Social Media Playing Bigger Role, Even in Outsourced Situations

July 02, 2015

Social media has become so ingrained in American society that the outsider these days is someone who doesn’t participate in this new way of communicating. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook (NewsAlert), Instagram or any of the other myriad choices available, it seems as if everyone uses something ‘socially.’

This is a point that has not been lost on contact centers. With folks no longer just content to pick up a phone and wade through a menu of options, many customers are now actively seeking out a better way to reach out. As such, customer relationship management and those who maintain it have had to ‘up their game.’

In a recent blog post, inContact’s Mariann McDonagh presented an overview of this phenomenon.

‘With a rate of approximately half a billion tweets sent each day and 1.44 billion active Facebook users, social media presents a host of new challenges and opportunities in the realm of customer relationship management (CRM),” she noted. “People are tweeting not only about their customer service needs but also the good, bad and ugly of the experience that they receive from companies.”

She also quoted some numbers from evolve24, a data analytics and insights company that measures audience perception, using that understanding to help clients change behavior.

“According to evolve24, 70 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored — and the damage can be significant. Gartner (News Alert) estimates that failure to respond via social channels can lead to an up to 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers,” she added.

McDonagh outlined what she described as the “challenges” companies are facing in this new arena:

Vast quantities of social interactions. “A critical ingredient for success is the ability to uncover the most relevant interactions and prioritize conversations within large volumes of social data,” McDonagh said.

Silos of customer information. As a new data stream, incoming social interactions need to be connected to customer service management and reporting engines as well as to other customer data sources — from CRM to billing to scheduling.

Operational efficiency. “Traditionally social channels have been primarily the purview of marketing teams who are not structured for one-to-one customer interactions,” she observed. “As volume increases, companies are moving social customer care to contact center operations.”

McDonagh cites research that notes about 80 percent of social media posts are not relevant to customer service, which means winnowing through a lot of chaff to find the “wheat.” But such efforts can pay off in the long run, in terms of customer satisfaction – and customer retention. It’s an effort worth undertaking.

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