Contact Centers Today – Support for Social Media is practically nonexistent

I’ve been preparing for an upcoming presentation regarding Social Media in the Contact Center. As part of my presentation, I need to present on some of our customers who are using Social Media not for marketing purposes, but for customer service.

What has been my general finding?

Not many contact centers are actively supporting their customers via the channel of Social Media. Contrary to the staggering numbers, contact centers just aren’t digging into it as rapidly as you might think.

  • Almost 640 million users of Facebook (SocialBakers)
  • Over 90 million tweets a day
  • Over 156 million blog sites (BlogPulse)

In addition, despite the massive hype surrounding the blazingly fast spread of bad customer service through the use of Social Media (United and the broken Taylor guitar), most contact centers just aren’t feeling the absolute need to support it as a channel for now. As one of the customers I spoke with told me, "The majority of people are going to call you long before they are going to tweet or blog about bad customer service. Our job is to take care of that customer at the time they call and not give themĀ a reason to use Social Media."

I completely agree.

To further that thought, after talking to several customers, I found they are more concerned about improving the support via their voice channel, as well as email and chat, than they are Social Media. Does that mean they are behind the times? Not at all. It simply means they are responsive to the demands of their customer’s needs to service them via the channels they wish to use.

Does it mean they are putting their company at risk by not rapidly deploying support for Social Media? Again, not at all. As a matter of fact, they are driving in the exact opposite direction. Every customer I talked to said that they are in the process of formulating a Social Media strategy and before rolling it out, want to be sure they know what they are doing. They are asking all the right questions like

  • Does my customer use Social Media? If so, which ones? And what are they saying?
  • Do I need to monitor all of Social Media or can I focus on just a few?
  • When I respond, how do I do it and how quickly do I need to respond?
  • How do I prepare my agents, my supervisors and my customers?
  • How do I queue and route Social Media?
  • Can I run reports on it just like I can my other channels?
  • Can I develop measurable KPIs?

Now, there were a few customers who were already quite adept at handling Tweets, Facebook posts, and blogs and have been doing so for well over a year. Some were automatically routing posts and tweets and others were manually picking posts and tweets off the appropriate sites. Some were running automatic reports while others were storing everything in spreadsheets and developing reports manually. But the majority of the customers were still in the processing queue – formulating their plans, waiting for the right moment and evaluating the right tools.

The bottom line is that while you will find hard core believers that state – Your business will burn to the ground if you don’t start supporting your customers through Social Media! – the majority of contact centers are far from that point today.

Tim Passios