Thinking of Social Media in the Contact Center in a New Way

When we say “Social Media in the Contact Center,” most think of customer care professionals plugging into to the electronic social world of their customers and other publically active fans and foes.   However, a recent remote agent study revealed there is another profound way social media is impacting the contact center – internal social networks are being deployed to improve agent and customer satisfaction.

One of the greatest challenges with the remote worker model is the feeling of isolation.  To address this, one IT executive we spoke with commissioned a developer to look at sites such as Facebook and Linked-in and come up with something clever.  Interestingly, this is not an “isolated” case.  In fact, all of the companies we spoke with that have deployed remote agents on a large scale have either developed their own internal social networks or are in the process of doing so.  This is huge.  Companies are spending money on this stuff, even during difficult economic times.

The consumer world continues to change the way we think about communication in the workplace.  Like with chat, SMS and other technologies first used by many at home, employees are beginning to thirst for social media capabilities – especially with the growing number of remote and mobile workers.  It’s not so much “what” can be shared that’s driving change, it’s “how” we do so.  Could there be a massive social gap waiting to be filled?

Salesforce.com seems to think so.  While sitting in on a session at IT Expo a few weeks back, I became aware of an application they offer called “Chatter.” The executive speaking described it as “a Facebook-like application for the enterprise.”  Basically, Chatter allows employees to communicate with each other as they would at home (or in the office…) on public social networks.  Users can create and view profiles, post status updates, stay up to date with people and groups, monitor activity via feeds, share files, and take advantage of other capabilities such as integration with Facebook and Twitter.  Chatter seems to be more than just small talk.  According to a September press release, “Since launching Chatter into general availability three months ago, more than 20,000 companies including Hitachi, Misys, Reed Exhibitions and Softbank have deployed Salesforce Chatter.”

Could social media be the next major enterprise desktop disruptor?  Client server technology certainly changed the game, as did the web.  How much damage social media will do remains to be seen.  However, it seems every enterprise and application provider should be considering how social media methods can be embraced to improve the user experience.  Monitoring and connecting with customers in the social sphere is paramount; however, social media could have much broader and more profound implications than originally thought…

Go Giants!

Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley is a senior solutions marketing manager for Interactive Intelligence. Since his employment in 2010, Jason has helped Interactive Intelligence develop market requirements and go-to-market strategies for contact center, customer experience, and cloud solutions. Prior to Interactive, he spent ten years consulting with large enterprise contact centers and suppliers for Vanguard Communications, and a company he later founded, SmartContact Consulting. Jason spent the first seven years of his career in sales, marketing, and product management roles working for Aspect, Hipbone, Nortel, and others. Jason received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA.