Social Media can impact the contact center in many ways. Are your call center agents prepared to handle the first contact resolution issues?

Propel contact center potential with positioning

Many businesses rely on a contact center for the majority of the interactions with their customers but when it’s an after-thought in the company it crushes contact center potential. How do you improve the position of importance of the contact center to the company in general? It is common for contact center management to be […]

Customers are Monitoring Calls for Quality Purposes Too

“This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.” Every time you hear this don’t you want to tell that automated message: “and I will be monitoring this call for quality purposes too”? Don’t lie, you know you do it. Let it be known, your customers are doing this too.

I think contact center leaders are both the most critical and yet the most understanding customers when it comes to receiving service from other contact centers. I find myself giving contact center agents that are trying hard more benefit-of-the-doubt and I want them to be successful. Your customers are not as forgiving or as understanding.

Customers Evaluate your Service on Social Media

Unfortunately the “quality assurance purposes…” message is played all of the time and many customers know the purposes for the monitoring and recording isn’t for their benefit. They know this because they are not given the same invitation to participate in using the call for quality assurance purposes. They are not included in the process.

Until the wide spread use of social media customers had to put up with being cut out of the quality assurance process. Again don’t lie, you know they are cut out. The only thing they were able to do was ask for a supervisor and get the “policy” response or tell their small circle of friends about the low quality assurance score you earned. […]

Social customer service; a place for brand terrorists or an agent’s best friend?

immediate customer service online social mediaWe live in a fickle and demanding world where customers have little loyalty to us but they expect a lifetime of guarantee on the item they purchased, no matter how small. If customers don’t get an immediate response or don’t get what they feel is due to them they can tweet about it, Facebook it, share it with their Google+ circles and about 900 other different ways. It’s kind of scary when you think about it, isn’t it? It’s downright terrifying for call center agents just trying to do their jobs.

We’ve written extensively about the pros and cons of social media customer service. On one hand it can augment the customer experience, offloading some of the common service/support questions that clog your call center by having those questions answered online. Conversely, many ‘terrorist-like’ customers gain quick fame using social media to get attention when their unrealistic customer experience expectations were not met.

Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on, time is wasted when you “chase the smoke” on social media and get caught up responding to the individual catty comments instead of focusing on the larger conversation. We’ve gathered some of our top stories discussing the pros and cons of social media customer service for you to decide for yourself. Do you have an interesting social customer experience story to share with me? Tweet me @jodiemonger! […]

Customer Relationship Metrics’ Most Comical Contact Center Stories

funny customer experiencesSometimes it’s good to take a break from the serious, so let’s look back at some of our funniest stories.  Wild, 10+ hour customer experience calls, dissatisfied customers completely destroying brick-and-mortar stores, customer service terrorists going on multi-social channel rants — these are just some of our most shockingly true and amusing stories, and we hope you agree.  They just have to make you laugh (what else can you do). Do you have a customer experience story or an outlandish customer comment that is laugh-out-loud ridiculous like those below?  Tweet us @crmetrics and tell us all about it!

Do contact centers hate families or LOVE Black Friday more?

Has the growth of contact centers along with consumer and Wall Street demands ruined it for families? Has Black Friday gained more societal power than friends, family, and fellowship?

I was asking myself these questions as I read about Target Corporation opening stores on Thanksgiving evening instead of Friday morning. Then, I started to think about my years in the contact center industry (and one contact center I worked in) and how over the past few decades the hours of operation have continued to increase. First it was a longer work day, then it was a half-day on Saturday, then it was all-day Saturday, and half-day on Sunday, and finally 7 days a week.    […]

By |November 13th, 2012|Call Center Agents, Customer Expectations, Social Media|0 Comments

Man destroys T-Mobile store with fire extinguisher

Look how calmly this guys destroys this store.  It took place in Manchester, England, when a T-Mobile customer learned he would not get a refund.  He chose not to take his case to social media, instead he destroyed the store and used a fire extinguisher to spray the place.

I do not condone this behavior at all.  Although, there have been a few times in my life when I had to control myself from doing the same thing. […]

By |July 4th, 2012|Customer Experience, Social Media|0 Comments

Is social customer service spoiling us?

how often do we get fast customer service at the expense of good customer serviceWe live in an age of instant gratification and that most definitely applies to customer service.  We expect good service when and how we want it, 24/7.  An immediate tweet back.  A fellow Facebook fan sending across a helpful link.  We have gotten used to speed and come to expect it, nay demand it, sometimes at the expense of good, complete customer service.  In a nutshell, we in the customer service business have created a monster that is scary (and hiding under our beds!). […]

You need skills-based routing for social media interaction management too

So you use skills-based routing for your call center, but your organization doesn’t think it’s necessary to apply the same principles to social CRM to be successful?  Sure, the marketing department may be responsible for promoting products and service offers online, but it’s a big stretch for them to handle complex customer service issues on your social service channels.

