Magazine article CRM Magazine

Integrating Social Media into Contact Centers

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Integrating Social Media into Contact Centers

Article excerpt

By now, most organizations know that customer service has grown beyond the traditional call center and into the realm of social media. In fact, social media has fundamentally altered customer service forever--from engagement to response times to capturing insight into support issues. But what steps do you need to take to incorporate social media as a core component of your overall contact center strategy?

Fortunately, with thousand of companies adopting this strategy, a bevy of best practices have been garnered. To that end, here are 10 key things your organization should think through when incorporating social media into their contact center:

1. IDENTIFY THE RIGHT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

It's critical to know exactly where your customers are choosing to communicate. Is it Facebook? Is it Twitter? Is it LinkedIn? As a first step focus your attention and resources on the sites where your customers frequent most.

2. FAMILIARIZE AGENTS WITH DIFFERENT SOCIAL CHANNELS

It may seem unnecessary, but just because someone has heard of Twitter or Facebook doesn't mean they have used it. And if they don't use it personally, they probably need help learning the 'language' of a particular channel as well as how to provide customer service on that medium.

3. SELECT THE AGENT MODEL

Specialist or generalist? There is no right answer. While some larger companies find it necessary to create dedicated agents, most contact centers may field agents that handle social media interactions alongside voice, chat and email.

4. OFFER SIMULATION TRAINING

Simulations or role-playing exercises are helpful for everyone: trainees can experience an actual interaction, so they can learn the steps, the information they will need, where to find that information, and most importantly gain confidence with the process. It's also helpful for the brand and trainer to see where someone may need extra help, where more information is needed or where another step should be added in the training process. Whether it is a single session or a series, simulations provide repetition. And as well all know, practice makes perfect.

5. ESTABLISH A BRAND "VOICE"

Whether it is "all business" or casual and friendly, set the standard for agents. Remember that agents should be consistent with the voice but need some flexibility. If not, all interactions run the risk of seeming canned and impersonal-- and that could make a customer think they are interacting with a bot. …

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