Guest Post by Edwin Margulies, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of SoCoCare
Social Engagement for Customer Care has come a long way in the past decade. Early systems were focused on “listening,” brand awareness, and general marketing use. But the technology for actual enterprise engagement with social authors has evolved. Here are some tips for making the right choices as you upgrade or start a new social care initiative.
Tip One: Look for Source Aggregation
When you use a social engagement platform, you will be building profiles which are kind of like fish nets that you throw over the side of a boat to trawl for certain fish. In this case you are trawling for social posts that contain specific subjects. That’s all fine, but make sure your new platform has the ability to combine posts from a variety of sources so you don’t miss what your customers are saying. For example, consider platforms that provide YouTube comments, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and blogs. If you limit your fish net to let’s say just Twitter or just Twitter and Facebook, you are going to miss a lot of opportunities to help customers.
Tip Two: Look for Advanced Filtering
Many enterprises that use social engagement software are beleaguered with the “fire hose” effect. This means there is so much data coming in that social care agents kind of drown n the data and don’t get much opportunity to actually help customers. That’s because a high percentage of post are just spam. Spam is anything that an agent cant’ take action on really. One way to eliminate this problem is to deploy a platform that uses artificial intelligence such as NLP (Natural Language Processing) software. NLP can eliminate spam if tuned correctly. You can also use NLP technology to do priority filtering, topic clustering and sentiment analysis. If you do not do this type of advanced filtering, you will burn out your agents and the ones who do stay will not be very efficient.
Tip Three: Insist on Agent Assistance
In the traditional contact center world, enterprises take for granted that agents need timesaving tools. Take, for example, ready-made scripts or next best action instructions. But in the social engagement world, these things are not well known. That’s because most social platforms were built for marketing or brand management, not customer care. So agent assistance tools are for the most part missing. Imagine how much easier it will be for agents if they could push pre-approved scripts with knowledge-base URLs to customers. Imagine further that you could employ a rules engine that triggers next best action scripts to agents based on your business rules and policies. Modern social engagement for customer care platforms have these “take for granted” items. Make sure you look for these when considering a new platform.
Tip Four: Look for Routing Flexibility
There are different routing models you can use to make sure certain social posts get to the right agent. For example, you can use a universal queue engine (ACD), supervisory filtering, or even agent cherry-picking. When looking for a new system make sure each of these methods is thoroughly discussed. For example, if the system you are considering does not have the ability to do skills-based or advanced filter routing, you may be stuck with a “hunt and peck” kind of model that is not efficient. Flexibility is key, so the best choice is often a platform that can do all three.
Tip Five: Role-based Analytics a Must
You will see the word “analytics” thrown around a lot by social engagement vendors. But the real question is “what exactly are we analyzing?” If you intend to run a social engagement for customer care operation, you should be analyzing agent efficiency, group service levels, response times, and outcome statistics. These are role-based types of analysis because the analysis is done for a specific role of the user. For example, agent KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) can be used to show agents how well they are doing versus the top performing person on their group or the average of their group. SLAs can show supervisors how well his or her team is doing on outreach – that is how many customers have been engaged with in a certain time frame. Some platforms even let you drill down into how well agents are doing in terms of interacting with angry customers versus neutral or happy customers. Without these types of metrics, it is difficult to manage social care agents and even more difficult to reward them for a job well done. You have to actually use the metrics that matter in a customer service context to manage a team.
Take your time in reviewing new social engagement for customer care platforms. Ask yourself: “Is this platform really for customer care, or is it really more of a marketing analytics or brand awareness platform?” Be sure to look for signs that the platform was actually built around a care agent and supervisor scenario. Look for agent assistance tools, role-based analytics, and anything that indicates customer care experts actually built the platform. If you fail to do this, you could end up with a tool that just doesn’t do the job. There are lots of great marketing and analytics tools out there, but many fewer platforms that were actually built with customer care and professional agents in mind.
BIO: Edwin Margulies is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of SoCoCare, a company dedicated to cloud-based Social Engagement for Customer Care. He is a customer service thought leader, author and inventor with 33-years of operations and product strategy experience. He has held executive posts at companies including Oracle, Dialogic and Telephony@Work. Margulies has designed hundreds of customer service systems and contact centers. These experiences lead to the formation of Sterling Audits, a research firm specializing in service automation usability. Margulies is also a pioneer of social engagement for customer care, which led to the formation of SoCoCare. His newest book called “Social Engagement for Customer Care” is available on Amazon this month.