Social Care: An Emerging Contact Center Imperative

The main objective of a customer care strategy is to effectively support and communicate with your target audience to solve problems and build long-lasting relationships. Therefore, it is critical that contact centers leverage emerging trends in the customer care space to provide the highest quality and most accessible customer support.

Today, social media has emerged as a communication channel in which nearly everyone uses in one capacity or another—just consider the compelling statistics. According to research from Pew Internet, 74% of online adults use social networking sites, as of January 2014.

While the majority of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter users are active on social networking sites to keep up with friends and family, many of them are leveraging these social networks for customer care. According to a study from Parature 35 percent of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they’ve asked a customer care questions via social media.

What’s more, in the past social media was a nice-to-have communication channel, however, it’s now turned into a must-have customer care channel. According to a different supporting study from HubSpot, when asked what social media presence they expect for a brand, the majority of consumers said they expect brands to be active on at least three to four social channels.

As the statistics show above, social media will continue to be a channel in which consumers use to communicate with brands. That being said, it’s crucial for your business to provide effective social care to establish your business as a customer care leader in your respective industry.

To avoid falling behind make social media care a priority for your business that is if you haven’t already. In doing so, you’ll be able to reach more consumers and ensure your brand remains on the cutting edge of customer care.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Merging Marketing and Customer Care Goals for Social Media Success

Social media platforms, when they were in their nascent stages, were primarily used for connecting with friends and family in the digital realm. They served as places to communicate and keep abreast of updates and developments in your peers’ lives on a daily basis.

Due to the frequency with which people began to use social media, it soon became a hub for brands to connect and engage with their consumers as well. Nowadays, social media is an essential marketing tool that helps brands stay top of mind to consumers.

Furthermore, the ubiquity of social media usage and its power to engage consumers has created a new way for companies to provide customer care support as well. For instance, a consumer might describe his or her question over a tweet and that company’s customer care representatives could respond to the tweet with a solution.

As such, marketing executives and customer care leaders are joining forces under the social media umbrella to provide customers with a robust brand experience and around-the-clock support. What’s more, doing so over social media means that your audiences’ eyes can always remain on your interactions with other customers. In other words, merging marketing and customer care initiatives to create a social media strategy means that brands can simultaneously stimulate brand awareness and build a positive reputation known for providing superior customer care support.

And while integrated marketing solutions are becoming a cornerstone for the future of customer care, it’s important that contact center leaders don’t forget what makes for a truly personal and memorable connection between brand and consumer: human interaction.

So when you are building out your new integrated customer care strategy, don’t let digital channels overtake your bread-and-butter service offering of phone-based support. When communicating over digital channels always encourage your customers to connect with a live Communicator who is on the line and ready to flesh out the question or concern in real-life rather than through text.

Go ahead and get social (we are at InfoCision, connect with us!) but don’t stray too far away from the practices you know to be the most impactful.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Derive Insights From Your Customers’ Social Media Conversations

Today’s consumers are verbose, but not necessarily over the phone. Rather, your customers openly share, sometimes brutally, their honest feedback on your brand’s quality of customer care across a multitude of social media outlets.

With that said, businesses ought to cast an eye toward the conversations that are continuously unfolding on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Your consumers are likely to share positive reviews about their customer care experiences; however, aggregated research confirms that they are even more likely to share negative brand experiences.

As such, it’s vital that you stay informed on the tone and context of their conversations about your brand so that you can appropriately adjust your customer care strategy. And, due to the fact that not all of your clientele will share their honest thoughts during a customer care phone call or even participate in a survey, you need to make sure you can garner insights from outside sources.

Case in point, do you read through Tweets sent your way and purposely track the number of times they are shared? It’s important to heed the advice that your consumers are posting in plain sight. For instance, perhaps you notice a Tweet that’s portrayed your customer care agents in a negative light. To make matters worse, this particular post received a slew of comments—all of which appear to substantiate the original complaint. There a few ways you can leverage this social media conversation and turn it into actionable data.

First, you must immediately share this information with your agents so they can correct the offending behavior(s). In so doing, you’ll level the playing field. Second, you must respond to your consumers. Owning up to your customer care missteps and making a promise to provide improved services in the future will assure your consumers that you’re listening to their concerns and keeping them top of mind.

Sometimes we need to look at information outside the contact center to make effective improvements from within. So what are you waiting for? Start scrolling through your news feeds!

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Social Media Spend Increasing, Along With its Importance

Social media is now a valuable part of any successful multichannel marketing solution—the evidence is in the numbers. For example, an amazing 92 percent of marketers now believe social media is important for their business, according to Hubspot.

Considering the above stat it should come as no surprise that social media spending is on the rise among businesses; in fact, a new Business Insider study found that spending in the US increased from $6.1 billion in 2013 to $8.5 in 2014 and will reach $14 billion by 2018. Social sites are marketing and customer service vehicles unto themselves, as organizations can use them to answer product questions, promote new offerings and better mitigate service issues. But social media acts as a common consumer touch point that drives interactions across a wide variety of other channels, as well.

For instance, a customer may tweet a question to an organization that is too complex to answer in 140 characters. But, just like on any other channel, consumers don’t prefer or expect to wait for a response from a vendor, especially regarding pressing customer service issues. So, having an employee dedicated to monitoring a social account for these questions is critical to ensure the consumer is redirected to the appropriate channel to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Of course, once that redirection occurs, it is imperative that the first agent that picks up the phone, answers the email or responds to the text message is able to resolve the issue without transferring the consumer to another channel or employee. To meet that challenge, companies must keep current with advanced interactive technology like:

  • Skills-based call routing that ensures calls are directed to a Communicator with the skills and training to resolve a problem or answer an inquiry both quickly and effectively
  • Email and fax on-demand that integrates email, chat and fax into a contact center at the touch of a button
  • IVR solutions that increase the likelihood that a call is handled optimally

No matter how your organization currently uses social media, you should keep in mind that its impact goes beyond the social sites themselves. Click here for more information about InfoCision’s interactive call center technologies.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.