We have enjoyed our recent collaborative efforts with prominent social strategist and evangelist, Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, and today, we strengthened our partnership with her even further. At CRM Evolution 2012 in New York City, I was fortunate to host a session with her on “Social Customer Service: The Pivotal Driver of the Social Enterprise.”
At the beginning of the session, we asked the audience a question that many companies ask themselves: Who actually owns social media? Is it the marketing, PR, sales, or communication department? We followed that question up with more questions: What if those departments worked together in identifying, engaging with, and retaining social customers? And what if the customer service department was the driver of the social customer? LiveOps, itself, challenges customer service to take the lead in creating a cross-functional team to turn social customer service into a strategic asset and differentiator for the company.
My colleague, Sanjay Mathur, stated in his last blog post that in order for organizations to take on this radically new breed of customer – the social customer – they, too, need to make a radical change. That change is collaboration. Internal teams must work together, more now than ever before, to deliver customer service the way customers want it. This means marketing, PR, sales, and communication departments need to coordinate effectively with customer support to ensure customer issues are managed properly. In turn, customer support needs to make sure they are tightly integrated with the influx of customer feedback on social channels. If the relationship between departments is efficient, and they are armed with the right technology and process to work together to manage customer interactions residing in the contact center, customers become happier and the company becomes happier.
August 13, 2012 • By LiveOps, Inc.
Tags — Barton Goldernberg, Cloud Contact Center, contact center, CRM, CRM Evolution, CRMe, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Service, ISM, social crm, Social Media
It’s a beautiful day in New York City, and we’re here attending the first day of sessions at CRM Evolution 2012. This event brings together customer relationship management (CRM) gurus and focuses on ways to improve how companies interact with customers. The reason we are more enthusiastic than ever to attend this year’s event is its focus on social. If you’re in the business of customer service, you understand the impact social has on consumers and the companies they engage with. It’s not a passing fad, but a “New Era,” which is an important topic we’ve been talking about since earlier this year when we added Facebook integration to LiveOps Social.
This morning, I had the opportunity to sit in on ISM Founder and President Barton Goldenberg’s presentation on “The New Era of CRM” and wanted to share my thoughts coming out of it. Barton explained that in order for CRM to be successful, companies must not only integrate people, process, and technology together to maximize relationships with customers. They must now also integrate social. Meaning, if they don’t up-level from the traditional CRM customer touch points and leverage the social customer touch point, others will.
Barton spent most of the session discussing how companies can gain customer insight by the tremendous listening capability now available through social channels. The challenge, however, exists in turning listening and intelligence into actionable engagement. This is where the power of many comes in. The cloud contact center has the resources, people, and might to engage with customers in a holistic way. Customers want options not only in their purchasing decisions but also in the way they interact with brands. Point solutions like traditional CRM or social CRM alone don’t always allow consumers to interact with a brand on the channel they prefer. We do.
Through the LiveOps Platform, we have blended the perfect mix of traditional CRM and social CRM into the customer service cloud contact center to increase satisfaction, drive loyalty, and create brand advocates for life. By doing so, LiveOps is powering a “New Era of CRM” where customers and brands engage in a two-way, real-time interaction on the consumer’s channel of choice. Say hello to the new the face of customer service.
One question dominated recent discussions in a Linkedin group I follow: “What department owns social media?” Most chime in with “marketing” or “public relations,” but it turns out this is the wrong question altogether.
“That’s like customer service asking marketing if they can use the phone to make a call,” industry expert Michael Pace told me. “Social media is a tool, not a function.”
Instead, companies should ask how you can deliver social media to those who need it, when they need it. Many automated social listening tools provide big-picture analysis, such as customer sentiment and keyword trends. But what about messages that require an immediate response, like customer service?
More than half of Twitter users expect a response within two hours of tweeting a complaint.
51% of Facebook users expect same-day response.
- Oracle report, Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012
Customer support software developers, including LiveOps, have developed tools to solve this problem. Here’s how this technology turns social media listening into customer service action.
Prioritization is Key
As mentioned, one of the most difficult parts of socialized customer support is fishing out the most critical comments among the masses of information out there.
