Webinar Explores the Impact Social Networking is having on the Contact Center
June 10, 2010
The explosive growth of social networking is forcing companies to change how they interact with their customers, prospects, partners and investors. Although the telephone remains the primary communication tool between businesses and their customers, the up-and-coming generations -- Generation Y'ers and Millennials -- are changing the paradigm through their preference for communication channels such as SMS, chat and email. As a result, contact centers have to be prepared to handle these new modes of contact.
Ultimately, the explosive growth of social networking means most organizations will have no choice but to evolve their call centers into true, multi-channel contact centers. That means agents need to be trained to handle these new channels. What's more it means contact center managers need to ensure that they have the proper 'mix' of agents with each appropriate skill set in order to meet service goals and deliver good customer service.
Even as companies prepare for social networking by adding new channels to their contact center operations, what its impact will be on the contact center is still unknown. It will largely depend on how effectively companies leverage social media to market their products. It will also depend on how many people start engaging with the companies they do business with directly through social networking sites and channels. The question is, what impact will this have on call volume and business cycles? How will it change people's buying habits? How will it change the way they interact with agents?
Chances are the impact is going to be a little different depending on which social networking medium or Website you are talking about. Therefore it is incumbent on organizations to learn how the various social networking sites operate -- their differences and similarities -- and how each one might end up impacting their contact center operations.
Then there is all the opportunities social networking presents for companies to mine more data about their customers and use it to their advantage. Social networking gives organizations a new opportunity to learn what their customers are saying about them, about their service, about their competitors. Already we see software makers providing analytics solutions that enable companies to mine social working sites for certain words or phrases in near-real time, thus enabling them to be more reactive to what is being said about them. But how far will companies go in terms of integrating social networking data with their CRM systems and other repositories of customer data?
During the recent webinar 'Social Networking in the Contact Center,' Greg Smart, senior director, product management, at inContact, talked about the different types of social networking that exist today, including the major social networking sites -- and revealed how companies can leverage social networking to make a positive impact on customer service -- including examples of companies that are already doing this and what their experience has been.
The event included three poll questions which were asked of attendees. The first question, 'Do you personally use social media?' garnered 61 responses, of which 50 (or 82 percent) were 'yes' and 11 (or 18 percent) were 'no.'
The second question, 'Do you use social media in your contact center?' garnered 65 responses, of which 16 (24.6 percent) answered 'yes;' 29 (or 44 percent) answered 'No, but are planning to in the next 3 to 6 months;' and 20 (or 30.8 percent) answered 'No and have no plans to at this time.'
The third question, 'Who owns social media in your organization?' garnered 65 responses of which 8 (or 12.3 percent) answered 'contact center;' 41 (or 63.1 percent) answered 'marketing;' and 16 (or 24.6 percent) said 'other.'
To access a free copy of the archived version of this educational webinar, click here.
Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard
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