Transforming your Contact Center into a Social Media Center

Recently I was chatting with some folks from an organization who desperately wanted to “get their brand started on social media” (After a quick cruise through Radian6, I was able to show them how their customer base had already gotten their brand started. Funny how that social media thing works…).

In reality, their need was to learn how to participate in social media, and augment their customers’ experience of their brand by joining the conversation. But how the heck do you get started?

After some exploration of their organizational culture, seems it wasn’t too difficult for this company to visualize making the leap. They had a contact center in place from which agents would monitor social forums and participate in dialog about the brand. Oh yeah, on that last part: What the heck do the agents say, and how do we control it?

My advice was to have them pool their current customer service agents and find those folks (just one or two to start) who were most engaged with the brand, and who were already adept at using social media. In other words, if the employees were really into the company, and really into Facebook, they were good candidates for a fledgling social media team.

Next, provide some training on interaction on behalf of the brand. This is where it’s surprisingly easy because the standard customer service rules often apply to social media: Be polite, be yourself, and be honest.

The next piece of advice was the hardest for the company to accept: Because you want your agents to be authentic, you can’t control what they’ll say online. Contact centers like to control evry-thing. We control calls down to the second, we control emails word-by-word. We’re all about control. A successful online agent presence, though, requires that management let the agents be themselves, and carry the flag for the brand as well. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be monitored, and that coaching isn’t necessary, but agents need to be allowed to be authentic in order to be taken seriously. Yep, scripted responses are definitely out.

I’ll let you know how it all goes! :-)

Thanks for reading!