As we’ve pointed out before, customers are increasingly turning to social media channels for real-time customer care. As customer service technology continues to develop in sophistication and complexity, organisations running contact centres are having to make big choices, and quickly.
The statistics in this area of social media are sometimes alarming. 42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems or out dated user interfaces. Exactly the same percentage (42%) of consumers expect a response from brands they reach out to on Twitter within one hour.
The transition from offering traditional call centre channels to being a fully-fledged multi-channel social contact centre is a big challenge. With customers expecting brands to be present on their preferred social networks, contact centre staff have their hands full to ensure a consistently positive service experience. Customer service expert, Shep Hyken states sets out the consistency issue in plain terms:
As multiple communication channels develop for the customer contact centre, consistency will be paramount. The experience must be the same from channel to channel. Anything less erodes confidence and destroys customer loyalty.
This, and other key issues, are highlighted in another excellent infographic from social customer service platform, Sentiment. The image does a good job of describing the critical challenges for contact centres when integrating social media, which it identifies as:
- Protecting your investment in legacy systems
- Justifying the expense of integrating social media
- Integrating social media with your other channels
- Scaling up your social customer service provision
- Ensuring buy-in from your staff (or clients’ staff)
- Understanding how to measure social customer service performance
- Ensuring agents have the right skills or abilities
Although social media as a function often remains with Marketing and PR teams, the increasing importance of social customer service is set to continue during 2014. As such, the need to be able to effectively and seamlessly integrate these channels into the contact centre will be pivotal.
We’ll doubtless be writing about this a lot more in 2014. We are also going be hosting a free webinar featuring social customer service expert, Martin Hill-Wilson, on exactly this topic on 12th January 2014. You can register for that here.