Tweet versus toll-free
Minhaj Zia, National Sales Manager -Collaboration, Cisco India and SAARC
In what appears to be the first of its kind, a subscriber of a telecom service has been served legal notice for voicing his concern over the 'quality of service provided', on a social media site. While the logic behind the defamation notice is being questioned, what this means is that the explosion of the social web- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube- has empowered consumers to engage in an increasing number of online conversations and interactions where they talk about the companies with which they do business. Examples like the above also indicate that customer care is undergoing a major transition and the way in which customers prefer to interact with companies is changing substantially.
As per findings of the research firm Ovum, 44% of tech-savvy, mostly urban, Indian users use social media to complain about bad service. An Experian study suggests that social media accounts for 13.16% of the total Internet visits by these users in India and is led by Facebook. Twitter is also fast catching up with the trend. According to an Alexa data release, India ranks in the list of top 10 countries in terms of Twitter users, contributing around 6.5% of the site's total traffic.
This means businesses in consumer-facing sectors (such as automotive, packaged consumer goods and retailing) need to reconsider their marketing and advertising strategies in light of the shift away from traditional media. For marketers today, there is a greater need for transparency and consistency in communication across platforms, be they traditional or social media, and at the same time be responsive to customers across each of them.
Social media and business benefit
Keeping the above needs in mind and in order to grow their business, organizations today are reaching out to customers with targeted social media marketing activities specifically intended to create engagement, such as editorial commentary on blogs, useful product-related information, and even contests, while customers reach out to them for assistance through social media.
Organizations that capture, analyze, and priorities customer conversations originating in the social web and respond to them in an organized and measureable way are confident of reaping significant business benefits and moving steadily to higher levels. Many of them have assigned customer care staff with the specific goal of providing these services on social channels.
By taking advantage of social media for business intelligence, organizations are today able to capture the input gathered on social channels and distribute the information to relevant team members within the enterprise to build a virtuous feedback loop where customer feedback facilitates organizational performance breakthroughs.
Social media monitoring
However, given the vastness of the web and the kinds of conversations that take place there, organizations seek the help of social media monitoring tools to enable them to monitor, organize and priorities customer posts that originate online, and proactively respond to them in real time, by using the same social network that the customers use.
Social media monitoring tools that disseminate alerts in real time allow company executives to take action and provide effective solutions to various consumer grievances. Since these tools have the ability to search for customer postings on the public social web about a company's products, services, or area of expertise, companies find it easier to respond to queries around them. Filtering of social contacts based on pre-configured filters helps to conduct more focused searches on topics of interest to organizations.
The need of the hour is for social media monitoring tools that help routing of social contacts to skilled customer care representatives or to experts in the enterprise so that organizations are able to handle responses to customer postings originating in the social web through shared work queues, in a much better way.
Going forward, detailed metrics for social media customer care can help organizations to realign their activities, reports, and teams to provide a quicker, effective customer response via Twitter, Facebook, or other public forums and blogging sites. This empowers organizations that are proactively engaging with customers via social media to contribute to customer delight, foster brand advocates, enhance their service and experience the benefits of competitive differentiation.