PR, suddenly became a hot potato no one knew what to do with.
For this reason, smart companies have put social media into the contact center so it can be treated as simply another contact channel. The greater purpose is not just meeting customer needs, but using social media for intelligence gathering, wrote CMS Wire’s Laura Bassett recently.
“To survive and thrive in this connected world, you must mine — not just monitor — these conversations to respond and glean insights that will inform your future strategy,” wrote Bassett, who goes on to describe six critical steps in handling social media.
These steps include gathering information from various social media (Tweets and Facebook posts, for starters); sifting through the various social media feeds to identify important items that merit further attention; integrating social media contacts into the call center’s main activity streams and queues; matching the contacts to the right agent; measuring the effectiveness of social media; and improving agents’ social media knowledge and the flow of operations continuously.
“Social media is a two-way street,” notes Bassett. “Along with addressing what’s being said about you, you can create greater trust and sense of community by being interested in what others are doing. For example, you can also circulate news generated by outsiders through re-tweeting, liking or commenting on other people’s content as a corporate user.”
If you believed you could navigate social media in your company with a minimum of effort, you’re out of luck. Not only is social media a new channel for the contact center to handle, it may be a more labor-intensive channel than any other, save perhaps the telephone. The rewards, however, are great, and the process may give you more insight into your customers than you have ever had before.