Enabling Successful Social Media Customer Care - Understanding Social Media and Operationalizing it for the Contact Center

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A whitepaper about enabling successful social media customer care.

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Enabling Successful Social Media Customer Care - Understanding Social Media and Operationalizing it for the Contact Center

  1. 1. 50 Years of Growth, Innovation and LeadershipEnabling Successful Social Media Customer CareUnderstanding Social Media and Operationalizing it for the Contact Center A Frost & Sullivan White Paper www.frost.com
  2. 2. Frost & Sullivan Introduction............................................................................................................................. 4 Social Media Contact Center Context................................................................................. 4 Social Media Challenges......................................................................................................... 5 Social Media Opportunities................................................................................................... 5 Social Strategies and Tactics.................................................................................................. 5 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 7 CONTENTS
  3. 3. Enabling Successful Social Media Customer CareINTRODUCTIONAmong the challenges and opportunities facing contact centers today, Frost & Sullivan hasidentified four critical themes: enabling social media in customer care; deploying home agents;complying with stringent security requirements; and providing private cloud functionality.Frost & Sullivan has published white papers that address each of these issues.The topic of social media is well worth focusing on first, as it is currently generatingconsiderable buzz within the industry. Indeed, social media has arrived as a new and verydifferent communication channel. Well-publicized incidents like “United Breaks Guitars” havesent a clear message to companies—customers will use social media to vent as well as praisegood customer care. Companies, therefore, need to listen and respond quickly to such insights.After all, consumers can impact brand, image and sales by sharing their opinions and experiences.But the larger question is how best to operationalize social media by monitoring and takingaction within the contact center. Most firms are still trying to figure out how best to interactwith customers via this channel. Which department should be responsible for social media?How to staff, train, and provide agents with the tools they’ll need?SOCIAL MEDIA CONTACT CENTER CONTEXTFirst, let’s look at the construct of social media and then examine that in the context ofthe contact center. Social media is, after all, media. It is fundamentally different from allother customer engagement channels in that it transmits public conversations rather thanprivate ones. Employees who engage in public conversations are acting as spokespersons.When they post or tweet, it’s no different than if they were live on TV or radio. In essence,public conversations follow a unique set of engagement rules; an individual’s comments arebroadcast and re-broadcast to a far wider audience. With this comes greater responsibilityfrom companies and their employees. It is critical to capture the audience’s attention, ensureaccuracy, and promote and protect the brand. There is much less room for error.In the contact center context, social media becomes a customer collaboration tool formonitoring conversations and interacting. Firms may choose to capture, analyze, andforward these conversations to other departments. In today’s environment, marketing andcommunications is often the first point of entry. The contacts are then forwarded to customerservice. Customer service can then decide to have the contact center answer comments,Facebook posts or Twitter feeds. Another option is to have agents engage in a group dialoguewith customers on moderated collaboration sites. Finally, agents might decide to make certainconversations private and more personalized. Frost.com 3
  4. 4. Frost & Sullivan SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGES There are several challenges in supporting social media in the contact center. First, many people prefer to be anonymous, which makes it very difficult to know whether they are customers or prospects. Second, some information might be sensitive (consider credit card numbers) and cannot be released publicly. Third, social media requires a different set of procedures and agent skill sets, not unlike those needed for corporate communications. SOCIAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES There are several key opportunities through engaging customers via social media: • Improved customer service. As a public conversation, social media can resolve not just a single consumer’s issue, but those of other individuals who may share the same product or service challenge. Social media permits peer service, which taps into individual expertise and knowledge. • Sales and business development. With social media, customers that experience delight with companies become the new marketers. Social media provides a richer and more accurate evaluation of customer value. This is done through tracking and assessing customers’ ability to influence others. • Early warning of problems and opportunities. Another upside of social media is that companies can eavesdrop on what customers are really thinking and saying. This gives them an early warning mechanism attuned to customer issues, opportunities, intelligence on competitors, and ideas for new products and services. Social media then acts as a no- charge, free-flowing, focus group. • Driving efficient communications between marketing and customer service. Too often, the marketing department launches promotions that the contact center has little knowledge of. With social media, the resulting customer annoyance is spread to a far larger audience, thereby intensifying the negative impacts on brand image and reputation. Social media can be the catalyst that forces these two organizations to work with greater synergy. SOCIAL STRATEGIES AND TACTICS To be successful with social media, firms must create a single department responsible for customer engagement strategy across all media. Ongoing participation by other departments, including corporate communications and legal, would be ideal. This area can be a cross- functional interdepartmental working group or a merger of customer service and marketing. The goal is to get everyone on the same page, working closely together. Along the way, companies need to establish formal social media workflows. 4 Frost.com
