You know a trend has made it into the mass market when it makes an appearance in a major Hollywood movie. In the case of social media, it was Iron Man when the character Tony Stark admonished, "I don't want to see this on your MySpace page".
Social Media is having a dramatic effect on how people connect and socialize, but also on how businesses interact with their customers. A sure fire way of getting the attention of a corporation's PR department (and sometimes their lawyers) is to create a website "companynamesucks.com" or something similar.
Social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and the like are an easier way for people to applaud a company or vent their frustrations. The sites are free, have a number of tools that make it easy to get your point across and your friends are usually already signed up. Unlike the simple URL approach, this method is more likely to "go viral" given the very nature of a social media.
Many companies already have a social media presence that allows you to register your interest such as a Facebook "Fan" page. The problem is, how do you identify your customers from those that simply like the idea of your company?
For many customers, the contact center is where they go if they need assistance, check on an order or register a complaint. If the customer experience is not as good as they expected, they are frequently left feeling frustrated and look for a place to vent. Social media sites and blogs are the default places to vent this frustration.
To turn this around, Social media sites have the potential to add a new method of reaching out to customers to assist them with their issues or let them know about new products and services based on their profile in the company's CRM system. Far from making the contact center irrelevant, the internet introduces entirely new opportunities to make the contact center, and their highly skilled agents, more crucial than ever.