Over the past 10 years, technology has been the catalyst for huge change in the contact center. But social media may just be the biggest impact yet. Social Media has now put the customer in a place of control that he or she has never had before – and forward-thinking contact centers are either already engaged or are creating strategies for how they will play in this new customer channel. Through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs and other social media channels, customers can now tell the world about their latest experience with your brand. As a customer, I no longer tell just 9 people about a poor experience. Toda,y it is multiplied at a rate that is somewhat unsettling.
Time Magazine’s TechLand website recently reported that a single post on Facebook, sent to “Friends of Friends”, has an average reach of more than 156,569 viewers. Even if you remove the high-end users like Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga, the median reach for the post is still 30,000. Imagine the power associated with a single customer being able to tell 30,000 people about a recent call to your center that did not quite meet expectations.
While speaking at a conference recently, I was asked by a contact center leader if social media really mattered as much as I said it did. He argued that he received more than 40,000 calls a day into his center and that he only received about 5 to 10 social media interactions. I believe his comment was, “Those kind of numbers make me believe that you are blowing this way out of proportion.” In reality, there was probably a lot more out there than he realized. I learned later that he was just counting those posts that were received directly to the company social sites of Facebook and Twitter. With the right technology, he could instead look across the Internet — searching blogs, Tweets, comments, etc. — to see what is really being said about his brand. I can only assume that his perspective would change if he had that information. But the bigger “aha” may be buried in that original number of 5 to 10 posts multiplied by 30,000. Does he really want 30,000+ people seeing a negative story about his brand with no process or technology in place to respond? Probably not.
So what is the answer? The first step is to decide if your contact center is ready to lead the charge and handle yet another channel. Step two is to engage your Marketing team to share the numbers above and begin the joint discussion to understand how your contact center can help manage the interactions – in the same manner your center handles phone, email and chat. Obviously this new channel will take a special agent or group to make the critical decisions required to know when to respond and how. But if you think back, contact centers conquered the special requirements of email and it is possible to conquer the special attributes of a social media agent also.
If you are a contact center leader, perhaps the most important impact of creating a social service center is the impact it will have on your career. For years the marketing department has come to the table asking for concise information about the customer. If you own Social, you will now have a new level of customer data. And your seat at the table will become much more relevant in the organization.