November 19, 2010
/ by Mark Hanley
Many companies are beginning to realize they need to take a more strategic view toward the intelligence they gather from social communities, realizing that this insight not only can transform their approach to customer service, but also support brand health over the long term. As a result, “Social Servicing” – understanding and addressing the needs of customers online and determining how to measure those efforts to make informed decisions as to when and how to invest in additional resources and scale on a global basis – is getting more focus.
Many global brands seeking to support and develop the long-term health of their brand are beginning Social Servicing programs as one of their leading forays into social activation. For most, customer servicing is one of the first business groups within the enterprise to begin social activation. Customer servicing programs can leverage social servicing into the business goals already in place. Most often the most successful programs are created from teams of existing service professionals already well versed at handling customer relations and adding the social channels to the more traditional channels already being serviced layering in social as part of their servicing solution. As businesses establish their online presence through easily recognizable and increasingly active Twitter handles, forum and social channel presences Social Servicing becomes normalized and the opportunity for Social Servicing to expand into new channels and to go beyond one to one customer interaction grows. Over time, this practice becomes increasingly important to the business and its reputation, organizations likely will need to increase the number of staff devoted purely to this function, especially across multiple markets. Customer service professionals are also going to want to have better ways to analyze the influence of each author to understand the bigger picture of their efforts and establish uniform criteria for issue resolution and escalation. To that end integration and usage of API’s is becoming a key component.
The Social Servicing function will need the support of technology to coordinate activities globally and analyze the results of daily operations on a much larger scale than what is possible today. In addition, to achieve global reach with their Social Servicing strategy and focus attention beyond the most popular social communities and to the larger Web, companies will need robust solutions to help their teams address a number of key challenges, including:
There is increasing demand by companies to make social media listening solutions and the data collected work more in conjunction with existing client systems and other data sources. While this is far from commonplace today, some brands are starting to plan for when Social Servicing will be a more integrated part of their operations. And while there is no one single platform from any provider that can meet all the Social Service requirements of Global 2000 companies, leading vendors are innovating, and working with clients to identify and address, using a combination of technology, strategy and people. Soon, Social Servicing will be a necessary discipline for any company looking to earn the trust of customers—and not only in the social sphere.
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