Independent Contact Center Consultants: Bridging Strategy, Technology and Operations Since 2004

Contact Center Technology Meets Social Media

filter inbound social media for customer contactSocial media can leverage many of the same technologies that support other contact center channels. Yet unlike traditional channels, most of the action on social networks revolves around the often casual exchange of information between individuals, their friends and family, communities, and organizations. As a result, we need something more from the technology to support this environment.

On the “inbound” side, organizations use social media monitoring and analytics tools to can sift through an ocean of posts to find the useful insights and action items. For the (relatively few) posts that require customer care, companies need to reach out to the originators, leveraging familiar contact center tools along with social media-specific workflow tools. As with other channels, social media should factor into performance management processes and technologies.

Here’s a quick look at social media requirements for various tools:

Technology Social Media Considerations
Multi-Media Routing and Reporting (MMR&R) Route social media under specified conditions to agents with appropriate skills, and then report on performance. Generally requires real-time or near real-time response. MMRR can also leverage response libraries for common inquiries (e.g., those used for email and/or chat).
Self Service Add community input as a source of self service information through forums and other public interactions.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) Integrate information from social media contact to impact routing, screen pops, and/or information capture.
Outbound Dialing Contact customers whose messages indicate a conversation is required to address issues. Triggering these calls requires customer-supplied numbers or mapping into customer database through another identifier.
Workforce Management Forecast volume and handle time on social contacts that require customer care. Leverage “what if” models to assess potential impact of “viral” activity driving unexpected volume.
Quality Monitoring Apply QM processes to social media interactions consistent with other text contacts (e.g., email, chat).
Voice of the Customer Incorporate potentially high volume of unsolicited customer experience input using social media assessment tools.
Analytics Leverage social media search and analysis tools to drive insights and actions based on trends, competition, etc.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Capture social contacts for trending, interaction history, customer profiles, and cross-channel insights.
Knowledge Management (KM) Use KM for social media responses and add content based on social media activity.
Instant Messaging/ Presence Tap Marketing in real-time as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and collaborators on trends, updates and proactive communication

The technology can be procured from contact center or specialty vendors and be deployed as stand-alone or integrated with your contact center applications. You’ll need to work with other departments (e.g., marketing, public relations) to ensure that everyone gets what they need. Collaboration is a hallmark of social media success.

As you prepare to engage in your corporate social media program, you’ll need to develop a plan with a technology strategy to enable it. Consider:

  • Which elements of social media activity your center will engage in and how it fits with what marketing or others are or will be doing
  • How social media impacts and works with your current channels and technology
  • The tools you already own and what your existing vendors offer
  • The gaps you need to fill to meet all requirements
  • The role(s) that each tool will play

Of course, the best tools in the world won’t get the job done if you haven’t got the people and processes in place to leverage them. With a strong technology blueprint, you’ll have a foundation for serving your social customers in excellence.