• November 30, 2010
  • By Koa Beck, Editorial Assistant, CRM magazine

Siemens Enterprise Communications to Unite Social Media and Contact Centers

Siemens Enterprise Communications, a providor of end-to-end enterprise communications announced the release of OpenScape Fusion Social Media Integrations. This integration service solution allows companies to merge both public and corporate social media tools into enterprise customer contact centers, unified communications, and collaboration (UCC) solutions.

In a joint study with the Yankee Group, an independent technology research and consulting firm, Siemens Enterprise Communicates determined that only 65 percent of average customers were satisfied with current business interactions via social media. The study also revealed that only one third of businesses do not have formal social networking polices, prohibit the use of social media at work, or aren't aware of their company's participation in social networking.  

The study also concluded that:

  • Seventy percent of consumers want access to company experts and support via social media channels and trust company information provided to them via their social networks.
  • Nearly 60 percent of customers feel company outreach via social media would improve their loyalty to that company
  • Most customers feel that companies should be monitoring social media for customer feedback
  • Fifty percent of respondents use social media daily or several times a day
  • Nearly 70 percent of employees feel they need better tools to track and manage social media for business, and would like the ability to initiate a web conference automatically from a chat discussion at work, inviting people from within their social and work networks

The OpenScape Fusion Social Media integrations supports automatic and aggregated social media tools and contacts with other desktop communications, simplifying the way employees collaborate and monitor customer activities. "One click" escalation of dialogues can allow conversations to be viewed in alternative media forms, such as multi-party audio or video conferencing.

Other features of OpenScape Fusion Social Media include:

  • Automated routing of inbound and outbound social media interactions to improve customer interactions with contact center agents
  • Seamless integration of social media interactions and data into existing contact center management, monitoring, and reporting tools
  • Availability of subject matter experts or customer assistance personnel via social networking sites, simplifying and speeding customer response
  • Streamlined information sharing via blogs, corporate wikis, and chat groups though UCC desktop integration, improving team collaboration
  • Automated updates to presence status and conferencing abilities through social networking sites such as Twitter, making it easier to connect with colleagues and customers

"Historically social media interactions have been outside the enterprise IT environment.," says Chris Hummel, CEO of Siemens Enterprise Communications. "We're finding a way to structure that and have a natural escalation process -- escalate that then to a one-on-one conversation.... One of the biggest fears that businesses have is that they've lost control of communication and collaboration. Everybody has so many new devices and all of us go an talk on Twitter and Facebook and Linkdin and it's all outside the customer IT environment."

Hummel elaborated that the proliferation of devices has overwhelmed many companies who previously built their processes around one traditional interactions -- the physical store. At the same time, he advocates that  a "rip and replace" strategy is not necessary to successfully use social media.

"We're not suggesting you need to tear out everything you have and rebuild your whole IT infrastructure just so you can tweet with your customers. Quite the opposite. We're providing a kind of evolutionary path," says Hummel

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