  5. 5. Enabling Successful Social Media Customer CareAs the chart below illustrates, social media adoption and integration into companies andcontact centers is a continuous process. Frost & Sullivan findings show that most companiesare moving from phase I to phase II. Current stage of adoption for most companies—moving • Social Media becomes Phase IV an established contact from Phase I to Phase II channel, to the extent Social Media as a Customer of replacing websites Communication Channel and contact centers Penetration/Extent of Adoption • Advanced customer behavior analytics Phase III • Well-developed Companies interact with monetizing strategies customers through • Central to a company’s marketing and customer Social Media strategy Phase II • Companies leverage data gathered through previous phases and use analytic Social Media as a tools to build real time picture of the Marketing Platform brand • Engage directly with customers; sites such as Facebook become first point of contact for customers Phase I • Companies target messages to suit audience and use Listen and Facebook or Twitter for product promotion and deals Monitor • Limited customer interaction • Initial stage of adoption where companies begin to track what customers are saying about the brand. • Little or no interaction with customers Maturity of Strategy Over Time Source: Frost & Sullivan AnalysisHere are the key emerging social media tactics: • Acknowledge the outcome of conversations on social media so that the public knows that the company cares about offering a rewarding customer experience. • Select which social media channels best meet the company’s customer engagement models. At the same time, actively encourage dialogue between social media participants so as to increase enthusiasm for a product or service. Increased usage drives brand loyalty. • Some companies identify agents publicly with their names and faces. There are benefits and challenges to this approach. It creates a direct personal connection with customers and is aligned with social media users’ expectations. On the other hand, it places agents squarely in the public eye, limiting their privacy. • Build customers’ social profiles, track their social activities, analyze their comments, and assess their influence. • Examine and pick the right mix of technologies. There is a wide variety of monitoring, analytics, routing, profiling and collaboration tools on the market. Frost.com 5
  6. 6. Frost & Sullivan • Build metrics that map to expected volumes and acceptable response times. Decide whether to have a dedicated social media team or one that will also answer chat, e-mail, SMS/text, and live agent calls. • Determine skills sets, training, and policies. Agents must have exceptional comprehension and writing abilities, and be savvy in the use of social media. Policies should also specify what content employees are permitted to publish via social media. • Set up strict monitoring and procedures so that comments are routed to the correct department (e.g., corporate communications, legal, marketing, and customer service). Install real-time agent monitoring and recording capability. CONCLUSION Frost & Sullivan believes that social media is here to stay as a permanent customer contact channel. While fraught with challenges, it also comes with tremendous opportunities for improving customer engagement and relationship-building. By understanding what social media means in the contact center context, companies can select the right mix of strategies and tactics to successfully engage with customers over this exciting new medium. 6 Frost.com
  7. 7. Silicon Valley San Antonio London 331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100 7550 West Interstate 10, Suite 400, 4, Grosvenor Gardens, Mountain View, CA 94041 San Antonio, Texas 78229-5616 London SWIW ODH,UK Tel 650.475.4500 Tel 210.348.1000 Tel 44(0)20 7730 3438 Fax 650.475.1570 Fax 210.348.1003 Fax 44(0)20 7730 3343 877.GoFrost • myfrost@frost.com http://www.frost.comABOUT FROST & SULLIVANFrost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company’sTEAM Research, Growth Consulting, and Growth Team Membership™ empower clients to create a growth-focusedculture that generates, evaluates, and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 50 years ofexperience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses, and the investment community from morethan 40 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Partnership Services, visithttp://www.frost.com.For information regarding permission, write:Frost & Sullivan331 E. Evelyn Ave. Suite 100Mountain View, CA 94041Auckland Dubai Mumbai Sophia AntipolisBangkok Frankfurt Manhattan SydneyBeijing Hong Kong Oxford TaipeiBengaluru Istanbul Paris Tel AvivBogotá Jakarta Rockville Centre TokyoBuenos Aires Kolkata San Antonio TorontoCape Town Kuala Lumpur São Paulo WarsawChennai London Seoul Washington, DCColombo Mexico City ShanghaiDelhi / NCR Milan Silicon ValleyDhaka Moscow Singapore

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