This is the third in a series of blog posts focused on creating a customer service social media strategy. The first entry talked about the social media customer service experiment. The second post in the series provided detailed guidance on building a social media communications strategy for your organization and customer service or contact center. This post provides tactical guidance for integrating and managing social media in the contact center process flow.
Integrating Social Media Into Contact Center Workflow
September 12, 2011
As predicted, marketing organizations, which have insisted on owning the social media channel since its inception, have begun to dump the responsibility for responding to their company’s social media traffic on contact centers. While the shift is abrupt, the outcome is right. Customer service and contact centers are ideally positioned to be the focal points for social media interactions, just as they are for all other types of customer communications. Of course, marketing, product development, the executive suite and many other enterprise departments must agree to support the contact center with essential information and resources on a timely basis. (DMG recommends that contact centers create and get sign-off on service level agreements with enterprise departments in order to ensure response time commitments. We also suggest that there be a “hot line” from the contact center social media group to each of these departments, and that presence be used to find the right experts. This, however, is a discussion for another blog post.)
Now that social media interactions are arriving in contact centers, there must be a way to record, track and manage them from arrival through closure. The system used to manage customer inquiries in most organizations is called a customer relationship management (CRM) or customer tracking solution. The question is how to get social media interactions logged into the CRM and then delivered to the right agent on a timely basis. The answer is to use the automatic call distributor (ACD) to do the work.
Here’s how it works. The public is using a growing number of social media channels, including tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn messages, blog comments, reviews, etc. While a couple of these channels are directed at your organization, the rest are released into cyber-space for the edification of any interested party. Your organization needs to be one of those parties if consumers are talking about you. Use a text analytics application to identify and filter social media interactions in order to find the ones that require attention. These should be fed into your ACD. Once in the ACD, the communications can be tracked and routed to the right agent via computer telephony integration (CTI). The strength of this approach is that it works. The challenge is that the processing creates a certain amount of latency. However, without automation, contact center agents will have to scan the Web to find relevant feedback or just sit idly by waiting for a tweet, Facebook post, or other directed comment. So, while the ACD approach is not perfect, it is currently the most efficient method for managing your social media queue and ensuring that feedback is received and handled by the appropriate resources on a timely basis.
I invite you to email me and let me know what you think about this approach. Have you tried it, and is it working for your organization?
Donna Fluss is the founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, the leading provider of contact center and analytics research, market analysis and consulting. She is the author of The Real-Time Contact Center, the Contact Center Executive and Management Briefing, the Contact Center QA Guide, the PC-DSS Guide, and many other leading industry reports on contact center hosting, UC, dialing, IVR, speech analytics, performance management, workforce management, surveying, QA/recording and contact center analytics. Contact Donna at email@example.com.