Social networks provide a way for you to reach out to others, shake hands so to speak, and meet others face to face online.  Social media is also a very powerful tool for providing optimal customer service that goes far beyond the traditional systems.

Today’s technology-oriented consumer is using social media for many facets of their life including consumer experiences with products and services. In the event you haven’t noticed, social media users are constantly expressing their opinions and recommendations on products and services which they use from businesses in which they interact…

This can be a tremendous source of insight for businesses, however, if it is not handled properly, customer feedback on social media sites can easily transpire into a public relations nightmare.  Therefore, in recent years, social media has been brought to the forefront and plays a critical role in providing excellent customer service.

In this article, we will look at how social media is changing the way businesses are interacting with customers, improving customer service, and enhancing customer satisfaction.

What Does Social Media Have to Do with a Call Center?

Not too long ago marketing strategies used by businesses were essentially a one-size-fits all approach designed to continually drive more information to customers and potential prospects.  However, this strategy is no longer working with the socially oriented consumer.

Instead, businesses are rethinking their marketing strategies to actively engage with their customers. As a result, they are establishing two-way communications which go above and beyond the traditional phone call or “snail mail” letter.

In some cases, the communications are facilitated three ways since customers are being encouraged to communicate with one another.  But, what does this have to do with a call center?

The answer to this is…everything!  The modern call centers are equipped with the latest technologies that offer advanced capabilities which help to establish a major communications hub for consumers.

In addition to managing the traditional inbound and outbound calls, call centers are now designed to deliver additional services such as live chat, social media monitoring and interaction, and advanced email services.  This is accomplished through the use of new technology platforms such as SharePoint which help customer service teams to easily manage customer requests and interactions.

This provides businesses with advanced infrastructures that empower customer service staff by enabling them to provide the social media engagement customers demand while offering a comprehensive support system of services.

It also allows organizations to access to advanced reporting capabilities and analytics which offer the business intelligence necessary to provide customers with a personalized experience in a socially oriented environment.

What Defines a Quality Customer Experience Using Social Media?

According to a recent definition in Wikipedia, a quality customer service experience is, “The sum of all experiences a customer has with a particular business in terms of goods and services during the entire term of their relationship with the organization.”

The consumer relationship extends over a period of time from the point the customer becomes aware of a product or service as a potential prospect to being converted to an actual customer.

The initial inception as a customer is then followed by customer interaction, upsells, product use, customer feedback, and finally, advocacy for a product which is backed by excellent ongoing customer service.

A business which completely understands this process leverages social media to extend customer service to other aspects which influence the consumer’s perception and opinion about a particular product.

For example, let’s say that your business sells bright purple paint.  The customer then paints a building on their property with the paint.  When they begin to get reactions from the neighbors, it will almost certainly trigger a debate and discussion which may be positive or negative but, for which party?  Some may like the color and others who tend to be resistant to change probably will not like the color.

The above scenario may impact the customer’s decision whether or not to purchase or recommend the product.  It will also impact the neighbors who see it and discuss it.

On the other hand, what if you reduce the price for paint with inferior ingredients and the customer’s house starts to exhibit peeling paint?  This will likely produce a negative reaction from all neighbors as opposed to a discussion or debate, even if you advertised the paint has having environmentally friendly ingredients.

Although this may be a ludicrous example, the bottom line is to show the extent of the potential impact of something which may be out of the business’ direct control.  However, if you do not consider the aspects which may be out of your control, you are not looking at the sum of the customer’s experience.

This means the total customer experience requires a business to consider all interactions including those which reach all the way to suppliers and vendors.  This is because all components add up to the bottom line which is the sum or total of the customer experience.

What Tools Are Available to Provide a Total Customer Service Experience?

Businesses that understand how to provide a total customer service experience are leveraging social media to accomplish excellence service and customer satisfaction.

Although there are many ways that social media makes customer service enhancements easier, it is still not an easy task.  For this reason, many businesses are turning to new technologies and platforms to manage and monitor multiple tasks from a single interface.

There is a host of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms available which offer advanced tools for managing social media in customer service.

Software platforms and services such as SharePoint can provide power applications for managing the entire customer experience, this application from our CRM being a prime example.

Here are some of the ways the advanced tools can increase efficiency for customer service in addition to productivity within your company.

1. Customer Service and Support:  SharePoint integrates with other CRM applications to provide enhanced customer service and support requests by using tools such as problem, incident tracking, product information requests, product upgrades and releases, complaints, order status inquiries, product returns, and more.

Since the features are readily accessible from one location, staff productivity is improved and customer satisfaction is increased.

2. View Cross Department Information:  Instead of having to shuffle information across multiple departments, customer service is improved by using tools which allow your team to view support activity across departments, individual accounts, and various products.  This reduces the problem of miscommunication which often results in customer dissatisfaction.

3. Measure Service Levels:  CRM advanced tools allow you to measure service levels to remove the guesswork out enhancing customer service.  The monitoring tools such as reporting and analytics help you to easily identify exactly where changes are necessary including optimizing social media interaction.

This ensures your business is consistently providing the best possible customer service.

4. Customization:  When you provide a personalized customer service experience a one-size-fits-all approach will not meet your needs.  Advanced CRM platforms provide a way to customize the applications to meet specific business requirements for customer service.

In addition to advanced customer service tools, modern technologies such as SharePoint allow business to reach back to suppliers and vendors to ensure a positive total customer service experience.

This is accomplished with advanced modules that cover contract and procurement management, purchase requisitions, finance and administration, asset and equipment tracking, human resource management, and other applications which help to contribute to the bottom line which is excellent customer service and satisfaction.

After all, when the entire business runs efficiently from top to bottom, the end result is improved customer recruitment and retention.  Plus, when socially oriented customer needs are met, this is what keeps current businesses in profitability regardless of the state of the economy.

Post contributed by Chris. He has over 11 year’s extensive experience in customer service consultation and customer relations training. In his spare time, Chris enjoys writing about his experiences and knowledge in the hope that you may find it useful!
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  1. This is an amazingly detailed article. there is no doubt that social media has a big part to play in customer service, but at the some time it is also adding pressure on business who cannot afford to see complaints being submitted on a public domain. Online Brand Reputation is almost more important then your reputation on the high street and many SEO companies are taking advantage of this.

    Thanks for the contribution, it was a good read.

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