To overcome this challenge, LiveOps listens for any combination of the #CompanyName, @CompanyName or brand mention with customer service triggers like “help” or “need assistance.”
Then the technology applies a priority ranking based on a variety of factors, such as content, customer’s purchase history, and social activity level. A computer manufacturer company might, for example, place higher value on a key social media influencer or brand advocate who recently purchased ten laptops, and bump his help request to the top of the queue.
This priority scale completely depends on the company’s customer service strategy. At the same time, the provider should provide a dictionary of various prioritization options.
Service Needs to be Agile
“It’s important that all channels are treated with the same level of depth. This allows agents to easily pivot between each channel without any change in service.” – Sanjay Mathur, LiveOps Senior Vice President, Product Management.
Another common obstacle to efficient social customer service is process. If a complaint is submitted on Twitter, what’s the next step? Create a ticket? Respond in Twitter with a link? Send an email?
Not only does this make it difficult to respond quickly, it also provides a poor customer experience. LiveOps processes social media issues in the same way as tickets from any other channel. Once the social media complaint is identified, the software creates a ticket that shows up in the service queue along with requests from other channels. When they respond, it’s automatically pushed to Twitter, email or whatever channel makes sense in that situation.
Context is Crucial
If a community or social media manager is manually monitoring Twitter and Facebook, they won’t have the complete customer context on hand. As a result, they likely won’t flag a complaint as critical if the customer called the hotline, emailed three hours ago, and then tweeted, of example. They simply wouldn’t know their past points of contact. Similarly, they wouldn’t be able to identify loyal and high-value customers that might warrant a faster response than others.
Automated Routing Speeds Response Time
LiveOps also uses a rules-based interface to automate social message routing. The system can be configured to consider agent expertise, work group, current caseload, average time to respond, and service satisfaction rate. The platform might, for example, choose a top service-rated agent to handle a strongly negative issue.
Reporting tools also enable managers to constantly monitor response time, net promoter scores, satisfaction rates and more so they can fine-tune process and prioritization rules.
Research for this article was provided by Software Advice.
August 02, 2012 • By LiveOps, Inc.
Tags — cloud, Cloud Contact Center, contact center, contact center agent, Customer Service, customer support, customer support agents, LiveOps, multichannel, social crm, social customer service, Social Media, social media call center, social media contact center, social media support
Social media is disrupting customer care in ways that are both profound and difficult to predict. Not only do contact centers need to effectively manage voice, email, SMS, and chat traffic, they’ve also got to deal with tweets, wall posts, likes, dislikes, pins, blog comments, etc. This is an ever-expanding list of social media message types that grow in volume by the day. In short, the contact center is moving from merely chaotic to completely insane.
Until recently, contact center owners have had no choice but to deploy new social media monitoring systems that have no relationship with existing (and already disparate) contact services. Due to this, contact centers are becoming unmanageably complex, and customer support agents are being pigeonholed into unnatural specialties based on media channel type.
Fortunately, new technology solutions are emerging to address these problems. If you are in the market for new contact center technology, you should consider a vendor that supports all of the contact channels you need now and plans to expand coverage of new channels as they emerge. There are many reasons for this, and I’ll cover five of them here.
1) Support for Cross-channel Pivot Scenarios
Detecting social media activity related to your brand is important, but it’s only the first step; that initial @reply or direct message may not be enough to address the customer’s issue. You will need the ability to “pivot” from public forums like Twitter and Facebook to more private, interactive channels like voice or email. For example, you might want to provide a link in your direct message that generates a voice callback from a contact center agent, who then can directly address the problem surfaced in the original tweet.
Implementing the channel pivot capability using several disparate customer contact systems (one for voice, one for social media, etc.) can be incredibly challenging, but these scenarios are supported very naturally in an integrated customer engagement environment.
2) Keeping Up With Changes in the Social Media Landscape
Twitter and Facebook support are obvious requirements of any contact center solution now, but several years ago this wasn’t the case. Pinterest went from an unknown service to the 4th largest social network within months. Conversely, MySpace, the preeminent social network prior to the Facebook explosion, has gradually settled into near-irrelevance.
