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Social Media in the Contact Centre?

mplsystems.sussanah.richardson.image.2014Article by Susannah Richardson, www.mplsystems.co.uk

Social media is having a major impact on the customer service industry and has transformed how and where customers are looking for help and advice, providing both significant challenges and major opportunities for businesses. In just a small space of time, social media customer service adoption has majorly changed; 62% of brands are replying to questions and comments on social media in 2013 opposed to 30% in 2012. However organisations are still not providing the level of service customers are expecting which is causing a major gap between customer demand and business capability.

Research found that the average Twitter response time for the top 100 US retailers was a staggering 11 hours and 15 minutes….just 10 hours and 15 minutes more than what customers are expecting. To address these challenges, mplsystems highlight a number of key areas that businesses should consider when looking at their social customer service strategy.
Prioritise social media enquiries alongside other channels

With contact centres adopting more and more channels for customer support, the complexity of managing these channels increases. As a result social media is often the channel that is left behind, being seen as less important than voice and email. mplsystems suggest implementing a system that enables the contact centre to successfully prioritise and route channels, including voice, email, web, fax, SMS and social media, into one universal queue. This avoids using several different systems, causing complexity for the agent and allows social customer requests to be prioritised by importance rather than by channel.

Make the most of your team with blended agents

Many contact centres still manage their agents in teams according to channel rather than expertise/skill. This is having huge impact on customer satisfaction as customers are expecting to be able to seamlessly transition from one channel to another, which siloed teams are unable to achieve. By providing multi-channel communication in a single queue, the agent is able to effectively manage social media alongside other channels and is provided with a single view of the customer.

Set your customers’ expectations

Make sure your customers know when to expect Twitter responses by communicating opening times; 57% of customers think that a brand’s customer service response time should be the same on the weekdays and weekends. When implementing a social customer service strategy, decide when this channel is available to customers and make sure it is clearly communicated.

Make sure using social media benefits the contact centre and doesn’t end up increasing the agents work load

Adding a social media channel in to the contact centre has its benefits, but companies need to be careful they aren’t increasing the workload for their agents by not utilising the channel effectively. Research found that 40% of customers who weren’t able to get their issue resolved ended up calling the companies contact centre.

Differentiate yourselves against your competitors

Adoption of social media as a customer service channel is increasing and becoming a great way to create competitive advantage. Make sure you watch what your competitors are doing and to ensure you stand out against them and get people talking. A great example that hit the news earlier this month was @Argos Helpers and their customer service Twitter exchange regarding the new PS4. At the time of writing, the conversation had received over 9,576 retweets and over 5,500 favourites.

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