With more than 2 million Twitter accounts established every day, social media presents a host of new challenges and opportunities in the realm of customer relationship management (CRM). People are tweeting not only about their customer service needs but also the good, bad and ugly of the experience that they receive from companies.

According to evolve24, 70 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored -- and the damage can be significant. Gartner estimates that failure to respond via social channels can lead to an up to 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers.

Top companies such as Delta and Zappos have embraced the connection between social media and customer service, with Delta being the first airline in the U.S. to use Twitter as a means for responding directly to customer challenges. Zappos, famous for their outstanding customer service, leverages just about every social platform to engage and build an online community of brand loyalists.

Yet most customer service and IT operations teams face a number of logistical challenges when it comes to responsiveness across social channels:

  • Challenge #1: Vast quantities of social interactions. A critical ingredient for success is the ability to uncover the most relevant interactions and prioritize conversations within large volumes of social data.
  • Challenge #2: Silos of customer information. As a new data stream, incoming social interactions need to be connected to customer service management and reporting engines as well as to other customer data sources -- from CRM to billing to scheduling.
  • Challenge #3: Operational efficiency. Traditionally social channels have been primarily the purview of marketing teams who are not structured for one-to-one customer interactions. As volume increases, companies are moving social customer care to contact center operations.
    Cloud contact center technology is helping to streamline social CRM by overcoming these challenges in ways that have previously been available only to very large companies using highly customized, premise-based systems.

Filter Out the Noise

Companies estimate that up to 80 percent of social media posts are not relevant to customer service specifically, which leaves customer care teams digging through spam. By using technologies that incorporate natural language processing, customer care teams can take control and ensure their agents focus on the most important social items and the most valuable customers.