Integrating social media into your contact center

A few years ago, conversations about the utility of social media for business would focus on social media as a listening tool. Experts would position social media as a way to passively gather data from the market to learn how trends and preferences were changing moment-to-moment. If the possibility for providing customer service over social channels came up, it was usually treated as tangential or a useful side-benefit. 

In 2019, how we talk about social media for business has almost completely flipped. When companies talk about social, the conversation is much more active – focusing on social engagement and customer service, with the more passive aspect of social monitoring mentioned as an afterthought.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion around what part of the organization should have ownership of social media. In many companies, social media is owned by Marketing, and is siloed from Customer Service. However, companies are now recognizing that social media is a channel like any other, and consumers expect to receive the same level of customer service on social that they would on any other channel. 

How should companies be moving forward?

Rather than expecting Marketing professionals to handle customer service complaints outside of their skillset, companies need to invest in integrating social media into their contact centers.

Why social media integration matters

In the past, customer service provided over social media was unexpected and delightful. But times have changed and the uncommon has become common. Increasingly, consumers are losing patience with brands that are not responsive over social media:

  • 49% of people who complain about a company on Twitter expect the company to read the complaint.
  • 42% of Twitter users expect a response within one hour: only 9% of brands deliver.
  • Additionally, one third of customer complaints on social still go unanswered.

Most contact centers have not kept pace with changing expectations for customer service over social media: ICMI research shows that 67% of contact center leaders believe that social customer service is important, but only 41% of contact centers currently provide customer support over social media.

In addition to satisfying customer expectations for social customer support, integrating social media into the contact center also delivers benefits through:

  • improved customer experience 
  • improved agent experience and efficiency 
  • consistent contact center metrics

Improved customer experience

True omnichannel contact center integration results in a seamless customer experience across all channels. This is critical, given that the average consumer now uses 3 or more channels to resolve customer service issues. 

When social media is integrated properly into the contact center, with a comprehensive CRM that tracks interactions on all channels, customer frustration is reduced – there is no need for customers to repeat information or details of previous interactions.

Improved agent experience and efficiency

Social media integration with omnichannel CRM also improves the agent experience. Not only because fewer frustrated customers means better employee morale, but it also makes work processes easier. With social media integration, agents have a 360-degree view of customers and can access their complete interaction history. 

Further, digital interactions are up to three times more efficient than voice. The typical agent can handle between 2 and 3 concurrent interactions, while a highly skilled agent could handle as many as 5 concurrent interactions.

Consistent contact center metrics

When social media interactions are siloed from customer service contact centers, it is impossible to consistently measure interaction quality and employee performance. Integrating social media into the contact center gives your business the ability to compare your agents’ performance on social to other channels, and to measure social customer service the same way that other channels are measured.

Social media integration: top 3 tips

When integrating social media into your contact center, what are the top three things you need to remember?

1. True integration requires omnichannel CRM

Integrating social media with an omnichannel CRM gives agents access to complete interaction histories across all channels, enabling frictionless customer experience, as well as improving employee experience. 

2. Social media can’t be a strategy afterthought

Social media continues to be important as we live more of our lives online. Businesses need to include social media in their customer service strategy from the beginning, rather than isolating it as a stand-alone channel, or as an afterthought. 

3. Ensure that customer interactions are consistent across all channels

Customers want a consistent omnichannel experience, so remember to map out customer journeys and consider how promotions and offers are made – customers on social media shouldn’t lose out on promotions available to customers on phone, and vice versa.

Do you have questions on integrating social media into your contact center? Simply contact us to speak with one of our digital engagement experts, or request a demo to see how ITC can empower you to provide exceptional digital customer service. id Table 1

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About the Author: Anna Kreider