Right now it seems every company is trying to figure out the best way to interact with customers through social media, even social media sites themselves.
For an industry built on making connections, Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are challenged with delivering a customer service experience that satisfies their customers. For example, Facebook’s customer satisfaction scored slightly lower than poor performing industries like airlines and subscription TV service, according to the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index. Even Google’s customer satisfaction rating was down 7 percent from 2009. More than any other industry, Web 2.0 leaders should know the importance of the service experience and that every customer is a potential brand ambassador. In recent years, their pages have provided the venue for a number of very popular viral campaigns by disgruntled customers against offending companies.
But the true power of social media’s influence is in the millions of everyday interactions between users. Convergys research has found that the average social media post is read by an average of 45 people, and 62 percent of consumers who have heard about a bad customer experience via social media intentionally avoided or stopped doing business with the company as a result. The question faced by sites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook is the same as other, more traditional businesses struggling with the challenge of interacting with customers in the social media and Web 2.0 space: How do you provide personalized customer service amidst a sea of hundreds of millions of social media users? As more and more people embrace social media as a vehicle to share views on products and services, companies must adapt. Those that are not prepared to interact in this medium risk appearing apathetic about customer concerns. To overcome the unique challenges social media presents and effectively provide customer service, companies must be able to:
- Monitor/manage the immense volume of social media interactions. The social Web consists of hundreds of millions of posts and updates a day across a variety of social networking sites, forums, discussion boards, video and photo sharing sites, along with comments sections on mainstream news sites.
- “Cut through the noise” to identify and manage relevant social media events. Among the hundreds of millions of daily social media events, only a small portion may be relevant to your company.
- Establish workflow processes based on real-time decisioning for managing social media response. Procedures must be put in place to ensure quick, efficient responses to customers via their preferred channel.
- Equip agents with proper tools for interaction. Social media is a service channel unlike any other, and each social media site has its own unique set of communication rules. An interaction tool that enables agents to quickly and seamlessly respond to a social media event in the same social media venue it originated from is critical to ensuring appropriate responses to issues and faster resolutions.
With businesses increasingly moving to take advantage of the Internet as a delivery and customer support channel for their products and services, and with Web. 2.0 social sites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook providing a virtual megaphone for the voice of the consumer, 2011 promises to be the year when businesses and the social media sites themselves will aggressively move to deploy solutions to help them listen to their customers and provide the service experience they desire. It is very likely new social media interaction solutions will make their way to the market this year to help fill this important business need. Stay tuned.
Scott Swope is senior director for market and portfolio software strategy at Convergys. Swope has 15 years of experience in CRM and social CRM product management, implementation, and strategy development.