You're upset because your favorite cable channel isn't working. You go online and post an angry tweet to vent your frustration to friends. A few minutes later, you receive a response from a customer service representative at your cable service provider, asking if he can assist you.
That anecdote may become increasingly common, if Radian6 gets its way.
The listening service provider recently announced its new Engagement Console, the company's second product, and one that promises to allow users to listen to, engage with, and respond to customers in real time. The console is a desktop application built on Adobe AIR — a recursive acronym that stands for Adobe Integrated Runtime — and is designed to streamline social media monitoring. Users, according to the company, will now be able to use a single application to find content and connect with clients and colleagues.
A Radian6 release says the Engagement Console "brings the social phone to every desktop in the company." The release goes on to suggest all manner of use cases for the console: "Capture conversations from across the social web. Coordinate your social media activity and insights with your team and stakeholders. Seamlessly integrate your engagement and response with your other tasks, and easily work social media into your existing business processes and enterprise systems."
"This product is essentially transformative for the social media monitoring landscape," says Forrester vice president & principal analyst Suresh Vittal. "It takes listening and monitoring activities and adds a layer of work flow and business process and intelligence that enables marketers and customer service professionals to drive better customer service experience."
Vittal suggests the console does more than support the analyst community -- it supports customer service, CRM, and public relations professionals. More important, he adds, the console identifies those people who are able to influence consumers — and allows businesses to interact with them.
"It's an action-and-interaction platform," Vittal says. "It provides metrics and the tools to interact with those people. The social media monitoring tools provided you with metrics but they didn't offer the tools to interact with those customers."
"A lot of companies start out by listening," says Ryan Strynatka, senior product manager at Radian6. "Once they become completely engaged they want to interact and improve their customers' whole experience."
But the console isn't exclusively meant to improve relationships between businesses and consumers — it is also a tool that can help coordinate interactions between colleagues. For example: you post a Facebook status update criticizing a company for the extended period of time that you've been on hold. Three representatives using Radian6 might view this post simultaneously and contact you to offer their apologies.
With the Engagement Console, users can see in real time who is responding to the post and what they are saying. Even as one user is responding he/she can see that another user is also generating a response. No need to press the refresh button - the Engagement Console updates on its own.
"A lot of users will do real time analysis where they'll use the Console to find content that they can respond to it in real time," says Strynatka. "They can categorize the analysis and route it to the person who can correctly respond to it. Users can add recommended notes to their colleagues."
Other key elements include:
- the ability to classify consumer posts and tag them;
- adjust sentiment according to the post's content;
- analyze social media metrics, segment data, and generate reports;
- see a user's full profile to understand their online presence;
- see conversation threads in real time as users respond; and
- build one-click workflow profiles to assign priority, status, sentiment and assignments to multiple posts with a single click.
"A lot of companies are trying to figure out what their social media strategy is," Strynatka stated. "We wanted to set this up so that we don't pigeonhole the workflows but allow our customers to set it up any way they want."
The product is currently in Beta but will be available in April, according to the release.
[Editor's Note: A video produced by Radian6 to demonstrate the functionality of the new release can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqpfhQWx8FI&feature=player_embedded]
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