We’ve talked about the importance of not ‘chasing the smoke’ that clutters social customer service channels so it is worthwhile to also focus on which internal departments are responding to the customer comments.  You want to maximize sales opportunities by directing those comments or inquiries to those with sales training.  If there are posts with a question about a return, it is likely that the call center is best to effectively handle the issue for a speedy exchange.  When social media customer interactions are managed correctly and promptly, it’s an experience that enhances the relationship for the customer and is, therefore, a big win for the company. […]

Don’t run scared due to social media

The CRM business has matured beyond simply gathering contact data to a more sophisticated approach to understanding customer needs, business issues, opportunities and competitive threats, said FirstRain CEO […]

Entergy and TELUS serve up social media customer service

don't shy away from the importance of social media interactionsIf your company is in denial of the importance of social media, beware the consequences. “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu,” says Alex Schott, the manager of social media and multimedia communications at Entergy, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in New Orleans, LA.

He’s not wrong. If you aren’t participating in online dialogue about your company, you’re only encouraging more negative comments and more misperceptions.

Serving up customer service on Twitter may sound daunting, but it’s an important and growing customer venue. The demand for customer service via social media channels will only continue to grow. Now is the time to start making a plan for how and what you can do to provide service to customers via social media. If you choose not to delay you can create a BIG competitive advantage.

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Text analytics adds the ‘why’ behind the numbers.

Mine your big data to reveal the answers to a successful businessWhat do you do when one of your best selling products, your cash cow, your go-to, has decreasing sales revenue and can no longer be counted on to save the sales figures?  Worse, what if most of the ones being sold are quickly returned?  The call center has the answers, and they lie within the call logging and coding data, and the metrics from social customer service.  Companies can mine their ‘big data’ by using text analytics and uncover the root issue of this terrible trend.

The company Twitter feed and Facebook page supports the discovery that customers perceive the product to not be as fast as the competition, and lacks some additional functions they know are possible now.  When the CRM records are analyzed the hypothesis is confirmed, as each return highlights the product speed as the main reason for the return. […]

Social media monitoring is like chasing smoke

There’s something so interesting (and addictive) about social media.  It makes even luddites feel tech-savvy; it’s hip and new, and, according to some customer experience experts, anyone who matters is doing it.  And consumers’ social media activities extend well beyond updating their Facebook page or tweeting about their most recent customer service disaster.  Customer service is going social – big time!!  According to Zendesk, 62% of consumers have looked to social media channels for customer service issues.

But before you begin logging onto your company’s Facebook page a dozen times a day to see how many “likes” you have, and endlessly searching tweets containing your company’s name, step away from your keyboard.  Social Media Monitoring is not the place to start your Social Customer Service efforts.  Responding to the noise on social media platforms is like chasing smoke – frustrating, time-consuming and ultimately futile if your aim is to effectively improve the customer experience.  If you take this approach you are incapable of controlling what people put out there in the social sphere about your organization. […]

How is Social CRM impacting your traditional customer service channels?

With Facebook pages and Twitter handles and this, that and the other, is anyone even picking up the phone anymore to be served by one of your agents?  You bet they are and what callers experience has been affected by your Social CRM.

Recently, I had to deal with a return and some customer service issues of my own so I called into the call center.  After nearly 10 minutes on hold I was finally connected with a call center agent that immediately made it clear that he didn’t know what he was talking about and didn’t know how to assist me.  I was given a scripted, mediocre response and directed to the web site, but not before he made an insulting comment that I should have started there in the first place.   Seriously!

Social CRM has its place and certainly is a fast-growing service channel, but that doesn’t mean that we diminish the focus on customer service.  If you have ill-equipped, sassy agents answering calls to quickly direct people to serve themselves online, it’s likely that you are pushing disgruntled customers to voice themselves publicly on your Facebook and Twitter pages.  The result makes them a customer service nightmare for your agents monitoring your Social CRM. […]

Social Media Business Intelligence is now available

As you may have noticed, we’ve been talking a lot this month about social media, and how it fits in with business intelligence and customer service. And that’s for good reason — more and more companies are trying to figure out how to navigate and take advantage of these (still relatively new) channels.

In response to that demand, we’ve just announced a new service offering, Social Media BI™, which is now available to our customers. Social Media BI is intended to help organizations move beyond just responding to individual complaints via social networks, and instead use these channels to identify and analyze issues that are creating the most problems for their customers. From there, we can help companies create proactive strategies for managing their social media efforts — and avoid the dreaded reactive approach.

Check out the announcement that we made this week for more information on Social Media BI, and let us know if you have any questions!

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Don’t lose brand control in social media

Don't lose brand control in social mediaCompanies are afraid of losing ‘control’ of their brand message. There are two parts to their fear. One, customers have the freedom to say whatever they want; and, two, that is only that message in the marketplace.  You can see that in part two you as a person responsible for the brand message or customer communications (yes you!) can jump in and be a part of shaping what’s presented in social media.

