Customer contact vendor Aspect Software is joining the social media bandwagon. The Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based company has announced its cloud-based Aspect Social, a partnership with Lithium Technologies that provides tools for contact center agents to engage with customers via social media.

Aspect’s chief marketing officer Jim Freeze said in a statement that “most companies today simply monitor social media conversations on marketing campaigns or promotions” in social media, occasionally responding to them. But, he noted, organizations need to “embrace social media as a vital, two-way channel that can amplify their ability to deliver a differentiated customer experience” as customers increasingly express their complaints and needs via social media.

Social Dynamx

In addition to customer contact software, Aspect provides enterprise workforce optimization. The partnership will utilize the Lithium Social Web product that Lithium recently acquired when it bought Social Dynamx.

In October of last year, social customer experience provider Lithium announced its purchase of Social Dynamx, whose enterprise social customer platform is designed to help companies join in social conversations with their customers via websites and public social networks.

At the time of the purchase, Social Dynamx said its platform could improve agent productivity more than 25 percent. Lithium noted that a Maritz Research study from late 2011 showed 70 percent of brand-related complaints on Twitter were ignored by those brands.

Conversation Management, Metrics

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Mike Betzer, senior vice president for Lithium Social Web, recently told news media that Aspect “shares our vision of seamless social customer experience.”

Learning Opportunities

For Aspect Social, that vision includes a role-based user interface with specific features and access levels for agents and managers, and the use of patented algorithms to score social media posts for sentiment, relevancy, action-ability and auto-assignment to the most appropriate agent.

There’s also advanced conversation management for following a conversation thread instead of only posts, metrics that can track against service level agreements for such criteria as handle times and resolution rates, an ability to proactively provide information about brand changes to social consumers, and integration with CRM systems.

Aspect’s adoption of social media tools is the latest in a wave of integration between social media tools, contact center systems, and CRM software, including streams of updates, acquisitions and new releases from Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, HootSuite, Kana and others.

This year, we can expect a growing second wave, as these integrated tools take advantage of analytics/big data and a wider integration with other enterprise systems, and vendors begin to differentiate their social offerings for managing customers.