By: Barton Goldenberg
A viable action plan in three phases
The Social Media Readiness Assessment is accomplished in three phases; Education and Current State Evaluation, Business Case, and Integration of the Contact Channel into the Social Media Strategy. As the primary customer touch point for most organizations, the contact center should be intimately involved with formulating and executing an enterprise’s social media strategy. However, experts agree that most centers have much to learn if they hope to harness the potential power of social media and drive customer advocacy rather than just respond to online complaints.
At what level are you listening and reacting?
From Twitter to Facebook to YouTube, people worldwide are engaging in an ever-increasing number of online conversations and interactions. Much of that conversation revolves around consumers talking about the products and services they use, and the companies they do business with. These conversations include both positive and negative feedback, and if there is no representation from the company, often contains inaccurate or misunderstood information. Companies need to be actively listening to on-line conversations, and be prepared to quickly react to the content in these conversations. These conversations also contain a wealth of information about customer preferences and competitive products. Leveraging this information is critical to understanding the market and client requirements. Engaging in social media customer service is a journey, with a sensible migration path needed for businesses and organizations that embark upon it. Those who begin the path reap certain benefits, but the true rewards come from those who progress along the path, moving steadily
“Contact centers can embrace social media to get closer to customers, spot trends, identify influencers, and create customer advocates, but they must align with social media norms that reflect an understanding that their organization does not own these sites” says a large CRM provider white paper.
The information we will gather during the engagement will provide answers to five specific questions:
- Where is your company on the Social Media engagement radar screen?
- At what level (1-5) do you currently listen and react to social media postings?
- What are the costs and benefits of integrating the Social Media initiatives with the existing contact channels in the organization?
- What processes and organizational changes have to be made to take advantage of proactive social media customer service benefits?
- What are the logical steps to integrate the contact center with social media portals to achieve potential customer advocacy benefits?
The specific deliverables from the Assessment will address people, process and technology and include: identifying which Social Media channels are optimal for your company’s culture and frequented by your customer base; a detailed migration path for increasing the level of proactive participation in responding to Social Media postings from the contact center; suggested technology tools that can help you monitor on-line conversations and integrate them into your current CRM platform plus a migration plan and organizational change matrix to insure success in the journey.
Once developed and deployed, the Social Media engagement process will maximize the customer interaction rate from all potential business information resources. As part of the Readiness Assessment we will define clear metrics for measuring success. At a high level the value to the organization and measure of success when the social media contact channel team is proactively engaged will be:
Significant improvement in on-line Customer Experience
- Increased multi-channel interaction rate
- Proactive approach to customer care
- Improved loyalty and positive viral “friends and family” impact
Phase One – Evaluation and Recommendations – Tasks & Deliverables
|Kickoff Meeting and Project Plan|
| Establish sponsorship, determine participation Establish milestones and develop communication plan Determine deliverable format and distribution||Identification of:Þ Single Point of ContactÞ Client Project Lead
Þ Contact Center, Marketing and appropriate Business Unit Managers
Þ Access to current Social Media activities and postings
Þ Sponsored project plan with calendar
|of milestones and communication plan|
|Understanding the Current Environment|
| Overall review of current social media environment Determine where Social Media business intelligence will be most effectively utilized in the enterprise Explore feasibility of connecting information portals to existing contact channels and what efforts have been deployed to date to establish a “listening post”.
Establish at what level (1-5) the organization is currently engaged
|Þ Prioritized list of Social Media business information requirements by functional department; marketing, customer service, technology, executive, et alium.Þ Determine current level of Social Media engagement in the enterprise and establish the identified portals as potential contact channels|
|Establish Evaluation Guidelines|
| Present research on what is being said about your organization and where Classify and categorize which social media portals (You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.) are most viable for the organization to gather business intelligence Determine frequency, depth and breadth of portal analysis and alert activity
Determine portal visitor viability to separate “concerned customers” from “squeaky wheels”
|Þ Results of ‘listening”Þ A list of evaluation criteria to determine a portal’s utility in gathering useful informationÞ Using the agreed upon evaluation criteria, develop a process grid for handling different types of feedback
Þ Establish Net Promoter Score (NPS) rating scale for customer comments
|Social Media Channel Evaluation|
| Establish alerting process to discover what customers are saying on blogs (by degree of severity) and how it should be handled in an effective and efficient manner (disposition) Separate blogs and media portals according to “information posts” versus “customer contact channels”||Þ Triaged list of comments will be grouped according to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) criteriaÞ Response criteria will be established to handle both positive and negative comments discovered on blogs|
|Social Media Channel Recommendations|
|¨ Apply channel evaluation best practices to identify the appropriate Social Media portals for inclusion in the contact channel strategy (is it a post or a channel?)¨ Determine how bloggers will respond to being contacted after posting on a portal and categorize what message(s) will be delivered||Þ Social Media portals will be prioritized according to viability and alignment with the company’s culture, product mix and advocacy principlesÞ A list of scripts and responses will be developed for the majority of customer interaction scenarios|
|¨ Develop final report of findings and recommendations from the Phase One¨ Develop and finalize Statement of Work for subsequent phases||Þ Presentation of Phase One findingsÞ Deliver Social Media portal and contact channel integration requirements for Phase OneÞ Deliver Statement of Work, tasks, deliverables for Phase Two and Three|
The activities performed during the Social Media Evaluation phase are critical to the successful completion of the assessment. The next phases cover business case, cost justification and deployment steps of the recommended action plan.
