Is social media important? Yes.
Does your contact center need it? Not necessarily.
Here’s the hard truth: Your contact center still has plenty of room for improvement without even throwing social media into the mix. The IVR menu structure could be tweaked. Response from the backend data dip could be optimized. Speech applications need tuning. Staffing issues need resolution. Quality monitoring is inconsistent. Incorrect screen-pops are becoming a menace. Business intelligence is fast becoming an oxymoron. Etc.
So why are you worrying about social media?
Just because industry analysts and researchers say so? People like Zeus Kerravala of The Yankee Group cannot wait for your company to “get on board with social media,” but in this case the research was tied to Siemens Enterprise, which of course has an interest in selling as many of their social media-capable products as possible. I understand that this is part of the job description and have nothing but respect for guys like Mr. Kerravala, but here is my humble opinion on the whole matter.
Of course, the whole social media craze is spreading like wildfire — much like VOIP, I dare say — but it’s starting to sound like a WMD, or Weapon of Mass Distraction, to contact center operations. There. I’ve said it. Usage of Facebook and Twitter has increased dramatically, but trust me, not a whole lot of these interactions are about business interactions. Most of the time we’re commenting on a friend’s vacation pictures from Mexico (“Awww, so cuuuuuute!”) or tweeting about celebrity gossip (“LiLo gets only 90 days in jail?! #justicefail”). Don’t believe me? Go to Twitter’s website at any time and look at the trending topics. Rarely you’ll find anything relevant to business (e.g. company name, business terms, business buzzwords) on the list… Need more evidence? Listen in on your call recordings and find out what percentage of callers complain about you guys not using social media.
Yes, go ahead and take that deep breath. Do you feel less anxious now?
During my attendance of VoiceCon and ACCE a good portion of workshops and keynotes were dedicated to social media topics. Social media was billed as the next wave of customer engagement and interaction. UC systems, CRM systems, and CTI systems will all need to integrate with social media or risk being marginalized. Contact centers better adopt social media or risk being blamed for trashing a company brand. I saw supervisors under tremendous pressure to learn, devise, and execute a social media plan that I was worried about their health.
Enough already. It’s not the end of the world if your contact center lives in a time warp of 90s technology. My Mom thinks her Luxo-like iMac is the best thing since sliced bread. As long as the technology is doing its job by enabling great customer service to be provided — and need I remind you of the human factor in this equation — then there’s no rush to embrace the buzz of the day.
It would be wise to take a step back and take a hard look at your contact center. I can assure you there will be room for improvement without even mentioning the phrase “social media.”