Social media is ingrained in the global population. Worldwide, the number of users at the start of 2019 has grown to almost 3.5 billion and in the UK alone there are 45 million social media users. This equates to 67% of the population. Of these, 39 million are mobile social media users.
With social media firmly cemented in our daily lives, it’s no surprise that we, as customers, are further utilising those channels to gain quicker and more personalised engagements with brands, with the full expectation that those brands are listening.
Historically, companies have used social media for building brand awareness and marketing. But now, thanks to advancements with customer service platforms, social media is fast becoming every business’ best kept tool for customer support, reputation management, and personalised engagements with customers – on their terms. 1 in 3 social media users prefer social media customer care services to telephone or email making it a key differentiator for brands.
Drive deeper engagement
There has never been a better time for businesses to harness social media as a customer communications channel. Social media platforms allow brands to deliver real time, superior customer service efficiently, proactively and with a more complete level of personalisation than other channels, across multiple time zones.
By leveraging social media channels, brands can dive deeper engagement and, coupled with advancements in technology, can make their responses unique and personal to the individual customer. As Accenture reports, 75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences.
Social media for efficiency
To deliver a superior experience across all the channels, having a single customer view is imperative; regardless of which route of contact the customer takes into the contact centre. Today’s customer journey seamlessly moves between the channels; be that social, email, SMS, text, or web chat, agents should have a one-stop-shop for all of their customer interactions in order to provide fast, and accurate resolutions first time, across an all-in-one interaction management platform.
A single view platform makes it easy to consume multiple cloud-based solutions in a single location. It can drive productivity and elevate the customer experience to a new level without worrying about costs, infrastructure, or licences. It can provide all the tools needed to deliver an excellent customer experience, including workforce optimisation, to increase efficiencies and employee engagement and performance analytics to deliver actionable insights on response times and effectiveness.
AI enabled customer service technology, such as Google’s AI enabled contact centre solutions, in partnership with Mitel, have the ability to route social interactions in the same way as all other media. Routine tasks/questions can be managed by a virtual (AI) agent and, if needed a real-life agent can be brought into the conversation.
Harnessing AI powered, rich data analytics can further offer valuable insights that can be used to enhance, improve and personalise the customer experience and even predict what the customer wants before they even know it. Machine learning algorithms can learn and anticipate customer needs from context; customer history and preferences, with the further possibility of capturing insights from infinite online data to determine how the customer will choose to engage.
Empowered agents through AI
By leveraging AI enabled solutions into their business models, businesses will observe immediate ROI through increased employee productivity. The use of Virtual Agents accelerates and automates enquiries offering solutions and options at speed, while the Contact Centre staff are free to manage the more challenging and comprehensive tasks, and exceed customer expectation with a better, ‘intelligent’ and more efficient service. Agents stay connected through mobile optimised platforms and can work from anywhere using a smartphone.
By harnessing social media as a contact centre channel alongside embracing AI, smart businesses will reap the benefits of delivering exceptional social media customer service, from deeper customer engagement, insight and learning, to increased sales and positive endorsements from socially happy customers.
About the Author
Nick Beardsley is Enterprise Director at Olive Communications, the UK’s fastest-growing provider of unified communications and managed cloud solutions to high-growth SME and enterprise businesses.
Nick is an industry expert in developing transformative growth strategies for some of the UK’s best-known brands, both nationally and internationally. Focused on streamlining business operations, cost optimisation and driving cultural change in the modern workplace, he places an ultimate focus on delivering tangible customer service and experience improvements.