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.

For example, if a popular tweet that mentions your brand is retweeted multiple times, it is highly unlikely that any of those retweeters require a response. This is where filtering can automatically tag retweets as spam so agents don’t need to sort through duplicative posts manually. Agents spend more time working on actionable items instead of wasting time on less relevant chatter.

Create Context

Filtering can also help companies prioritize social posts based on sentiment and relevance, allowing them to respond quickly to the customers that matter the most. Beyond filtering, it is beneficial to go a level deeper to address specific topic groupings, sentiment by customer type, or the level of social and overall influence. Adding deeper social analytics gives agents the context they need to respond more specifically to customers who reach out via social channels.

Modern social CRM workflow should automatically prioritize social messages with the context of a customer’s history with an organization. By connecting new social data with a CRM system, you can create a single repository of data that provides actionable intelligence on every customer. For instance, agents can access to social background information -- such as the author’s social interaction history -- enabling agents to have intelligent context for customer response. The technology supports the human interaction between agent and customer for a targeted and customized experience based on an entire history of profile data. Ultimately the contact center becomes an invaluable resource for customer insights by combining social interaction data with other customer service channels and further connecting to customer service metrics, quality monitoring and voice of the customer surveys.

Look to the Cloud

Cloud contact center systems are not only better equipped to scale to meet the escalating volume of social interactions, but they are designed to seamlessly integrate with existing customer service applications like CRM. This integration empowers the contact center to serve as the central hub for all social customer care to ensure a consistent experience regardless of channel. Frequently social interactions are transferred to other customer care channels such as self-service, email, chat or voice. With access to all communication channels and data sources, agents can have authentic one to one conversations and resolve issues efficiently.

Customers want timely response and positive resolution. Companies want customer satisfaction and positive social mentions -- but not at the cost of efficiency. Cloud technology and social CRM can operationalize social customer care so that companies realign their systems and operations around customer preferences. Brands that listen and respond through social media are not only providing another channel for customers to reach them, but providing a level of customer service that drives customer loyalty -- which is always at a premium.