Welcome to The Evolution of Call Centres where I round up some of the more interesting and appealing news stories from the world of Call Centres, Cloud Computing and Hosted Contact Centres, sometimes adding a little commentary but always grouping the stories together in easy to digest snippets of information, knowledge, insight and ideas.
Social Media complaints
An interesting article here on Call Centre Helper about social media in the contact centre.
Changing The Social Media Conversation
On a personal level I'd like to see more posts about the pro-active use of Social Media in customer service, like this, or this. Much of the talk on Social Media it is at times overhyped and focussed on dealing with complaints. There is a lot of pro-active customer service being conducted via social channels which is often overlooked.
One of the problems with much of the talk on Social Media is that there's an assumption that every rogue tweet or facebook status will go Viral, especially so if the follower has a large number of immediate followers. In reality many tweets come and go, but does that mean you shouldn't respond to them.
Shouldn't we approach social media just like any other communication channel? A complaint is a complaint, no matter what communication channel it comes through.
Sure, the potential reach is bigger in the social sphere, but we've not yet developed the calculations or heuristics to detect the triggers of viral content. Have we yet worked out why a piece of content does go viral and/or how to predict, and more importantly, guarantee a viral response?
From the research I've done around complaints that go viral via social media, I can't help but conclude two things:
1. The complainant has often tried alternative channels, like call centres, before resorting to ranting via a social channel. Mitch Joel wrote about the irony of this here.
2. Most complaints, if dealt with in a responsive, helpful and compliant manner...soon diminish any negativity the original complaint once contained, leaving the complainant often happy with the resolution.
I'm not alone in thinking that traditional channels of communication need to be improved to offer the same level of service as social channels. A good post on that very topic is here.
This author here turned to Twitter after 5 Months of going through the traditional channels. Would they have if they had their original complaint resolved?
A good article here on why the psychology of complaining is becoming more commonplace because of Twitter, but the big take-away is that many Tweets aren't as impacting or viral as many people believe. Storm in a tea-cup is the phrase I hear being mentioned by many social media analysts when talking about complaints via social media.
Research here states that very few people actually complain via social channels, so what's really happening?
It's clear no-one truly has the right answer when it comes to understanding the impact social media will have on the contact centre. It also seems to me that those who try to retrospectively add social channels to their contact centre/customer service channels are potentially missing the real reason social media is important.
What is clear though is that some companies are engaged on social channels AND traditional channels; combining the two and generating an ethos of great service. I believe this combination will be the winning formula for both reactive and proactive customer service. There is still a lot of experimentation with social channels in the traditional contact centre. It's clear we should be active in social media, but the exact rules of engagement will take time to settle in to a series of standards.
The companies who have great service at the core of their business will almost certainly succeed......not matter what the channel.....right?
This is a really good post on why consistent support is important. Some really good break downs on the elements of support and how the higher level business needs to encourage good support and training. Another good and spooky Halloween post here on the inconsistency found in call centres.
A short but interesting blog here on how to make customer service matter behind the scenes. As an advocate of stories and storytelling I particularly like point 3.
Being able to solve your own problems without having to call the support desk is a major plus point for many customers. An active forum of members and customers is a great solution, but these take time to build and require an investment of time from the business. Another option would be to have a FAQ page and/or a knowledge base system. Here is a good post on how to make a killer FAQ page.
This is a really good post on how to remove the barriers to effective communication.
Trust but verify
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About Rob Lambert
Rob has been with NewVoiceMedia since March 2010 and works as our Test Manager within Development. His blog will feature software testing with various posts about the hosted telephony market and changes to our domain. Outside of work he loves nothing more than spending time with his wife and three children. He also helps run an online testing community and is the editor of "The Testing Planet".Read more from Rob Lambert