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So you finally have your call center up and running. Everything is buzzing along smoothly with phone, email, and chat all accounted for. 

But wait, you might be missing an important piece. A piece that your customers spends 6 hours on. Are you there with them?

The Missing Piece

According to a December 2009 report released by Nielsen, global consumers spend nearly 6 hours a month on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. That’s an increase of 82% over the previous year. Globally, social media and blogs are the top online category in popularity when ranked by average time spent. For the American web users, growth of Facebook and Twitter time has 200% and 368%, respectively. This growth rate is significantly higher than the global average of 143%. Clearly, people are spending much more time on social media.

Yet, these people are not simply posting about their everyday life. They are actively interacting with businesses and sharing their experiences. A recent study by the Society of New Communications Research found that 59% of those surveyed said they regularly use social media to vent their customer service frustrations. 72% said they researched a company’s customer service reputation through social media before making a purchase. 74% chose to do business with a company based on the service experiences shared by other users on social media sites.

These findings have major implications for the way customer contact is handled. If social media is such a big influence on the way consumers interact with and perceive businesses, then call centers absolutely need to monitor social media customer contact points. Contact centers have to be able to respond and adapt to this new channel or customers will be lost.

A Tale of Two Contact Centers

What do you think is better:

  • A dissatisfied customer vents their frustrations on public forums, social networks, and blogs. Several potential customers go online to do research before doing business with you, see this dissatisfied customer’s posts, and empathizing with the “little guy” in the story, choose to never do business with you. All of his connections on his social networks hear his story and pledge to never do business with you. Your contact center team never knows or hears anything, satisfied that things are fine because they don’t see anything wrong.
  • Your contact center proactively monitors social media for negative feedback using specialized software and tools. A frustrated customer makes a post that is automatically picked up by your contact center tool set. Your team immediately directly responds to the customer, easing the frustration and leading them to a solution. The customer leaves satisfied, updating his posts about the wonderful resolution your service team provided. Other potential customers research your business through social media, see the high level of customer care offered by your business, and decide to buy from you. The customers entire network of connections keeps your business in mind for the next time they want to buy.

Social media is here to stay. Will your company’s call center be able to adapt? Does your contact center have the right tools and software to monitor social media? Do they have the right training and leadership?

Your reputation is valuable. Are you armed to protect it?

 

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