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How to Integrate a Strategic Social Media Monitoring Operation into Your Contact Center and Wider Enterprise

There is a lot of debate about where exactly social media should sit in an organization. Is it a marketing function, a customer services function or a sales function? The answer is, rather confusingly, all three. This will do little to help anyone who is looking to find the correct department to take ownership of the medium and make plans its implementation into your enterprise and manage future engagement.

I prefer to look at social media in much the same way as you look at your telephone system – everyone should have access to it, everyone should know what they can and cannot say on it and it connects all your organization’s departments to each other and your customers and prospects. This is an approach that requires little more than common sense to implement and goes someway to demystify an area of business communication that has been made unnecessarily complex.

Let’s look at some of the basic reasons why your organization will want to engage with strategic social media monitoring operation.

  • Sales: Great sales people live and die by the strength of the leads made available to them. Social media is alive with numerous, hot business leads, often hidden just under the service of a question or a statement made via social media.
  • Marketing: Marketing’s job is to develop, nurture and formalize potential business opportunities (or leads) through the creation of informative, engaging and targeted campaigns. Social media not only provides a great mechanism for distributing content but also an amazing medium for connecting with influential “thought leaders” who can potentially help you reach a much wider audience.
  • Customer Services: The front line of any business. These are the people who field your calls, fix customer problems, protect your reputation (far more than any PR manager could appreciate) and create up-sell opportunities for you sales teams to get their teeth into. When a customer or potential client starts talking about your organization on social media (positively or negatively) you’ll want to make sure these people are plugged into the conversation as quickly as possible.

Often overlooked in many organizations, your customer services team should be at the forefront of any social media monitoring strategy. These, after all, are highly motivated individuals who are trained to deal with all manner of calls and expect the unexpected. Unlike marketing or sales departments, customer service teams aren’t distracted by customer meetings or creative brain storming exercises. Instead they are focused on resolving problems, pointing customers in the right direction and working their way through high volumes of calls, emails, online chats and even the occasional written letter. There is no better place to embed your social media strategy than in your contact center.

This is not to say social media engagement should be a free-for-all in your contact center. Initially you should look to engage a small number of agents who are trained to monitor and react to specific types of messages, understanding when and how they should reply, ignore or forward a message to a more relevant department or perhaps a senior manager. We’ll call these agents “social media champions” and, once up to speed, they should then be tasked with rolling out your social media strategy to the wider team

Software like Viralheat can help you centralize all your social media activity in your contact center, ensuring that all relevant conversations are captured and engagement tracked (ensuring nothing slips through the cracks and preventing misunderstandings such as two agents jumping into one conversation). Software will also help you integrate this social media activity into your organizations CRM system (such as Salesforce.com or SugarCRM) ensuring conversations are tracked alongside all other forms of engagement with your organisation (including sales, support, marketing, etc.) giving your wider enterprise a more complete understanding of your audience. Integratingyour social media activity with your CRM system will allow tasks, such as responding to a particular post or highlighting trends, can be assigned or flagged up to relevant individuals within your organization and their actions tracked accordingly.

Basic social media monitoring is not rocket science. It’s just another method of communication between you and your customers and when handled with care can have significant impact across your enterprise. But social media is not limited to monitoring and once you get to grips with the basics it’s time to get strategic.

John Hayes will be speaking at the 10th Annual Turkey Call Center Expo in Istanbul on October 14, 2014.

Tags : social media

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