Managing the impact of social customer service beyond the contact centre
Following the release of our White Paper which takes an in-depth look at Integrating Social Customer Service into the Contact Centre, we’re running a series of posts looking at how organisations can overcome the challenges of trying to bring social into the contact centre. This week we’re looking at managing service impact beyond the contact centre.
One of the key differences between social and traditional customer service channels is that consumers rarely call help-lines to buy products or make media enquiries. This isn’t the case on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. As Martin Hill-Wilson explains:
“We are seeing customer behaviour on social channels which could be placed equally well into a marketing bucket, sales bucket, service bucket, occasionally a PR bucket and possibly an R&D bucket. That’s one of the most interesting things about social.”
Perhaps this highlights the risk being taken by companies that have, to date, failed to invest properly in the management of their social customer services. On average, companies spend the equivalent of just 2% of their marketing budget on actively maintaining relationships with existing customers, but when customer service starts occurring in a public environment, the line between support and sales becomes increasingly blurred.
How you manage the customer query is obviously very important when it comes to social media supporting other functions in the business. The solution usually involves a combination of teamwork and tools; it’s about being responsive and getting the right mention to the right agent – or another member of staff - as soon as possible, so a response can be sent as quickly as possible.
As Luke Porter explains:
“Traditionally, this has been managed through a ‘manual’ triage – i.e. all brand mentions have been dropped into a single pot and subsequently directed and assigned across marketing, PR, customer service, technical support, billing teams, etc. It was a pretty cumbersome task and obviously has an impact on response time.”
Among those seeking a solution to this is Luke’s team at Sentiment, which has developed a set of ‘automations’ that identify specific types of mention - through related keywords and phrases - and automatically assigns them to a specific team, or even an individual agent. This allows Marketing and Corporate Communications teams to relax a little, knowing that they can still be responsible for following up on customer leads, or managing brand reputation. At the same time, by reducing the volume of queries pushed through to them, customer service teams can be more responsive to customer complaints and queries.
Given the complexities of language, there will always be a need for a human triage process, but automation is certainly a useful weapon in the social contact centre’s armoury. On this point Martin Hill-Wilson suggests that in the future, marketing, sales and service skills will continue to blur and could eventually be brought together into a single operation:
“The writing’s on the wall. Social will force organisations to take an enterprise-level approach, as opposed to just a functional approach, to social media engagement.”
At the heart of this Martin sees a ‘Customer Engagement Hub’ in which organisations will have dedicated Community Managers, Marketeers and Service Agents all feeding off the same information, but using it for different purposes.
You can download the full 18-page report here: Integrating Social Customer Service into the Contact Centre