How to Integrate Social Media into Your Quality Monitoring Program


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With hundreds of millions of consumers using Social Media channels to engage with businesses and a reported 67 percent of Fortune 100 companies already using Twitter to respond to customer service inquiries, quality monitoring of Social Media interactions is becoming a top priority for all contact centers. Yet, very few guidelines exist as to how to integrate Social Media monitoring into existing practices. This article aims to outline the basic principles organizations need to consider as they begin to take advantage of this new customer channel.

The Contact Center Prerogative

As with any new channel, there is still some ambivalence about who should own the Social Media channel and how to integrate it into the enterprise’s existing communications structure. In a recent poll, sponsored by Envision, with over 100 call center managers, when asked about who should own the Social Media channel, the prevailing opinion (37%) was that the contact center should own the channel.

There are several options, but social media is above all a customer interaction channel and, out of the entire enterprise, that’s what the contact center knows how to do and does it well… handle customer interactions. The contact center knows how to staff for customer interactions and how to report and monitor their quality. In addition, statistics today show that the majority of the posts are customer service-related. With every new channel—from calls to email, web chat and self-service, the contact center has successfully evolved to handle customer interactions. Of course, as with any department in an organization, there needs to be support, exchange of subject matter expertise and integration from other departments; marketing, PR and product development among others.

In addition, companies are already exploring the Social Media channels for customer communication. In the same poll, more than 80% reported that they are either communicating with customers via Social Media, or have an initiative under way to do so.
When asked what extent Social Media quality monitoring and coaching is part of the strategy, results were the opposite. Only 23% of the respondents are in the process or have deployed a Social Media Quality Monitoring and coaching program. The rest either are still learning (61.6%) or have no plans to do so in the future.

The Unique Approach to the Social Media Channel

Undoubtedly, Social Media is becoming a key channel for contact centers. Yet, as with every new channel, it has unique features and a communications structure that demands a customized approach to quality monitoring and integration. In order to develop that effective approach, we need to first examine what the differentiators are that make social media such a unique communication channel.

The key difference of Social Media is that, unlike other channels, customers talk about you on sites across the internet instead of talking with you directly. This means that we need to engage ourselves proactively in conversations as opposed to our normal channels which are reactive. In addition, Social Media conversations are ongoing – they go back and forth and evolve as new customers join in. Therefore we must monitor the conversation over time, engage and know when to escalate as appropriate. That is when quality monitoring and coaching become vital for the contact center.

Quality Monitoring and Coaching for Social Media

How do you Integrate Social Media into your Quality Monitoring and Coaching Program? Case studies about successful integration of the Social Media channel into their Quality Monitoring programs are yet to be developed. However, while they need to understand the differences between this and other customer channels such as telephone, email and Webchat and make adjustments to their quality program such as customizing an evaluation form, they should follow many of the same best practices they have mastered for calls, email and Webchat. After all, this is just another customer interaction channel.

  1. Start by listing your goals and objectives for communicating in this channel. For example:
    • Acknowledge and resolve customer issues
    • Identify areas for improvement
    • Elevate customer satisfaction and loyalty
  2. Next, identify skills you can evaluate and coach to that will help you reach your goals. If acknowledging and resolving customer issues, identifying areas for improvement and elevating customer satisfaction and loyalty are your goals for this managing this channel then evaluating and coaching to the skills below should help you achieve your goals.
    • Provide Empathy
    • Ask probing questions
    • Actively listen
    • Identify customer issue(s)
    • Offer appropriate solution(s)
    • Educate customer on policies, procedures, services and product
    • Demonstrate positive written tone
  3. Develop an evaluation form specific to this channel
    • Take your most popular channels evaluation template, most likely calls, and identify the core skills that should remain on the form such as identifying customer needs, offering the appropriate solutions, demonstrating empathy etc.
    • Add skills that are specific to this channel. For Social Media these may be educating the contact agents on the appropriate usage and interpretation of electronic language in order to accurately gauge the tone of the conversation, or training them on abbreviations, monitoring for trending topics and more.
    • Evaluate, coach and report on Social Media interactions just as you would with your other channels.

Rewards of Integrating the Social Media Channel

The benefits of Social Media quality monitoring and coaching are not unique – they are the results and rewards of any contact center whose focus is on the customer:

  • Build customer loyalty: Communicating to customers in the channel of their choice gives enterprises the ability to build stronger relationships and react immediately to concerns.
  • Empower your workforce: This channel appeals to the lastest generational workforce. Generation X and the Millenials. These groups have grown up with Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. By Leveraging Social Media you can attract the talent of the next generation. Empowering these young professionals now and providing them with a challenging and rewarding environment will pay off as your workforce evolves.
  • Improve products, services and process: Social media gives you a unique opportunity to spot trends and proactively take action. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the customer has never been easier or more immediate. You also have the unique opportunity to demonstrate that your company is listening in a very personal and direct way.
Connie Smith
Envision consultant and President of SpotOn Enterprises, Connie Smith has been involved with contact center operations in various roles for more than 20 years, leveraging her extensive experience to help world-class contact centers such as Southwest Airlines, Staples, Starbucks, Microsoft, American Girl, Comerica Bank, Nordstrom, Alaska Airlines and SAFECO. Smith has written over 50 articles and white papers and has spoken at over 100 conferences worldwide offering her practical experience as a contact center leader and consultant.


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