“Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned”

Pardon my mangling of that famous line. It’s appropriate though, given the explosion of social media and that communication channel’s accelerated ability to spread word of mouth. In a previous post I discussed the importance of incorporating social media into your customer feedback program, but an effective social media strategy must encompass much more than that.

It’s tempting to treat social media as simply a new contact channel, like email and chat once were. There are significant (and often frustrating) differences though. Unlike other contact channels, social media operates outside of a business’s sphere of direct control. It’s also a public medium. Imagine hundreds of your customers listening in on the phone conversations between your agents and customers. Scary thought… huh?

Social media isn’t going away, so it’s important to have an effective strategy in place for dealing with it. I just read a new white paper from RightNow Technologies that gives some good advice on how to incorporate social media into your contact center.

The first step is to start “listening” to what is being said and implementing a process to bring these conversations into your organization. The next step is a little trickier. When and how should your agents participate? The paper offers some sound guidance on how to go about answering that crucial question and even provides recommendations on appropriate training for your “social” agents.

Best practices for working with social media in your contact center are also discussed:

·         Listen: You need to know what’s being said and which social media sites are relevant to your business.

·         Profile customers: Gather background information and correlate contact history when possible.

·         Follow social media norms: Understand where social media differs from other communication channels and respect those differences.

·         Know the Terms of Agreement for each site: Sites’ policies differ so you need to know the details.

·         Develop social media guidelines: Provide guidance to your agents on when and how to participate.

·         Stick to principles: Social media is a part of your channel mix, so make sure it follows the guiding principles of your center.

Download the full white paper, Customer Service Meets Social Media – Best Practices for Engagement, to get the details on these best practices and other information regarding social media and the contact center.

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