Outsource Issue 23 - (Page 35)
feature SOCIaL MeDIa
Does “social” equate to more or fewer opportunities for outsourcers?
Martin Schneider, SugarCRM Martin Schneider is Senior director of communications, SugarcRM. Martin handles competitive intelligence, marketing positioning and press/analyst relations; he was previously news editor with CRM Magazine in New York
have recently discussed how the cloud can bring opportunities for outsourcers. In many ways, the cloud is the breeding ground for the recent explosion of interest and use of social media. While still primarily being utilised by individuals, many business-use cases have popped up that leverage social media. One of the key perceived benefits of social media for businesses is that it enables larger businesses to act like small businesses and connect in the cloud with customers using social media or collaborative tools. Large organisations can add a more personal user experience to their online operations, stripping away layers of bureaucracy when it comes to resolving customer problems.
Adding iT up
While the ability for one individual to reach many with social media cannot be denied, this model makes the most sense in an outbound or sales & marketing scenario. For support operations, there are efficiencies to be gained, but true personalised social engagement cannot be done in a generic, mass message model. Complaints and product issues will be unique to individuals, and organisations need to scan social networks for these messages as well as build in tools to alert agents of potential issues. This takes manpower. In addition, the “business hours” of social media are not set and easy to staff. A customer can complain on Twitter while your home-sourced agents are off duty. That complaint gets re-tweeted and picked up by more and more customers – and by the time your in-house agents are back at work, your product failure has gone viral – with millions aware of your shortcoming.
Staffing for this type of scenario can be complex, and expensive, if done with traditional in-house call centre or support agents. However, using a flexible, scalable-when-needed outsourced team, organisations can protect their online brands with less financial resources.
build oFF esTAblished plATForms
Just as I believe the best cloud platforms are open, scalable and flexible, those looking to include social engagement to outsourced offerings must think about the platform they use. By melding a strong, flexible call centre/CRM tool with social data, agents can gain a better view of who they are speaking to, and prioritise social engagements based on lifetime customer value, etc. With a solid platform in place that can adapt to changes in the way consumers aggregate and express themselves in the social media world, outsourcers can ensure they are well prepared to deliver for their customers regardless of the social media destination.
Trouble or opporTuniTy?
For many companies providing an outsourced customer-facing process, social can seem a scary proposition. After all, allowing businesses to directly connect with customers would seem to obviate the need for outsourced call centre agents. However, when looking more closely at the reality of social media engagement and escalation, the need for an intermediated model for larger organisations becomes clear. Indeed, the larger the organisation, the more it makes sense to leverage outsourced assets in a social engagement strategy.
FleXible FronT-line deFenCe
The above is an extreme case. However, with inventive part-time and “around the clock” approaches to outsourced, humanpowered social media engagement, companies can ensure that there is always a “first line” of defence focused on defusing any potential social media flare ups.
Social media does not have to be a problem spot for a provider of outsourced customer support. In fact, the very nature of social media can open up a lot of opportunity for a flexible provider of outsourced services.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Issue 23
Outsource Issue 23
News & Comment
More Than Just A Headcount
Call Centre Technology
Cutting Through The Noise
All In The Genes?
It’s Time For Contact Centres To Get Socially Responsible
Right From The Start
All In The Game
Relationship Management Centres
A New Reckoning?
The Music of Outsourcing
Top Ten Tips
The Legal View
HfS: New outsource Partner
The Last Word
Outsource Issue 23