We already know that #1 is happening. Putting your head in the sand won’t stop it. Don’t let your fear of what customers are saying stifle your willingness to work on part #2. This is where you can become the hero of your customers and business value – offering helpful messages and bringing balance to what is being presented. Plus, you can gain ideas that can help shape your business direction and focus.

The best way to overcome this fear is to engage with customers in a dialogue via social media. Leaving negative comments alone doesn’t make them better, but engaging and solving problems and responding really can. […]

What is Social Media Customer Service?

Social Media Customer Service (or Social Media Customer Care) is not customer service that supports how to use Social Media or answers what is Social Media.  Social Media Customer Service is about customers being served and supported on social media platforms. To help clear up some of the confusion many will just shorten it to Social Customer Service (or Social Customer Care) when they are addressing this specific area of Social Media.

The recent Social Media Customer Service Report conducted by TNS, surveyed more than 1,000 UK consumers and found that 57% of consumers preferred to search online to solve their customer issues, and then interact with customer service on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blogs and forums over any other method. […]

Big Data done right can benefit brands and customers

Everyone is abuzz over the ‘new’ Big Data trend and while most companies are floundering to analyze the data they already have, not to mention the data they have yet to capture, some big brands are setting the bar of customer analytics excellence pretty high.

So what are these brands doing right?  Have they identified the proper analytics people to exploit their data in a useful way instead of falling prey to the skills-gap issues that plague other companies?  Is it the data itself – what they are analyzing, when and how much?  Or are they just internally and departmentally sound and settled thus allowing them to look at the big picture of Big Data?

When companies can look at their data and deduce the relationships between the data sets, it’s the customers that are reaping the immense benefits.  To take a big data for marketing example, I’ve been a card holder at a particular clothing store since 2004.  Because I’m spending money with their credit card they are easily able to track my purchase frequency, what departments I shop in, and can predict what I am likely to buy in the future.  What this means for me is tailor-made marketing including rewards and discounts I’ll actually use.  It’s not just the credit card data; they are looking at my social media habits too.  I ‘like’ their page on Facebook and by pairing my profile information with my city, and crossing that with my credit card billing information and spending, they sent me an email that my local mall was having a sale on sweaters  and gave me a discount if I want to take advantage of the sale.  Result – they are getting more of my business than before. […]

By |February 15th, 2012|Big Data, customer analytics, Social Media Strategy|0 Comments

Customers take their service needs online – how is your social customer service?

Using social media as a self-service channel.Customers don’t really want to pick up the phone to call you.  They would rather not deal with you at all.  And if they have to deal with you, the first instinct is to go online to do so.  In response to this social customer service trend, some companies dedicate specific handles or pages for social customer service, as well as the resources to quickly and efficiently respond to customers.  The companies that understand their customers’ service channel preferences and effectively serve through those channels will create the customer experience to enhance the brand.

Many customers want social customer service and if you’re a company that values its customers, you are working on an effective social customer service strategy now.  The strategy requires more than just reacting and solving the customer’s problem promptly.  What are you doing to proactively push out social customer service solutions?  How are you preventing product and service problems before they start? […]

Do you have a social media strategy to nowhere?

In business we frequently see a very reactive approach when it comes to customer complaints or comments.  If someone tweets something about a product problem you may tweet them back to try and resolve it on a singular level.  But shouldn’t you proactively tweet out a solution to your followers that may be experiencing the same issue but haven’t yet come to you with their comments?

Have you seen the proactive push versus the reaction to customer comments?  Think about the mega super store that had a typo in the discount of their weekly coupon.  They of course realized the mistake as soon as the coupon was printed in the paper because angry customers were calling the company’s call center to say that they were turned away.

Do damage control with those calling, of course, but it doesn’t end with instructing your agents about how to handle the affected callers.  Take the negative customer sentiment and be proactive with a strategy to generate positive sentiment.  Alert the frequent shoppers of the company with an email about the error, tweet about the issue and push the explanation and resolution out through social media channels. […]

Is your call center equipped to quickly respond to negative social media?

When was the last time you woke up and thought, “I can’t wait to have a relationship with my utility company today!”  Probably never.

The truth is, most people don’t care about having a relationship with your company until they’re unhappy with your products and services.  Then they can’t wait to tell their friends and followers in social media about it.  Negative, public customer complaints put companies and call center agents in the position to be reactive with angry customers instead of proactive and positive.  And angry customers force companies to respond and resolve complaints almost immediately putting additional pressure on your already busy call center. When immediate restructuring of call center operations to handle customer complaints in social media can’t be immediately established, how will your call center respond to your disgruntled customers (and their rants in social media channels) quickly and adequately?  How will you stop damage to your brand image online if you call center is either understaffed or ill-equipped to handle customer complains in social media?

We explore the 11 Steps to Social Media Success for Contact Centers in a no-charge ebook.  It is possible for the social customer experience to be a positive one; is this in your customer experience analytic strategy? Customer comments like these can deliver valuable insights:

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