In an earlier blog post
new approaches to customer services were discussed,
particularly in the context of putting the customer at the heart of
these interactions. This post examines how, as social technologies
become ever more pervasive, organisations must prepare for a
customer service revolution. Gone is the humble letter to a distant
'Customer Relations' department and in are new social
technologies allowing the customer and service provider almost
Transformational customer service
Truly transformational customer service is more than just
successfully handling a disgruntled customer on Facebook or
responding to a Tweet criticising a new product. Herald a new era
for customer relations as the traditional concepts of customer
service are challenged and the power of social media drives forward
a revolution in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). How
organisations harness the data from these social interactions
offers vital input to a truly integrated and valuable CRM
As customers move away from corresponding by letter, fax and
even telephone, customer contact centres are at the heart of these
relationships and the use of technology not only to respond to the
customer but to build new relationships is changing the nature of
these relationships and the very construct of CRM.
Moving away from the transactional
New customer service channels present new challenges. Agents who
respond to the customer who uses an online chat facility to engage
with a call centre or corresponds with them via email must be
trained how to respond effectively. It requires a different type of
relationship to the traditional phone call scenario.
In addition, how organisations harness the data from these
interactions is vital input to a truly integrated and valuable CRM
system. Whilst Salesforce has Chatter and Oracle has social
elements within its new Fusion CRM offering, we're not quite at
the stage where organisations are able to harness this data
effectively to have a single customer view which spans across
This is about organisations moving away from transactional CRM
to something much more revolutionary.
As scripted conversations and response templates become much
less critical, it is essential to empower the frontline contact
centre agents to engage with customers in an entirely different
way. A way in which trust and brand equity is established and
through which a relationship is developed between both the
organisation and the customer. As customers demand faster and more
pro-active customer service this in turn requires more highly
skilled contact centre agents who are able to respond quickly,
appropriately and with authenticity.
Social customer service
Increasingly social media is not just a key service channel but
the service channel of choice for customers. Handling these
interactions in a way which enriches the customer experience and
increases customer value is critical. A global mobile phone
manufacturer now responds to more Facebook posts, Tweets and forum
posts than it takes phone calls, letters or faxes. Customers are
leading the trend and technology is desperately trying to catch
Customer services are going social. Are you ready?
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