You ve Got the Technology Now What?

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You’ve Got the Technology –

Now What?

Pre-Planning for Social engagement

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going Beyond the technology to Deployment

Once the sole province of consumers, social media is now part of the fabric of most enterprise organizations. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become key elements of companies’ marketing strategy, as they use these sites to promote their companies and products. In response to this phenomenon, applications have been developed to monitor and track consum-ers’ general perceptions of a company, and/or the results of a company’s attempts at using social media. As companies mature in their use of social media, they begin to realize that there is a grow-ing expectation from consumers that customer service will also be provided through social media forums. These companies are becoming “socially engaged,” where they connect and interact with customers and potential customers through social media to help solve customer problems and provide customer service and support. With the new social media monitoring and engagement products, it’s now possible to not only listen to what customers are saying, but to take action in order to solve customers’ problems, proactively respond to comments, and turn customers into “brand ambassadors” for the company.

Unfortunately, social engagement and customer care via social media isn’t always as simple as it appears. The technology and tools to monitor, analyze, and engage with customers has been around for a few years and works well, with many proven customer case studies. However, some companies are quickly recognizing that deploying a solution is not just about acquiring the technol-ogy, but about developing an appropriate strategy for its use – to get the most out of it across the organization. Social engagement and becoming a social business is more than simply creating a Facebook fan page or gathering followers on Twitter. Companies need to carefully develop strate-gies and guidelines and plan for how they will interact with customers through this new channel, or else they may have great technology that they don’t know how to properly use.

Preparing for Deployment challenges

Many companies have purchased tools and technologies for social media interactions, but have yet to deploy them for various reasons. Social media for customer care can be challenging for companies that haven’t properly pre-planned and developed policies and procedures. Because the output of these tools benefits more than one part of the organization, such as marketing, customer service, the back office, etc., and requires input on policies and procedures from an even larger part of the organization, the road to deployment is littered with boulders. We’re in the early days of social engagement, and as such, there are no established best practices to follow.

For many companies, the question isn’t why or when they should make the move toward social engagement, but how to get started on this path. What are the steps that they need to take prior to deploying the solution, in order to alleviate a deployment bottleneck?

There are several key challenges companies face once they get to the social engagement

deployment stage. Before deploying a solution, they need to determine how to overcome and be prepared for these challenges.

1. Ownership – Who Owns Social Media?

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isn’t a one-way street. Once a company engages with prospects and customers by promoting its brand via social media, it opens the doors to customers asking questions, talking about issues, and complaining about problems. These are not marketing’s concern; they fall to customer support and the contact center. Therein lies deployment boulder one, without a strategy, what happens when it becomes apparent that another group in the organization needs to be intimately involved?

One of the first steps before deploying a social engagement or social media customer care solution is the pre-planning to identify how social media fits into the overall organization. It’s important that the various departments – support, customer service, marketing, human resources, and so on – coordinate their efforts and message. This requires a well thought-out enterprise-wide approach that involves marketing, the digital or online department, the contact center, the executive

management team, and even the legal and financial departments. Without this integrated approach, miscommunications can easily occur. For example, if a customer posts a complaint on social media, it would be easy for a contact center agent to offer an apology. However, the company’s legal department might be concerned about this because the company may be in a lawsuit about the issue and the agent’s response could be construed as the company accepting blame. Issues like this are many. Social engagement requires coordination of the entire organization in order to avoid contradictions and missteps.

2. How do you Handle the Public Nature of Social Interactions?

Trained Representatives are Needed

When a customer calls in to a contact center, they have a one-on-one conversation with an agent, and the conversation is generally private. This is not the case when using social media. Social chan-nels are by their nature public; interactions over social media are generally one to many and can be viewed by anyone and everyone. A poor customer service experience can be viewed by hundreds or thousands of people. Finding the right agents with the right skills to interact with customers in this public forum is important, and the use of workforce optimization (WFO) tools can play a key role. WFO tools can be used to assess the skills of agents, and uncover which agents have the right skill set to take on this new channel. These tools can help you determine whether you have the right agents and how best to staff for social media interactions.

Because of the public nature and immediacy of social interactions, it is important that companies set policies and train customer care agents to handle this new channel. Training considerations should include:

• What the company goals are in using social media as a channel

• What is the “proper tone” that the agent should take in responding to customer interactions? Is it casual to reflect the channel, or formal based on the type of business?

• Is there a company “persona” for the agent to model

• How will interactions be handled? Do they come into marketing first, and then are passed to customer support? If they get to the wrong group, what is the fallback to quickly manage the interaction, as social media response requires immediacy?

• Are there restrictions on responses based on compliance or other legal requirements? • Is it appropriate to have more than one Facebook page or Twitter account to handle

interac-tions, and if so, what happens if a customer uses the “marketing page” to get an issue fixed when they ostensibly should use a “customer service page”?

