The first workshop on I attended on Monday was “The Social Web: Just Another Chennel?” presented by Bob Furniss (@bobfurniss) and Faith Legendre (@faithlengendre) joined via WebEx. It was one of the many social media focused sessions here at ACCE this week. How to deal with this new interaction channel is very much on the minds of attendees here, many of whom are in a supervisory or management role in their contact centers.
It was a mixed crowd in terms of social media adoption. I sensed a lot of uncertainty and maybe even confusion among the late- and non-adopters. They seemed overly cautious to the impact of opening the social media floodgates. Do I dedicate resources to monitor blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.? What are some social media tools to use? What about the safety of agents (i.e. hostile customers)? What if employees trash the company via social media? How does social media benefit an inbound call center?
Here are my takeaways…
Ignoring SM is not the answer
Social media is here and it’s here to stay. Ignoring it doesn’t solve anything. There are people talking about your brand and your company whether you like it or not. It used to be over the phone with friends and family. Now it’s over Facebook and Twitter, and the audience is 100 times larger.
It’s better to learn about it and decide for yourself whether the time is right for your organization to take any initiative. It’s also better to engage than to ignore, even if yo do not have all the answers. In other words, you want to seize control of the conversation rather than see it spiral out of control by others.
Implement a clear policy
Almost all companies have an official policy on IT asset usage: keep your laptop locked when not in use, do not stop the virus scanner software, do not surf questionable Web sites, etc. It would be wise to construct a clear policy on social media usage as well. If your company decides not to adopt social media, then by all means specify it in an official policy memo or an employee manual.
Training and certification
Not all of your agents may have the personality or qualification to handle social media interactions. Faith really impressed me when she said that Cisco has an initiative to train and certify all of its employees in social media. Cisco obviously takes this very seriously and in turn employees will understand their responsibility with regards to social media engagements.
Think long-term rather than immediate ROI
Just as bad reviews can greatly damage a brand through the propagation of social media, a good review can also exponentially improve a brand. So don’t expect a person to make more purchases in the near future simply because you were proactively engaged in helping him or her with a decision. Instead, think about the good vibe that you’ve “banked” with this customer. This customer is more likely to return as well as recommend your brand to his or her circle of friends and family. But all that will take time, sometimes a long time, to see the positive effects on the bottom line.