Much is being written about the impact of social media on customer service, although my research into the agent desktop shows it hasn’t reached the fever pitch that many commentators would have us believe. It is true that the number of consumers using social media and as a consequence the volume of posts are astronomical. But I wonder how many of these posts actually have to do with customer service and how organizations filter out the relevant ones to help them decide on customer service policies and the appropriate action to take.
During a recent briefing representatives from SoCoCare told me about its product Social CIM, which supports a socially oriented performance management process whose steps the company terms “listen, filter, tag, prioritize, evaluate, act, respond.” The product has all been developed from the ground up by SoCoCare and runs in the cloud. Social CIM can capture social media posts from a variety of sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It then uses an in-house developed natural-language processing engine and a rules-based engine to determine the content of the post and its relevance to the user organization. In this way it can filter out what SoCoCare calls spam, which in this context means posts that are not relevant or not actionable to the organization. The product then uses the rules engine to tag the post (for example, as a complaint, a threat to leave or a positive comment) and help decide where to route it for action, typically to specialist agents in the contact center. SoCoCare says the rules engine is self-learning so over time it will recognize patterns, types of posts and actions and use these to improve the rules going forward.
The product can be set up to push posts to a specific agent or agents can use a Facebook-like user interface, which I think will help gain user acceptance of the product, to see what posts need to be handled and choose which one to process. Social CIM contains tools that support agents responding to a post. An on-screen window provides a view of previous interactions in time sequenceso the agent can put the current post in the context of previous interactions, the rules engine can suggest a best action or prepopulate responses, and Facebook-style collaboration enables agents to collaborate on a response. These capabilities help agents respond to interactions effectively. There also are various personalized dashboards that show individual agents how they are performing against targets.
Our benchmark research into business technology innovation shows that social media is not yet as high a priority as other emerging technologies, in fact ranking last among six choices, as the chart shows. Nevertheless the use of social media is so widespread that companies need to make sense of how it fits in their overall customer service strategy. Doing this wisely requires first understanding what is happening and then taking action. With respect to social media this means first using tools that show which posts are relevant and then deciding how, or whether, to respond. In this way companies can determine the place of social media in their customer engagement processes. As they look at taking such steps, I recommend they assess how SoCoCare can support such initiatives.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director