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3. Creating Guidelines and Developing Policies and Procedures

Before deploying a social media customer care or social engagement solution, creating or modifying operating procedures, workflows, and policies to accommodate social interactions is a must. One of the biggest challenges facing companies in deploying a social engagement solution is determining which policies and procedures need to be modified, which need to be created, and how will these changes be rolled out. Before embarking on a social engagement project, policies and procedures must be examined and corporate guidelines developed. These guidelines need to cover technical and operational issues, as well as training, content, and engagement issues.

technical & operational guidelines

When it comes to the contact center, from a technical and operational perspective, one of the biggest challenges is modifying the existing CRM system to capture and integrate social interactions. CRM systems were not designed to capture social interactions and need to be modified in order to provide agents with a 360-degree view of the customer interaction.

As companies become socially engaged for customer care, it’s important to tie in the social channel with the other contact center channels, including voice, e-mail, chat, etc. Due to the text-based nature of social media, companies are increasingly blending social media interactions with other text-based channels, such as chat, e-mail, and SMS. Is your company set up to transfer an interac-tion that starts in a social channel to another contact center channel, and if so, can this be done in a seamless way while retaining the customer information, and updating all subsequent channel databases?

The same tools that are used for voice interactions should also be applied to social media interac-tions, including quality monitoring, reporting, analytics, and workforce optimization. These tools can help with performance monitoring and staffing issues for individuals inside and outside the contact center. By understanding staffing needs, based on volumes and the various skills of agents and others in the organization, companies can be better equipped to handle social media interactions. By scheduling the appropriate resources, companies can increase employee retention and help contact center managers figure out how to utilize the resources they have within their department and overall company.

Additionally, social media content and interactions should become part of the customer record. If the conversation needs to go offline and continue via another channel, how can the interaction seamlessly transition to a chat, e-mail, SMS, or a voice call, while providing the customer with a consistent experience?

How can companies track their progress and return on investment? Reporting and analytics are important in determining and tracking success, using both existing contact center metrics, and new metrics such as Net Promoter Score, loyalty, and advocacy, developed for social engagement based on a company’s goals and objectives.

content guidelines

Providing the appropriate content on a social platform can be very challenging, especially since the comment is limited to 140 characters of text on Twitter, and not much more on Facebook. Words need to be chosen wisely. Corporate guidelines for content should be created to direct agents about what should and shouldn’t be said, and how best to communicate with customers.

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engagement guidelines

Companies need to identify the types of customer interactions that will take place via social, what information will be provided publicly and what needs to be “taken offline” via e-mail or direct messages, for example. While agents may be quick to provide information and responses, they need to be careful about what should be public and what should be private. For example, when asked via Twitter for their password, an agent sent the response on the public timeline, making the information publicly available. This was a big mistake, causing damage to the company’s reputation. Companies also should determine how best to steer customers toward private interactions – should they ask for the customer’s e-mail address, send a direct message (DM), or provide contact information for the customer to reach the agent? Companies should also ensure that the social interaction content is passed along to the next channel so that the agent or other contact in the organization understands the context of the interaction, and can best respond.

An essential part of the pre-planning exercise is to set corporate policies about who to engage with and how to engage. Not every tweet or Facebook post requires a response, and companies need to have a strategy in place identifying guidelines for when to respond and engage with a customer. This determination can be based on several factors:

• actionability – Is there anything that can be done about the customer’s inquiry or comment and any action you can take? If not, perhaps a response isn’t needed. For example, if a customer is complaining that their airline flight is delayed because of ground fog, there isn’t anything that the airline can do, and the customer comment is just a comment, not an actionable complaint. • User influence and importance – By identifying the user’s influence level or score, companies

can determine whether or not to respond. For example, if a customer has thousands of followers and/or connections and a high influence score, they may want to respond and acknowledge what they said, even if it’s not actionable. Alternatively, if the customer is a very infrequent social media user with very few followers, a response may not be as urgent. However, enterprises shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that only social influence matters. Customer value, regardless of the social media influence, is also of highest consideration, regardless of the individual’s social influence. It’s important to recognize that if the issue is actionable and a response is expected, influence is irrelevant and companies should strive to solve all customer problems.

• Sentiment – the strategy should take into account the user’s sentiment, such as anger, and how to handle angry or negative comments.

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genesys Social engagement Solution

Genesys Social Engagement is a Social Media Management System that monitors the social world, provides analytics that define when it’s appropriate to engage with someone, and then helps companies proactively engage with people on social software sites. Taking a holistic approach to social, the Genesys Social Engagement solution monitors Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and other sites to capture interactions and apply analytics to determine sentiment, influence, and actionability, and then manages and prioritizes against customer-defined SLAs in order to route the interaction to the right resource and to take action when certain business rules are met.

The Genesys solution finds the message, analyzes and prioritizes it, and sends it to the right person — whether in marketing, customer service, or elsewhere in the company. For support-related

interactions, employees can respond within their existing contact center desktop.

Going beyond monitoring of social media, Genesys Social Engagement looks at consumer

sentiment and influence on brand and extracts insights. By looking at the sentiment of the message – such as positive, negative, and neutral (e.g., I’m so mad at Company X) - as well as influence

score and customer value, companies can determine how to route the message and what priority to give it. It also parses the messages to identify actionable words, such as “request,” “how to,” “troubleshoot,” and so on. Enterprises can add and customize these words for their specific vertical

and company. A classification engine provides an influence score, identifying the size of the author’s social network. This score can be used as part of a formula to prioritize the action that the agent or company takes.

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