Social Media and Call Center Communications Go Together like Peanut Butter and Jelly
December 05, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
It’s no secret that the popularity of sites such as You Tube, Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter has exploded in recent years, so much so that for some of us, they encompass a good chunk of our communication. Social media is no longer just for play, and while it can be fun for some to “poke” and “like” and Facebook chat, social media has inevitably also become a preferred method of business communications. Now, enhancing the satisfaction of customers who reach out to your call center may be as simple as incorporating these very important channels into your marketing mix.
As a recent blog from GetSatisfaction.com points out, solely providing traditional avenues of communication to your customers is no longer enough. In a time when customers not only want but demand a multi-channel customer service experience, they have initiated a search for rich communications that have little to do with sitting on a phone with a representative.
A recent TNS (News - Alert) Social Media Customer Service Report showed that an overwhelming majority (57 percent) of customers seek the Internet as a first resort for problem solving rather than contacting the company via the call center. So the question is: What can call center managers do to better accommodate customers’ demand for choices and flexibility?
As many already know, opening the lines of social communication allows the opportunity to not only learn more about customer preferences and opinions, but also significantly improve relationships. Given this information, it’s surprising that call center operations haven’t embraced Internet options as heavily as they should. The benefits of utilizing social media only stand to increase as technology develops over time.
One major benefit of social media is that customer concerns can be monitored and kept for future use. The social scene is a powerful tool for the call center to break down barriers to communication, and by engaging in its use, customers will feel more comfortable divulging information and interacting on a more intimate level. The best thing is that in a way, the company gets closer than ever before to their customers while remaining a transparent force, camouflaged by a tool that customers use every day for interaction. This allows for a more seamless transition to form a more reliable and preferred customer experience.
Through monitoring, key trends can also be identified. For instance, sifting customer comments on social media might uncover that a repeated issue continues to surface. This information can then be forwarded to the appropriate department for service improvements.
The use of social media allows the call center to address service issues faster and more effectively than it would be able to do otherwise. Social networks are an easy outlet to disseminate information, and it is becoming a popular means to neutrally address questions and concerns of time-starved customers - something we're all unfortunately affected by.
One study published by the CFI group showed that as many as 20 percent of calls placed to contact centers across various industries ended with customer concerns not being resolved. Further, nearly 70 percent of these consumers were at risk of severing their ties with the company based on the incident. Needless to say, it’s critical to take every necessary step to realizing customers’ dire needs, because that’s who should ultimately come first.
Reaching out to customers in their preferred method of communication is more likely to produce higher loyalty and satisfaction scores. Keep in mind it is imperative that disgruntled feedback be addressed promptly – don’t ever underestimate how fast negative sentiment can travel across the Internet.
Used properly, social media provides a forum for customers to connect with both one another and the company. Embracing social media in your call center can not only leverage these customer conversations to promote word-of-mouth advertising, but it can be a great means to support and grow current customer relationships.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo