The changing face of Contact Centres: Social Media Is Transforming Customer Service

This blog post was posted by one of the CCMA Social Media User Group members, David Cooper from Prudential Financial Inc.Social-Media -  The Changing Face of Contact Centres

David gives us an overview on how Social Media is becoming even more prevalent within organisations in their dealings with customers, meaning that we need to ensure that the necessary enablement is in place to properly serve these customers to their expectation. I'm sure we all remember the joys of dial up internet.  The iconic screeching sounds it made when connecting signified you were about to enter the mysterious World Wide Web.  Also, we all remember our first mobile phones, huge brick like lumps of technology only capable of the most basic of tasks, oh and if you were lucky a game of Snake!!  Thankfully rapid advances in technology have made connecting to the internet much faster and much more mobile. With smartphone's, tablets and easy access to the internet at home, work and on the road, consumers are more connected than ever.  Consumers want to engage with businesses when it's convenient for them, via the channel that's most convenient at that time.  With the new norm of 24/7 digital connectivity, customer service response time expectations have gone from days to just hours or minutes. Today's younger generation hasn't adopted technology as we have; they were born with it.  It's all they know.  It's natural for them to connect with each other using social media rather than actually having a conversation with someone.  When they get older and start interacting with businesses and organizations it's only natural to them to use social to get the service they require.  Some of the more forward thinking companies are already integrating social in their customer service activities, and more companies will follow suit in the near future.  It's too big to ignore and will only get bigger.  Your customers will be more than happy to voice their opinions of your company on social media and it makes more sense for you to be there to manage the situation effectively.  Depending on the size of the organisation and also the level of online customer interaction will determine how these social media conversations are dealt with.  This could range from having the advertising/marketing department deal with customer interactions or having a dedicated customer service agent to service social needs.  Either way it's important to create a dedicated customer service page or twitter handle to deal with these interactions and keep other pages or handles purely for your promotion needs.  This way your main social media pages will not be cluttered with customer service related issues giving a possible negative view for other users.

Customer service issues and complaints don't necessarily mean lost custom.  If the issue is managed effectively and quickly you can turn the situation into a positive by installing confidence in the brand. 

Nothing's perfect and there will always be customer complaints but if you can show that you were listening and resolve the issue quickly the consumer will have confidence that if something does go wrong, you will be there to help them out.  This is where the importance of a social media playbook can be highlighted.  The playbook is a document detailing all the possible customer service related issues that could arise and how to deal with them.   As we all know sometimes things don't go to plan and obscure issues can occur.   The document also has to have an up to date contact list of stakeholders within the organisation you can reach out to in order to deal with the situation.  The important thing is to be consistent across all platforms and conversations and convey the same overall brand message. The future contact center agent will have to be highly skilled and have the ability to take calls or respond to social media inquiries in real time, providing a multiplatform level of customer care. The customer chooses the way they want to communicate with a company, the company has to listen on all platforms and be ready to respond when required. Image kindly produced by