Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Criticized for Your Customer Service? Turn Adversity Into a Business Opportunity by guest blogger Matthew Park

Redefining Engagement to When, Where, & How Your Consumer Chooses

At a restaurant, the couple next to me wasn’t happy with the meal served. The lady took out her phone and started posting on a social media site ... Familiar?

This era is of the social customer … unafraid to use her voice. She understands the relative shifting of influence, and the vulnerability of Big Business. The social medium is instant and responsive, and positions businesses willy-nilly in places where potential customers already exist.

For businesses that incorporate social media as part of their omni-channel CRM programs, keeping up with social conversations is a two-fold process: You need a social CRM strategy, including relevant technologies, to ensure your social engagement with the customer. Second, you need a social customer service strategy that integrates your contact center and marketing or corporate communications department to not only address customer complaints, but do so holistically aligned with your brand experience objectives.

Also, if your social customer service strategy does not aim at integration of the social sphere with problem resolution, it’s bound to fail. A precise social customer service “solution” would pick up the initial social thread and seamlessly convert i t into a one-on-one interaction, for example with a Listen-Engage-Analyze-Resolve approach (as we do at Minacs) for a successful customer experience outcome.

Listen in to Social Conversation!
After the diner had posted her comment, an executive at the restaurant chain’s corporate office “heard” of it and wanted the unit manager to take care of it immediately.

In the social space, the customer expresses disappointment, or happiness, on social media. Apart from lost revenues, ignoring social chatter can result in negative social sentiment that influences other customers, prospects, and the public! But how do you keep up with these conversations? And where does your contact center come into play?

Social media centers listen into conversations about your firm, products, brands, competitors, or even special interest areas for you across social networks, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even blogs. Social complaints are categorized and prioritized for action and resolution.

Analyze the Issue With Social Tools! 
With the diner’s complaint now in the public domain, the restaurant’s management, after tracking her comment, understood the negative impact it would have on their business.

Businesses that evaluate social customer care experiences are three times more likely to retain their customers. This requires an analytics component to your implementation, and you need to configure it to filter and categorize the social mentions to recognize sentiment and trends. Tag the opportunities found upon analysis of mentions. They provide you with deep insights into customer behavior and allow you to adopt escalation procedures when issues need immediate attention.

Understanding customer aspirations and their business impact help you to draft an approach that identifies and predicts the types of customer behavior and their “unintended outcomes.” Social listening and sentiment analysis tools can be used to analyze the data being generated through customers’ and influencers’ social interactions.

Customer Engagement Is the Key!
Within 20 minutes, the manager was at the diner’s table, apologizing for the issue even after the waiter had apologized.

Though technology drives customer service, human and organizational factors must be evaluated. They still play an important role in engaging customers, where the key is to engage with customers in their channel of choice. Your strategy needs to move customers from generic, many-to-many social conversations to one-on-one, personalized engagements to solve problems quickly.

Social advisors need to engage customers by responding to their posts. If that requires escalation or multi-department facilitation, businesses should route communications and coordinate resolution with appropriate departments. Based on need, the social analysts or advisors in the social command center (listening and analyzing post) will transfer a case over to advisors in the contact center to facilitate such resolution.

Resolution Achieves Customer Satisfaction!
The manager removed the meal from the bill, comped the couple’s meals, and gave them a gift certificate for another visit. Generously, the diner agreed to take her negative post off social media. She probably narrated the restaurant’s response as well!

By paying attention to conversations in the social space, you resolve issues early. Apart from reducing costs associated with repeat contacts, timely resolution ensures sustained excellence in customer experience. A 360-degree, omni-channel strategy combines social strategy, technology, analytics, execution, and people into a 24x7 customer service operation.

An integrated social-to-contact-center solution means we take such conversations off social channels to provide the appropriate level of attention and problem-solving customer service to drive resolution. Contact centers need omni-channel engagement capabilities that provide the scale to open one-on-one communication channels with customers. But they should also be able to provide the required customer care, requiring seamless cross—departmental workflow automation and the ability to respond to socially-posted complaints.

You’ve Crafted the Science … Now Hone the Art!
CRM systems in contacts centers play an important role in delivering social customer service. Social CRM must be one component of your overall social customer service strategy. The CRM solution should utilize analytics information integrated to provide business intelligence solutions. Quite simply, “look out” to listen, “understand” to analyze, “decide” to engage, and “address” to resolve!

For an effective social customer service solution, you need to ask: Do we have well-trained, dedicated experts for our contact center program who can monitor social exposure daily and meet customer needs? Does our solution apply First Contact Resolution principles to resolve customer issues early to help reduce costs, not to mention the long-term and lasting impact to reputation? Does the solution monitor our social accounts and brand mentions across the world?

After all, 140 characters is all it takes to make, or mar, a reputation!

Matthew Park, Manager, Solutions at Minacs


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