Back to the basics: social media

Business people talking social media

In the third of a four-part article series, Shama Kabani and Jennifer Wilson share their insights on various social media topics, broken down by alphabet. This week they take a look at the social media basic, from L to R.

In order to truly comprehend the power of social media, you need to grasp the basics before understanding how each affects the contact centre. To get started, remember the alphabet….

LIKE

Kabani: The power of this word has transformed in recent years due to social media. Users have the ability to express their likes and dislikes of a post by commenting on the post, reposting an item, or simply just ‘liking’ it.  The “Like” button  on Facebook for instance allows people to spread the word about your brand with thousands of people with the free, click of a mouse. Every piece of content on your website needs to incorporate a Like/Send option to increase your visibility and presence in the social media world.

Wilson: Contact centres can play a role in this area as well by providing good content through blogs, posts and discussion forums. By having key contributors from the contact centre providing tips & tricks, helpful service reminders, educational news, or product workarounds, customers get the chance to “like” that content which gives immediate feedback to the contact centre and to other customers. Eventually, those items that are liked the most can become self-service tools for the customers.

Multichannel Approach

Kabani: Chat, email, SMS, and traditional phone, are all common communication channels. People have different preferences on how they communicate and companies have to be aware and open to using these channels to better serve clients and attract prospects. The streamlining of managing these channels is also important in responding and prioritising communications. Social media has become one more channel added to this list. Do not underestimate the power of this communications channel for customer service opportunities, advertising, and sales generation. At the same time, make sure you have the resources available to respond to this channel just as you would any other channel.

Wilson: Social media in many ways is similar to other multi-channel communications brought into the contact centre. They may not be the traditional voice interactions, but they must be handled with the same awareness. Allowing your customer base to communicate with you in the way they prefer creates an increase in customer satisfaction. Streamlining all of these interactions into the contact centre takes it even further by responding in a timely and appropriate matter.

Network

Kabani: Reaching out to everyone you know to help spread your message is vital. Meeting people, even engaging with people you do not know personally is essential to building your brand and expanding your network in social media. Remember, in social networking the key is to make yourself valuable. So to facilitate that, think about offering something that builds a relationship with your customers where the come to you first as their valuable resource.

Wilson: From the contact centtr perspective, your colleagues and customers are your network. Setting up social sites helps you expand that network. Whether your individual agents have their own pages, or whether you implement specific pages for marketing and customer support, the agents monitoring these pages now have the opportunity to be part of the customer’s network. Use this to your advantage, and create more personalised relationships with your customer base through the social channel.

Outreach

Kabani: Use social media as a way to reach more people. Reach out to influencers or key figures in your industry.  Be aware of what is being said about your industry overall and share that information with your followers. Don’t be selfishly focused on promoting your own brand. Figure out ways to reach out and educate your followers in different ways. In addition, be aware of how much information about your company is reaching others. Negative posts can multiply based on retweets and reposts. Be aware of the influence of posts.

Wilson: Social sites will provide your contact centre agents with one more place to direct clients to for information. When communicating with your customers, make sure they are aware of your social presence. Encourage agents to become educated on you social plan and implementation, so they can promote this channel when working with customers.

People (THEY are the media!)

Kabani: People used to get their news and opinions from the paper, now there are tons of resources to get this information. From product reviews, to opinions, company feedback, etc., people are sharing this information, whether they are professional journalists or just everyday normal folks. This can be both a negative and positive thing, so your best option is to ensure that you are aware of what’s being said and establish your brand as a credible source early on to combat negativity.

Wilson: There are two sets of people to work with when implementing a social presence. The first being the customer, the second being the internal staff maintaining that presence. Being aware of what is being said is the first step, ensuring that your agents are responding in the best way possible is second. Be positive they are educated on how to best respond to different types of people, and when to post to social sites with responses, or when to escalate items to other channels.

Quality

Kabani: Consumers occupy the online space not just to exchange private details about their lives, but to also exchange and gather information. Because of the extensive amount of information available online, people now expect that each of their questions will be answered quickly and completely. Use your social presence as a medium that connects you and the consumer with correct and useful information. This helps to create a positive experience for the customer and improve overall service quality.

Wilson: Not every customer is the same. They all prefer different communication channels, different personalities to interact with, and at the end of the day they want to do business their way, getting to that information as quickly as possible. Social media is one of the fastest growing communication channels, and more and more of your customers will begin to explore it. Leverage their social pages as a learning tool for agents to better understand the customer they are talking to. Learn about their interests and personalities through the information they share to create a more personalised approach to customer service.

Response

Kabani: There is so much importance in taking note of not only customer complaints, but also just basic mentions. Simple replies back to a customer’s tweet or Facebook post can make them feel appreciated. Even more reason to monitor these items and know what is being said.

Wilson: Leverage the automation around your communications platform to make these responses quick and easy. Additionally, integrate this even further to track overall customer interactions. Having a consolidated look at how your customers interact with you across the board will serve as a great reporting and prioritisation tool. It is also important to recognise when and how to respond. Evaluate the overall sentiment of a post, or the influence of the person doing the post to determine the priority of your response. Social monitoring integration can help locate these high priority items, as well as assign them accordingly in the contact centre.