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Social customer service


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Customer service on social networks matters. It matters more than we realize, from being a social channel where marketing companies tried to sell something or the other. Social networks today have taken over as 'the' customer service channel for many organizations. Complaints on social networks have the power to destroy reputation in a few hours, since it’s an unregulated platform companies are at...more

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Social customer service

  1. 1. White Paper on SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE - THE RISE OF THE MACHINES By Naval Vithalani Zensar Consulting Team Naval Vithalani is the Social Media, Loyalty and Mobility Lead with Zensar Technologies Consulting Practice. He specializes in Social CRM, Enterprise Engagement programs and Customer engagement strategies for customers across vertical industries. Naval comes with a vast experience in Retail and Manufacturing industries.© Zensar Technologies 2012
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY No we aren’t talking about the new sequel of Terminator here. Customer service on social networks matters. It matters more than we realize, from being a social channel where marketing companies tried to sell something or the other. Social networks today have taken over as the customer service channel for many organizations. Complaints on social networks have the power to destroy reputation in a few hours, since it’s an unregulated platform companies are at the risk of being viciously attacked for various reasons. Remember the guy whose guitar was broken by United Airlines baggage handlers. While a few years ago, companies had immense power to influence any negative comments, it’s not that guitars werent broken by baggage handlers prior to the UA incident. It never came out. Social networks are the great levellers that have brought the might organizations and average Joe to a level playing field. People turn to social networks when they dont find a resolution on the traditional channels. Companies are powerless once the negative comments start making the rounds. An isolated post by one individual on social networks has the potential to become an avalanche. It only takes a few re-tweets / reposts to create a storm for any brand or company. What’s more, comments are not posted in your space, but all over Twitter. Not having an account and not being involved means youre going to hit the iceberg soon. THE CHANGING SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE LANDSCAPE Customer service has undergone has seen a paradigm shift in the past 2 decades. From being a cell in the basement of the organization that dealt with isolated incidents (sometimes harshly) to having a dedicated contact centre to now social customer service. One of the biggest drawbacks of having an IVR based contact centre was that people dropped off – they got tired of waiting to speak to someone and went away. Another twist was when costs went up, people were slowly replaced by automated IVR and customers’ biggest complaint was they couldn’t talk to a human. All this changed with the Social Networks taking the central stage in people’ lives. Now people could praise or blast a brand in the un-regulated arena. Some companies found it difficult to cope with while others have adapted.© Zensar Technologies 2012
  3. 3. By moving Customer Service to social networks, it not only helps provide a resolution to the customers’ problem but also portrays an image of responsibility for the organization. Social customer service also helps in creating an army of fans in the virtual world who will defend the brand. While companies saved money by moving a lot of customer service focus away from an IVR based contact centre to the social networks it still costs money. The cost of servicing has gone down, but if someone looked into all the queries raised on various companies channels. You’ll find that most of them have a common resolution. Talking about money, so while servicing a call costs the company say $10, the same query can be serviced on social networks at say $5. But if you look at the number of times the query is repeated, it’s probably an unnecessary cost for the company. This is where our thought process kicks in. WHAT NEXT? Imagine posting on Twitter complaining about some issue and getting a response from the customer service desk within minutes. Super agents with a wide variety of skills monitoring the social networks and jumping in to help customers when they are seen or heard complaining. This works, it’s the most efficient form of social customer service and it works. Such prompt services requires a 24/7 team, investment on their training, a 24/7 support system etc. So while the progress of recent years has completely changed the way we did business, it’s the new way of managing customer service that will change the entire business landscape. In order for customers to self-serve from the website, companies invested millions in building the knowledge base and putting it online. And although the intent was if you don’t’ find an answer there call us, companies are usually overwhelmed with calls. Similar behaviour is being witnessed on the Social Networks. What if we could learn from the past and program the future? In the not so distant future, customers will log their queries on various social networks and get instantaneous resolutions. The turnaround time will be a few seconds or minutes at max. Imagine a world where Social customer service can provide 24/7 support and in turn learns from every query and every resolution a self-learning mechanism.© Zensar Technologies 2012
  4. 4. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF AUTOBOTS A subset of the social performance software, Autobots will be similar to text based chat bots but with intelligent. Using Artificial Intelligence, the Autobots can be programmed to run Customer Service on Facebook and Twitter. Based on the past data and the clever use to AI, Autobots will replicate human behaviour in the social channel. Content publishing and Content optimization has already been automated, look at hootsuite or social flow. Automation of customer service is not far behind. Brands that have more conversations on the social networks will have to adopt a channel that is more responsive, quick and increased customer satisfaction all this while reducing costs. The way it will work is depicted in the diagram below: Fig 1. The Rise of the Machines With every query that is raised across the social networks, the knowledge base is enriched by creating a self-learning system. Based on the self-learning algorithms, Autobots will be able to provide better and more relevant replies to satisfy customer queries. Another aspect of the automation is, not only will the customer queries be satisfied by the Autobots but with the use of analytics companies will be able to – understand what the customer wants and also predict when they want thus increasing the customer satisfaction. The entire customer centric ecosystem is integrated to provide that experience - CRM and case management systems. Social connectors are used to automatically pull customer posts and to push resolutions on social networks.© Zensar Technologies 2012
  5. 5. Social Customer Service is not very different from the traditional channels, but it’s a more transparent channel for the rest of the world to see. By an effective use of the knowledge base and automation, customers will get the ‘Provable Wow Effect’ that companies strive to deliver. Automation is a way of providing the ‘Wow Effect’ but not the only solution, the world is still governed by human emotion. The only benefit is the lowering the various costs. For more information on how Social Customer Service can be automated for your organization please get in touch with the author. ZENSAR TECHNOLOGIES Zensar Technologies is among the top 20 software services providers from India. Zensars industry expertise spans across Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare, Banking Financial Services and Insurance. Zensar has more than 7000 associates with sales and operations presence across USA, UK, Europe, Middle East, South Africa, Singapore, China, Australia and Japan. The Company delivers comprehensive services in mission-critical applications, enterprise applications, e-business, BPO and Knowledge Services. The Company has developed tools and methodologies, including the proprietary Solution BluePrint (SBP), which enables its clients with innovative business solutions and a rapid go-to market capability. The Company supports Fortune 500 clients with software business solutions that help them compete in the digital economy. For more information write into© Zensar Technologies 2012