Tradeshows are like Scavenger hunts. You have a list of items to be found but inevitably along the way you discover something wonderful that you never imagined. At Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, I discovered a social media Angel.
The buzz around social technology is its transformational characteristics. Social media tears down barriers, boundaries and established social norms, and extends the reach well beyond the limits of email, voicemail, traditional publications and even video. Credited as the enabling force behind the Arab Spring or San Francisco’s mass transit BART protests, social media enables liked-minded individuals to self-organize. Businesses are finding that customer prefer to use social media in sharing their voice on brands, engage with employees, collaborate on best practices, and share their opinions.
The limitation of social media is text.
According to David Rennyson, “Social networks are a very anti-social place because it is all text based.” Text as the mode of communication has its limitations. Writing is not in everyone’s comfort zone, emotion cannot be adequately conveyed, and text doesn’t fully reveal the personality of the author. What is needed is voice – the verbal, audible kind.
At Dreamforce David Rennyson, President and COO of Angel, introduced Voice for Twitter and Voice for Facebook. Imagine the ability to send a Tweet or Wall post from your iPhone that includes a voice message. The application for these “voice transactions”, as David calls them, are endless. “Social media voice is not just for enterprises, the consumer has a real need for it,” said David. The use cases range from customer service representatives responding to a product questions posted on Twitter, to you leaving a birthday greeting on a friend’s Facebook wall.
The advantage of adding voice to the social experience is that it is a one-way voice print that can be analyzed. For enterprises with social customer contact centers, Angel’s voice transactions add a personal touch that otherwise couldn’t be achieved and the conversations can be analyzed and managed via metrics.
Angel short-circuits the whole annoying process of calling a company for help. If you’re like me, you’re loath to call Support. You’ll ping your friends, search the web, post questions on blogs, even go so far as to read the user manual; anything to avoid having to make ‘The Call’. The endless waiting, repeating your story multiple times to agents who may or may be able to help you, with the odds of getting a satisfactory resolution around fifty percent is a frustrating experience.
In a social customer contact center the use case for Angel’s Voice application is compelling. Imagine an agent sees a tweet about a product concern and responds with a Voice Tweet. The buyer clicks on the link and hears the agent’s response. Let’s say the buyer has a follow on question and replies via Twitter or decides to call the company by clicking on a link within the Tweet. Through Angel’s IVR system, the call or tweet reply is routed to the actual agent who responded to the original tweet. Voila, no more repeating the explanation and the company can proactively respond to your concerns long before your frustration hits the boiling point.
What distinguishes Angel’s Voice.com is its on-demand platform for building data aware voice user interfaces. Founded in 1999 with 1,500 customers today including Pfizer and Barnes & Noble, Angel has leveraged its deep experience in IVR, virtual call centers and multi-model business analytics to bring those capabilities to social media. Voice for Twitter and Facebook are free at www.voice.com. I skipped the introductory video and dove right in and sent my first voice Facebook post in 5 minutes; it’s that easy to use.
David offers a few best practices for sending voice tweets or posts: Summarize the key point of the voice message in the text of the Tweet/Post to give context, make the voice message personable and conversational, and keep the voice message short. While there is no limit to the length of any voice tweet you can leave, use the same etiquette as you would on voice mail – short and to the point.