Plan for Social Media Today

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Which one of us isn’t “tweeting”, blogging, posting on Facebook, texting, or handling a lifeline also known as a smart phone? That’s what I thought.  Have you seen the campaigns to text 55555 to ABC Corp for X service?  It doesn’t take an industry analyst or expert to know that social media and the smart phone are the primary communication tools of today’s population.  However, it takes careful checking in the contact center to see whether or not there’s been a change in focus in the center management.  We are witnessing what hasn’t developed in the contact center industry for 10 years – the emergence of a new customer engagement model.

In many companies, the marketing organizations have been the first to take the social media phenomenon by the horns.  Creating a blogosphere is a great way to generate publicity, and when I see a company that is communicating online, I expect (and hope) that I will be able to contact that company via social media. I am also seeing that adoption of this trend is often hidden from the contact center (mostly because I can rarely engage the companies through social media).  My thought is that the teams that are chartered with handling the customer communication are not involved in this endeavor, but we’ve got to get involved!

As I already stated, I know that social media is an emerging trend, and one that we’re not entirely certain yet what to do with. It’s understandable that you might be hesitant to get involved because the volume of this type of media is not at soaring levels.  Keeping costs down is difficult, and investing in a new media type can be rigorous. However, all too often contact centers fall prey to the mindset that they have to avoid new work until they get resources.  While understandable, this is the wrong way to look at the issue.  Getting involved, ahead of the curve, in the new trends and taking a few risks on what is coming is exactly how you add value and get the resources you need.

So, this is all well and good, but if we don’t know where to start, what good does it do?  I think a lot of us are in that boat.  Let’s start from the top level: First catch the vision.  Next, if overall company profitability is the goal then we can realize that handling more customer contacts means more loyalty, dollars, services provided, etc.  Thirdly, the population loves social media.  These are three powerful statements that start building a business case that all CEO’s can deal with.

The challenge for your organization is to manage each communication channel in a cost-effective way while balancing the generation of customer loyalty; and ultimately, revenue.  It’s time to put on your strategic hat and prepare to take your center to the next level.  You can do this by leveraging the experience you have.  If you are good at your job, and I am sure that you are, get with the marketing team and/or other teams, and share your vision.  Get involved in the strategy today.  You might not be ready to handle the social media stream right now, but it’s time to start planning for the future, today.