Using Social Media Trends to Proactively Improve Internal Operations

Guest Blogger: Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst at Ovum

Most businesses focus their social media activities around two goals: revenue generation from marketing activities and improving customer engagement and satisfaction by responding to social queries. However, they should also be using social data in real time to improve processes and agent performance.

Customers often use social media to express their frustrations before calling a contact center to provide more formal feedback. Because of the limitations and time taken to handle calls as opposed to sending social messages, businesses can discover issues faster by analyzing these social media comments. For example, the extent of an internet outage could be realized by looking at social patterns before technical staff become aware of the problem and are ready with a fix. Agents can be alerted to the issue and provided with information to respond, and the technical team can begin resolving the problem. Likewise, flight issues, power or utilities problems, issues with form completion or websites could all be discovered faster by looking at social trends.

However, the challenge lies with automating these processes and setting up systems to push the right information to the right team of staff, including marketing, customer support, product and service teams or even high-level executives. Businesses should set up systems to monitor trends, categorize information and automate the distribution of useful customer feedback to the right internal team. At first they may need a social media manager to manually review data and validate the information. But after obtaining a better understanding of the way in which customers are using social, these managers can set thresholds dictating the minimum number of posts needed and where the information should be sent. For example, outage information would need to be sent both to technical staff and agents, whereas complaints leading to cancellation should be forwarded to high level managers as well as agents. Contact center managers can then use trend data to define ideal responses for common queries, not just for the social media agents, but also for those agents that handle voice, email or web chat. When the same query comes in by email or phone, the agent is prepared to respond efficiently.

Businesses should view social media data as a useful tool to gain information about customer needs and improve internal processes so that they can resolve issues before they escalate. The one caveat is that this relies on a large number of customers posting about the same problem in order to validate that issues are genuine and relevant to a broad customer set. This will only become easier as use of social media expands and customers become further educated about its value as a customer service tool.

Follow me on Twitter @diteb.

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