Holy Twitterfeed Batman, How do we put Social Media in Our Call Center
Social media exposure doesn’t equal success. I know this may sound like heresy to some, but the facts speak for themselves. One of the most successful ads in recent history; Old Spices’ “The Man, Your Man could Smell Like” has racked up impressive social media numbers 94 million YouTube views. 630,000 fans on Facebook and an estimated 1 billion aggregate impressions in one week according to Fast Company. However sales of the product the ad promotes is actually down 7% according to SymphonyIRI . So as Carla Peller said in the most famous ad of its time “Where’s the Beef”? It is interesting to note that while the campaign was very popular “Where’s the Beef” didn’t equate to more sales for Wendy’s either.
So we have a dichotomy, popularity doesn’t equal success in either the current social media age any better than it did thirty-five years ago in the pre-social (anti-social?) media age. The inverse is also similarly true; being unpopular doesn’t mean you will fail. Often there is a small cadre of unhappy folks who can and frequently do spend all their time blogging, tweeting and posting about the object of their hearts distain (can you say wireless or cable providers?) The simple mass of negative POV doesn’t in and of itself doesn’t cause a company to fail. Observers will quickly note that it is the same individuals making the disparaging remarks. There is likely some version of the Pareto principle at work here, where 80% or some other similar number of total complaints originates with 20% of customers or users.
Being popular or liked isn’t the same as being trusted or respected. This difference will drive the next generation of social media overlaying trust and respect on top being known, liked or popular. It will be interesting to see the results of the Fast Company Influence Project which is underway now to see who the most influential person is on the Internet. This project is still underway but to date there are almost 20,000 people registered for the project. I am curious to see if this really does inform us as to who is influential or if it simply becomes a popularity contest.
Regardless of whether we are talking about influence, trust or popularity there is a lot of content flowing by us in social media channels and some of it will mention our company name and our products and services. There will be kudos and many more complaints and critiques.
So what does this mean to the operator of a call or contact center? At minimum it may be time to take your head out of the sand…social media is real and your customers are using it. Where your choices are to ignore what they are saying or trying to figure out how to monitor it, there really isn’t a choice. We must listen. The first task in integrating social media into your contact center is to define your role and mission. We have to concede that there is no way we can look, listen to or respond to all social media channels for mentions of our companies, there are simply too many channels and too much content. Sturgeons Law which says that “90% of everything is crap” (or crud, if you prefer) is in play here. Much of what passes for content is self promotion.
Given the volume of content and the inability to respond to all of it an organization must limit themselves to what they can do consistently. The most common model is to establish a ‘listening post’ to ‘listen’ to the social media dialogue. This involves searching on Facebook, Twitter and Google for references to you company and products and on-going monitoring for future references. Some companies endeavour to try to respond to each individual post, tweet or comment. While this is a noble ambition it is often doomed by the speed of growth of social media channels and users and the absence of tools. We recommend that in place of 100% individual response to each comment or post you strive to ensure that you have visibility to those who have complained…follow them on Twitter, add them to a customer list and send list messages with the call center toll free number and/or send an direct response asking them to phone the call center, post a response to the question or comment if it is found in forum, LinkedIn or similar, send them a friend request and write on their wall on Facebook. In addition by developing tweets, posts and links that address frequent customer service questions and that include the call center toll free number the time to complete each response can be significantly reduced.
Simply by doing the above you will gain so valuable knowledge regarding the number of negative statements that are distributed through social media, they types and nature of the complaints, insight into your own 80/20 of complainants, and you will have established a presence within the social media milieu.