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First ever TMC social networking survey.

Recently TMC and Avaya performed the first social networking survey of companies with contact centers and the results were illuminating to say the least. Sixty-nine percent of respondents say they monitor some form of social media and alerts but surprisingly only 43 percent monitor search engine news alerts. Thirty-one percent monitor Twitter, which is about 10 points higher than I expected. Companies who are doing a poor job of listening realize they are falling behind and 55 percent say they will begin to monitor in the next 12 months. A delight to consultants is the fact that 17 percent don't know what to do but they realize they must do something.

Most companies I have had contact with do not have integration between services like Twitter and Facebook and their contact center agents. This correlates with the 10 percent of survey respondents who say they have integration between the two. It should be noted that an additional 34 percent of companies have some of their social networking information connected to the contact center through manual methods such as cut and paste or partially automated integration. At the opposite end, 43 percent say social networking information does not connect with the contact center at all.

"If you acknowledge the need to integrate social media into your call center operations but struggle to make it happen, you're not alone," noted Paul Denay, Global Managing Director of Services and Social Marketing for Avaya. "96% of the organizations polled reported that they have not yet fully integrated social media into their call center"

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Interestingly, a majority of respondents, 59 percent, said 10 percent or less of their staff are trained in social media. The next highest response was 40-50 percent trained, at 9.4 percent, followed by 30-40 percent trained at 8.2 percent.
Which social media is currently getting handled in your contact center?

Blogs                            51
Microblogs (like Twitter)        41
Social Networks (like Facebook)  64
Forums                           50
Comments                         45
Search Engine news alerts        49
Other forms                      25

Notes: Table made from bar graph.


"Call centers should resist the urge to establish separate, dedicated teams to handle social media," added Dunay. "Creating a separate team is inefficient, duplicative, and most importantly cost-intensive. They need to find ways to integrate social data into the daily flow of activity that the call center already handles."
What are your social media monitoring plans for future? (if not
currently monitoring now)

Begin to monitor next 6 month                      31%
Begin to monitor next 12 month                      7%
Not planning on doing anything                     45%
We need to do something but don't know what to do  17%

Notes: Table made from pie chart.


About a third of respondents all said their contact centers handle blogs, microblogs (Twitter), forums, comments and news alerts. A surprise was Facebook where those answering said 44 percent of their interactions are connected to the contact center.

There is an absolutely tremendous amount of information flowing on the internet regarding all companies and those organizations which figure out how to tap into the incredible grassroots enthusiasm the world has for social media will be at a distinct advantage. Companies who not only monitor the web for discussions which pertain to them but who drive their own discussions could very well gain share in the markets they serve. One company to watch is Skittles as they were early to the social media game and at first found some users posting negative comments about the rainbow colored candy. The company retrenched and launched a Web site which encourages users to upload videos of themselves popping the candies into their mouths. Check it out at shareskittles.com.

The world is changing; social media is becoming mainstream media. Ignore it at your own peril.

Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC
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Title Annotation:Publisher's Outlook
Author:Tehrani, Rich
Publication:Customer Interaction Solutions
Date:Apr 1, 2010
Words:628
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