Social networks emerge, grow, contract, and explode in unpredictable ways; because of this, contact centers need to align themselves with innovative vendors that are focused on the ever-shifting tides of the social media waters. At LiveOps, we have developed a social media connector architecture that allows us to quickly connect to new social networks and use new capabilities of existing social media networks. For example, we recently added the ability to route new tweets to agents based on location data.
3) Providing a Unified Agent Experience
There’s no good reason that a contact center agent should need to use more than one desktop tool to service customers across different contact channels. In fact, switching between applications and browser windows can seriously impact an agent’s effectiveness. Because of this, convergence of desktop applications is often a high-priority IT goal.
Contact center technologies that support multiple contact channels have the opportunity to provide a consistent, rational user experience across those channels. In the case of LiveOps, contacts from multiple channels are displayed and manipulated using the same basic visual tools, with some special channel-specific tools displayed as appropriate (for example, ability to choose @reply vs. direct message when responding to a tweet). Also, agents can decide to service the customer using the original contact channel, or pivot to a more appropriate channel for the context.
4) Reporting Across All Engagement Channels
Historical reporting and real-time monitoring are among the most important functions of any contact center solution. Unfortunately, these reporting and monitoring needs are very difficult to satisfy in a multi-vendor environment. At the most basic level, matching customer and interaction records makes any data rationalization project problematic and often expensive, involving weeks or months of consultant time.
This is one area in which multichannel solutions shine brightest. Since all customer contacts are managed by the same platform, data is consistent by default. There is no need to spend time and money merging cross-channel interactions or customer records. With LiveOps, an agent or supervisor can see a customer’s cross-channel contact history instantly in a contact center dashboard, enabling a more engaged, effective customer experience.
5) Cross-channel Application Development
For every new technology a contact center implements, IT developers and consultants must take a new programming interface into account. Implementing voice call, email, and Twitter processing separately forces the IT application developer to write applications using three different APIs. This leads to higher development costs and longer time to deployment.
Compare this to a multichannel vendor with a single, consistent API. While developing a new CTI-driven application, for example, the application developer is also learning elements of the API that will be applied when integrating with the Twitter or chat channels. The contact center IT staff can build up knowledge of a single platform and apply it many times over.
As you evaluate vendors for your next social media contact center project, be sure to ask the question: “How can your product make my life easier?” If the answer doesn’t include simplification through multichannel support, you should really keep looking.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to team up with Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, a prominent social strategist and evangelist, in hosting a webinar on social customer service. As if this webinar wasn’t exciting enough, she also worked with LiveOps on a white paper – “Social Customer Service: The Pivotal Driver of the Social Enterprise” – and infographic – Your Brand on Social Media. Together, we explored a radically new breed of customer, the social customer, and how enterprise organizations must also make a radical transition to manage their social customers more effectively.
In putting together our infographic, we found that 60% of companies don’t respond to customer comments on social channels. This number seems surprising at first until you realize that, while companies may be on social channels thanks to marketing, they can’t keep up with the amount of customer comments on these channels. Now that brands have gone social, they need to go beyond using social channels to market and monitor; they need to interact with consumers to drive greater engagement. Additionally, brands are still determining which internal team should handle these comments – marketing, sales, product development, back offices, or customer service. To effectively manage social customers, these departments need the right technology and process to work together to manage these interactions residing in the contact center.
In turn, our integration of social media in the cloud contact center can enable you to better manage and engage with the social customer. Through LiveOps Social on the LiveOps Platform, we make it easy for you to manage, measure, and respond to your customers online with the same routing, quality control, efficiency, and reporting needed for other channels, such as voice, email, and chat. Your customers are telling your company’s story on their social channels, and it’s time you joined them.
I encourage you to take a few moments to read over Dr. Petouhoff’s white paper or grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and watch our webinar to find out more about:
- The rapidly evolving role of Customer Service and the expansion of this critical role to include collaboration with PR, Communication, Marketing, and Sales.
- The myriad of challenges in managing today’s Social Customer Service, including the struggle to keep pace with the volume of customer interactions.
- The value of a Contact Center – Marketing partnership and the inherent value in creating one central hub for servicing social customer interactions.
When you’re done, we’ll help you take your online presence from the top to the bottom of our infographic.