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Social Media Becoming as Essential to Customer Service as the Call Center

TMCnews Featured Article

June 20, 2011

Social Media Becoming as Essential to Customer Service as the Call Center

By Chris DiMarco, TMCnet Managing Editor

Convergys (News - Alert) is a fully loaded provider of all things call center. Not only does the company offer BPO, technology and analysis, it also has presence in consultation, helping call centers throughout the world reevaluate processes and work more efficiently. At this year’s Call Center Week, TMC (News - Alert) checked in with Convergysys to discuss social media trends in the customer service realm and how they’re affecting the way companies do business.

Senior Marketing Manager Howard Saresky explained Convergys has developed a dynamic decision making system that can help organize data from disparate systems within a given organization and use it to help and agent make a decision. “The Engine can take data from customer systems like billing, marketing and sales and aggregate it. Based on policies programmed by the company in question we’re able to make recommendations for how agent should respond or how the IVR should respond.” This decision engine has allowed Convergys to reduce agent training sessions and has also allowed them to create more effective IVR and self service options. More importantly, the decision engine is being used in social media strategize designed to increase businesses ability to respond to issues from its user base.

According to Saresky, “What we found is customer effort is the best metric for assessing the customer experience. Customer satisfaction is important but it’s not the best determining factor for loyalty, the better factor is customer effort, meaning how difficult it is to do business with the company. Satisfaction does not mean loyalty reducing effort is a better predictor.”

Reducing that effort means proactively engaging customers regardless of what channel they come through. That means an active social media campaign is as essential to your organization as well trained call center agents.

The problem that companies have is there is so much social information that it becomes nearly impossible to figure out what’s just background noise. YouTube, Facebook (News - Alert) Twitter, Linkedin etc., each has a unique value and can offer company’s different opportunities for advancement. Convergys software aggregates and listens to what’s being said in the social sphere and then applies its decision making technology to ranking how essential information is. A series of keywords, filters and laws are clustered together with the client engagement strategy can be tailored to any specification required by the customer.

Jeff Gossman, senior director sales with Convergys, talked to TMC about social media best practices during Call Center Week. He emphasized that fluid organic conversation in the social media space was much more constructive than instances of communication that appeared forced or insincere.

“Our strategy of social media engagement boils down to a specific issue or a customer asking for engagement. The interaction is taken offline, so that it’s in a private channel. What we typically do is say ‘we’d love to help,’ via direct message and wait for them to respond,” Gossman said, “rather than request that they remove any negative messages we let them come out and reflect up on their experience on their own.” For complaints that deal with customer that have heavy social media influence, Convergys (News - Alert) employs a similar strategy but works to create an ongoing relationship.

Social media presence is as essential to a business operation as a well equipped call center. With it social media initiatives Convergys is investing to ensure it has the capacity to handle all aspects of customer service as the industry continues its march into the connected age.

Chris DiMarco is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page. Follow him on Twitter @cpdimarco.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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