I like to use social media. I have accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, just to name a few. It helps me keep up with news, family and friends (not to mention providing me with a forum for sharing my blogs). But, what amazes me is the extent to which social media has branched off into a maze of different networks, each with its own customer experience dynamic. Clearly, social media is beyond the point of being a passing trend, and any contact center services player that wants to compete in the current market must be ready to take on this channel’s evolving dynamic.
Some of the numbers around social media usage are staggering. Imagine that in North America, about three quarters of the population uses Facebook, globally there are now almost half a billion LinkedIn profiles, and Katy Perry is beating me to become the world’s most followed person on Twitter .
But, what really hit home for me was a recent article that announced Pinterest had just gone over the 200 million user mark, up by a full one-third over the previous twelve months. Social media usage is not slowing, in fact it is only getting more pervasive and any contact center decision-maker has this top of mind from the standpoint of customer experience delivery.
So, what does this trend mean for enterprises? Right off the top, enterprises need to identify networks that are relevant to their own operations, looking beyond the usual suspects. For example, companies involved in the retail trade may find that Instagram is especially important to their consumers, as has been the case recently in the UK. Equally, hotels and restaurants will need to keep focused on TripAdvisor and Yelp. These are just a couple of examples, but they go to show that social media management is more than just Twitter and Facebook.
The big issue for so many enterprises is the challenge of monitoring all these networks, interacting with end users when necessary and moderating content when needed. It is more than just answering DMs, tweets and Facebook posts. And, it is a massive task. After all, our advisory board member Peter Ryan’s most recent survey shows that social media is the second most used digital contact center channel, after email. With shrinking budgets being the reality in the enterprise contact center sphere, it is hard to imagine how any in-house CRM manager is going to find the needed resources to make sure that end-users being supported on social media remain loyal customers.
But, they have no choice but to do so. With the ongoing growth of social media in all demographics, coupled with an expectation among consumers that they will be supported across networks (both specialized and mainstream), contact centers need to find a way of not missing a beat in this regard. The fact is, being able to handle both mainstream and niche networks not only works to the advantage of individual enterprises, but drives brand loyalty among consumers. No company can afford to be caught out in social media customer experience delivery; and if they are, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Written by Stephen B. Ferber