How to integrate social media into your contact centre

04 August 2017 by Anita Matthews

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According to the Dimension Data 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, digital interactions now account for 42% of all interactions in the contact centre, and this continues to grow.

Today’s customers expect multi-channel customer service on social media, and brands must ensure they can deliver a fast, effective customer experience across all channels. Contact centres must be ready to manage social media interactions, analyse social ROI and maximise team productivity, just as they would for more traditional channels. 

It can feel complicated but it doesn't need to be...

Customers won’t settle for impersonal, canned or scripted social media responses. They want to feel connected and engaged with your brand. They don’t care that your contact centre is inundated and already dealing with many other similar messages.  They want to feel their issue is being taken seriously and being dealt with. You need a way to provide a personalised social customer service response at scale. 

BT and Avaya research shows 70% of consumers expect a response on social media within 15 minutes.  Social is seen as an always-on contact channel for real-time support and assistance.

Integrating a social customer service tool such as Sentiment, into your contact centre will help you better manage volume, respond quickly, and ensure you don’t miss any important mentions or messages. Automations and smart workflows can help separate marketing messages from customer service enquiries and provide visibility within the contact centre about what’s happening on your social channels.

“Customers are demanding joined up support and integrating social into contact centres can help bridge the gap between customer services and marketing. Importantly though, integration doesn’t have to mean everyone in one room. The key is attitude and process –having the will to provide solutions at every touchpoint and processes that consider the customer as a person not a ticket number.”
(Dominic Sparkes, Co-founder and CEO, Tempero)

Is Social Media for marketing or customer service?

In many organisations there can be confusion over who owns social media. Marketing often initiates the use of social media but the internal set-up and support is often aimed at publishing promotional and brand content, rather than dealing with incoming customer service enquiries. 

At a very low volume of messages a marketing team may be able to monitor and field enquiries to the contact centre, but they can quickly become overwhelmed as volume grows.  There simply may not be the resources in place within a marketing team to monitor messages or have the level of knowledge to be able to respond effectively.

Brands in consumer-focused industries such as retail, leisure, transport, financial services are more likely to see a higher volume of social customer service requests and will therefore benefit the most from an integrated social customer service approach.

Social media in the contact centre

Jay Baer calls customer service the new marketing. He’s right. Providing customer support and assistance through highly visible social channels demonstrates your commitment to improving the customer experience.  When you respond effectively customers come to understand they can use your social channels to get their issue resolved.

Here are a few other reasons you’ll want to include social channels in your contact centre:

  • Improve response times. With customers expecting a response within 15 minutes, time is short for agents to make a positive impression. Having an integrated social engagement tool that has intelligent routing and automations enables you to prioritise comments on social channels by keyword or phrase to get to the most important mentions first.
  • Deliver immediate satisfaction feedback. Twitter Customer Feedback functionality enables quick and easy CSAT or NPS surveys to be sent to the customer at the end of the social interaction to gauge their level of satisfaction. These can then be benchmarked against your other channels to measure social customer service performance.
  • Measure agent productivity. Track and monitor the performance and efficiency of your social team in the contact centre by using online/offline statuses to help identify what offline time is being used for. Report on this and analyse it against other channels in your contact centre. The Sentiment social command centre provides contact centre managers with real-time visibility on all social metrics or KPIs.  
  • Reduce cost to serve. Every business wants to save money and moving customers from more traditional contact channels such as voice to social can help deliver savings. According to research from NM Incite, social interactions cost around a $1 per contact while phone support costs at least $6. But before encouraging customers to switch channels you must ensure you have processes and workflow set up to deliver a high-quality response, or you’ll risk leaving customers disappointed.

Focus on customer need

To succeed with social media integration, contact centres need to create a service culture based on customer need.  This means real dialogue and focusing on tailored customer service tools that enable the customer to use the channels best suited to them.

“Contact centres are no longer just call centres. Otherwise they would still be called call centres. A good contact centre allows customers to connect with them on multiple channels – and monitors social channels, looking for opportunities to help and engage with their customers.” Shep Hyken

Ensure successful social media integration into your contact centre

Adding social media to your contact centre can seem complex. There are new social channels appearing each and every day. Each has a slightly different user base and functionality. Here at Sentiment we’re experts in helping contact centres get on board with social media. Find out how we help reduce the cost to serve, improve response times and increase satisfaction – request a demo.

To help get you started, here’s an outline plan you can follow.

Step #1: Strategic Planning

Take a strategic approach to setting up and integrating social customer service to your contact centre.  Create a social customer service plan and ensure you align with your organisational goals which will no doubt include improved customer loyalty, advocacy, account growth, retention and higher sales.

  • Understand what you customers want and why they are contacting you. Using a social customer service tool with analytics functionality will help you build up a picture of your customer behaviour on social and help you manage resources.
  • Define staged success criteria and ensure they are realistic for your current situation.
  • Work with the resources you have and demonstrate success before requesting additional resources.

Step #2: Connect your CRM

As social media has become more important as an inbound support channel, it makes sense to integrate this with your CRM to provide the most complete view of your customer. Obviously, it’s attractive to provide all your support from one tool. But, there is a balancing act between the convenience of getting your social engagement capabilities from your existing CRM tool, and getting all the capabilities you need from a dedicated social customer service platform which can integrate to your CRM.

Benefits of a dedicated social customer tool such as Sentiment include:

  • Automated routing of mentions to specific agents or teams based on workflow criteria. Without sufficient automations to route mentions to the right team, and approval workflows to ensure the right responses are sent, you could end up missing complaints on your main brand account, and have marketing and sales enquiries going to your support account and wasting agent time.
  • Monitoring mentions outside of Twitter or Facebook. If you are a retailer then you will need to monitor and engage on Instagram. The right social customer service platform will let you add all these different social sites, and route into one unified inbox to allow you to handle the customer in a consistent way regardless of social site they choose to engage on.
  • Collecting indirect mentions. Not all customers will remember to use your brand @handle. Without this ability, you may miss important comments or mentions.

Step #3: Build your social team

Your social agents will be at the forefront of your customer service experience. They create and protect your brand image on very public channels.  It’s key to invest in building your social customer care team with a training and support programme as well as a tool that helps them deliver a high-quality service. Social contact centre teams need to be empowered to deal with a huge variety of issues in a personal and efficient way.

  • Create clear guidelines for them to follow on how to respond and when to escalate issues.
  • Provide a playbook with real life examples showing them how to respond to specific types of questions or issues.
  • Use a social customer service tool with approval loops to help with training and feedback and provide control over the consistency of replies.

Step #4: Analyse and report

Dimension Data research found that 53% of contact centres think analytics will be the most influential in reshaping the industry over the next five years, yet four out of ten do not have the tools to analyse data.  Ensure you can measure and report on your social customer care data to help improve the customer experience.

  • Use a social customer service tool with built-in analytics to understand what customers are happy or unhappy about.
  • People often use social media to vent frustrations about how they’ve been treated on other channels. Use this information to make improvements to other contact centre channels.
  • Analyse volume peaks to help you manage your contact centre staffing requirements and determine how many agents you need online and when.

Try our blog: Using social customer care data to improve revenue for more tips on how to get the most from your social data.

Learn more about how the Sentiment platform helps contact centres integrate social customer service quickly and efficiently – request a demo.

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Tags: Integrated social customer service, Social CRM, How to integrate social media into the contact cen, Social Media Engagement