Monitoring is So Yesterday – Customers Demand Problem Resolution via Social Media


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The role of social media for business is rapidly evolving. Through 2011, most companies were just using social channels for marketing. This was the era of Social Customer Response, where businesses would only identify customer complaints and requests on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms.

But consumers were quick to demand more, expressing dissatisfaction with Social Customer Response, which frequently forced them into traditional offline interaction channels involuntarily when seeking problem resolution. To stay competitive, businesses now need to engage in resolving social inquiries, without dragging customers to offline channels or making them wait for a delayed response.

In a recent survey, we learned that 1 out of 3 consumers prefer social customer care to offline channels. This number continues to grow each year with social quickly becoming the preferred method of contact for nearly every demographic. Customer care experts have even predicted the demise of the phone channel, which will eventually become as obsolete as the dinosaur method of email. Customers cite 2 primary reasons why they prefer social customer care over these past methods of customer interaction: 1) I did not have to talk on the phone; 2) I received my answer quickly. Blame social media, which has raised the bar in resolution to customer issues.

In the past, customers would send a support request via email and be pleased with a response in 4-24 hours. This timeframe has been deemed unacceptable by modern standards, where half of respondents to a recent Oracle survey expect a response within 2 hours of posting. On industry best campaigns, consumers receive initial responses to threaded social media interactions within 15 minutes. When the goal of a customer service interaction being efficient and effective customer resolution, social channels are second to none.

So what’s next in customer care now that social has taken the industry by storm? Mobile will play an even greater role in customer care in the foreseeable future. We’ve already seen the dawn of the “Digital Natives” generation – who prefer to conduct all online interactions through mobile devices and have a preference for self-service whenever possible. To respond to this alteration in customer preference, brands will need to do a better job of addressing the immediacy afforded by social media resolution on mobile, and also need to deliver optimized experiences that enable a seamless escalation to human assistance when self-service applications prove inadequate.

So how can brands excel in the customer service marketplace by providing their customers exactly the type of service that they’re looking for? Here are the top five tips for success with a social customer care resolution program:
• Know your audience. It is essential for all brands to know which channels their specific customers are most likely to use, and to then excel at providing great service via that channel.
• The omnichannel approach is critical. Customers involuntarily forced from their desired channel are dissatisfied.
• Solve the omnichannel technology challenge with a unified text queue and a social response platform. Don’t assume the best technology solution for marketing is applicable in the contact center.
• Develop a secure resolution strategy, with escalation via a secure channel such as live chat to prevent needless cross-channel escalations to legacy voice channels.
• People make the difference. Consistent and flawless execution comes from hiring digitally savvy agents and providing proper training. And, don’t overlook the value of excellent text based communication skills.

David Hisaw
David Hisaw is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for leading global provider of BPO services Sitel. He is responsible for the overall IT strategy and solutions implementation for the company, where his specific responsibilities include handling IT strategy development & execution as well as overseeing client solutions, PMO, applications development, and channel partner management.


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