Why contact centres need to embrace social media


As the number of channels consumers can use to reach out to and communicate with businesses rises, companies need to prepare themselves accordingly by upgrading their legacy contact centre solution. In particular, with more people leveraging social media for these purposes than ever before, organizations should make sure their customer service representatives can handle that influx.


In the past, all a company needed to do was equip their customer service reps with a landline telephone, creating the original call centre. IP telephony changed this configuration, but still the basic underlying call centre structure remained. As the number of channels increased to include portals like email, instant messaging and video conferencing, the call centre began to embrace unified communication, morphing into the modern contact centre.


This shift is far from over, however, as the latest technology to disrupt this paradigm is social media. With more people flocking to sites like Twitter and Facebook every day, naturally these individuals are more frequently using these mediums to facilitate business-to-consumer interactions. For example, Ottawa Police Constable Pete McKenna recently live tweeted from the city’s 911 contact centre, and the hashtag he used for the event became the top trending one in Canada at the time, the Ottawa Sun reported.


“A large volume of interactions are now coming into organizations directly via social channels, and increasingly customers who start in a traditional servicing channel, such as a contact center, are turning to social media if they do not receive the answer they want from an organization – their issue will be addressed more quickly by ‘going social’ because companies fear social media’s ability to turn a small issue or unaddressed concern into a viral PR disaster, a dangerous trend that needs to be addressed,” stated a Research and Markets report from earlier this year.


Accounting for this shift with improved technology
While McKenna’s efforts illustrate the power of social media and what kind of impact it can have on customer relations and the contact centre, most organizations have yet to include these channels in their outreach efforts in a meaningful way. Since social media interactivity is so new and in part because many companies think incorporating these channels requires a burdensome technology upgrade, the vast majority of enterprise firms remain reticent to fully incorporate social media into their customer service strategies. Research and Markets estimated that up to 80 percent of companies will not invest enough in social media due to these lingering fears.


“The phone may play second fiddle to social media in the near future: this report predicts that service-oriented social media interactions will surpass phone calls in the next five years,” the research report said. “Many companies will resist building a social media servicing strategy and technology infrastructure until, perhaps, a customer backlash occurs.”


Effectively incorporating social media into customer service efforts may require an IT infrastructure design upgrade, but implementation of this kind of contact centre solution is a seamless process when done by FlexITy. As one of Canada’s largest managed services companies, FlexITy has the skills and expertise needed to help organizations fully maximize their chosen contact centre solution.