Social customer experience solutions provider Lithium Technologies is targeting companies that feel overwhelmed by exponential volumes of social media chatter with its new release. Called Lithium Response, the application is designed to allow brands to monitor and engage in relevant social media conversations without having to employ a small army of social media agents.

Automation Eases Social Media Management

Lithium Response works by sifting through posts on major social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, looking for comments, questions or concerns regarding a particular brand’s products and services. The solution then automatically categorizes relevant comments, routes them to self-service options when possible, and delivers the remaining posts to live agents in a prioritized manner. Lithium is further enhancing its social media management functionality through a new partnership with VMware that integrates the entire Lithium software suite with the Socialcast by VMware enterprise social network. Socialcast by VMware is a social collaboration tool that allows companies to create secure internal social networks.

Keeping track of social media commentary to avoid embarrassing mishaps like that experienced by Bank of America last fall, when as reported by the New York Times it had to reverse a public decision to charge debit card fees based on huge negative backlash from social media users, has been a concern of corporate America for some time. As reported in Retailer Daily, Best Buy has been conducting a sophisticated Twitter-based CRM program known as "Twelpforce" since summer 2009, with more than 500 employees monitoring and responding to consumer tweets regarding Best Buy.

However, most companies do not have the type of resources an entity the size of Best Buy has to manually keep track of their social media reputation and step in where necessary. Social media management is really a subset of the larger “Big Data” issue which has attracted a great deal of attention in the CRM world for the past couple of years.

Big Data Becomes Big Issue

Briefly put, Big Data is the combined volume of consumer data generated by social media, mobile devices, automated sensing devices (such as RFID tags), and all the other new channels of customer interaction which have evolved in the past decade. To say this volume is “large” is an epic understatement, and most of it is also useless to brands. But beyond offering brands the opportunity to mine for relevant customer comments and concerns, Big Data also provides brands deeper insight than has ever been available into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends.

In January 2012, CMSWire called for a streamlining of Big Data, predicting that “Customer Experience Orchestration platforms which do nothing but broker the user’s experience across all channels- online and offline,” will arise. While there are currently no commercially available systems that streamline Big Data to this extent (the new Google BigQuery solution appears impressive but cannot handle transactional data), applications like Lithium Response that help companies attack the social media side of Big Data are becoming increasingly common. It is too early to say whether Lithium Response will prove to be the exact social media management tool companies are looking for, but Lithium is certainly playing in the right ballpark.