Phase Two: High Level Business Case and Cost Justification
The demand has never been greater for companies to validate and measure the benefits delivered by their increasing investment in social media. Financial metrics are one way of evaluating social media programs and determining the value of integration with existing contact channels. Social media integration delivers a wide range of short and long-term benefits to organizations in ways both quantitative and qualitative. In this phase of the assessment, we will look at the overall objectives to be accomplished using social media, review how these fit in with over marketing and business strategy, and quantify the financial perspective as it relates to integrating social media with the customer service organization. The customer service group provides an existing contact channel for input, community sourced assistance, recommendations and customer relationships. Our effort uses the frequency and viability of Social Media posts from the first phase and assigns a financial value to each visitor. We then assess the cost of integrating the customer service channel to respond appropriately to each customer.
The customer service functions can be potentially impacted by Social Media integration via reduced staff necessary for service and support. For example, when questions can be answered by community members and not just by the company. ROI determination involves demonstrating how social programs have reduced staffing costs and call center investment requirements. The answer to the question “how have social media postings and responses impacted the call and email volume into the contact center” will be investigated.
Phase Two – Cost Justification – Tasks and Deliverables
|Quantify Volume of Social Media Interactions|
|Þ From prioritized portals in Phase One, quantify daily and weekly number of posts and categorize by severity and actionable status||Þ Table showing quantity and quality of posts to Social Media portals and response plan|
|Quantify Financial Impact of Social Media Portal Utilization|
|Þ Calculate Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) based on sales generated or revenue saved across the customer base.||Þ Calculated dollar amount of revenue at risk based using both NPS and CLV formulas|
|Quantify Collateral Impact of Social Media Interactions|
|Þ Determine ricochet (collateral damage) effect of Social Media postings in terms of potential customers exposed to positive or negative comments||Þ Calculated dollar amount of revenue in jeopardy if corrective action is not taken to address problem quickly|
|Cost of Customer Service Response|
|Þ Identify Contact Center FTE requirements to handle Social Media interactions in a timely fashion, adhering to reasonable service levels within the call receipt group||Þ Calculate the gain/loss of integrating the Social Media portals with the Contact Center|
Once we have determined where company ranks in Social Media adoption, identified and evaluated the best Social Media channels used by the customer population, quantified the financial impact of engaging in Social Media interactions, we now have to integrate existing contact channels and establish a migration path for the organization to reach a higher level of progress in the advocacy journey. When best in class companies entered the Twitter space, they did so by listening first. It wasn’t until they understood the medium and how their customers were using it, that they actually went public. Planning and preparation are keys to success in the social space. The final phase of the engagement will prepare the contact center for inclusion of Social Media conversations and establish a migration path for the company to enhance their level of engagement and interaction with the on-line community. The migration path will use the Level 1-5 criteria listed in the beginning of this statement of work to guide the company on the journey. Harnessing this trend will make possible a new generation of customer care experiences the client can use to reach and impact customer perceptions of the company.
Proactive Social Media engagement by agents can help improve satisfaction by allowing customers who blog or post negative comments about a company to receive a response to their post from an agent empowered to take corrective action on an issue, if warranted.
Phase Three – Contact Center Integration – Tasks and Deliverables
|Determine Social Media response Service Levels|
|Þ Identify contact volume from all Social Media sources and establish an internal response time commitment||Þ Develop response chart for call, email, chat and web channel interactions.|
|Develop training curriculum for Contact Center personnel in handling Social Media|
|Þ Review current training materials and enhance the curriculum to include handling Social Media contacts using newly developed industry practices||Þ Once agents are identified for training in Social Media response, prepare them for success by giving them the available tools on the web to search and listen for customer interaction|
|Develop an approved list of responses to the majority of Social Media interactions|
|Þ Social Media interactions legally bind a company to a course of action when responding on a public domain, we will develop a list of appropriate and approved responses will be developed and reviewed by senior management and legal counsel||Þ The approved response list will be incorporated into the training curriculum and on-line agent desktop for efficiently responding to the scenarios presented to the agents assigned to the Social Media team.|
|Incorporate best practices in the Social Media response initiatives|
|Þ Investigate and deploy best practices from the emerging Social Media interaction guidelines.||Þ Examples from a leading edge company include:Þ Buy-in from the executive suite to the cubicleÞ Employee empowerment
Þ Passion for helping customers
Þ Knowledge of the platforms and solid workflows
Þ Teamwork and a long-term strategy