Could social media be your virtual call center?

Posted in Social Media and tagged

Social Media: Your Virtual Call Center

Call center technology used to revolve around a cubicle, a telephone queue system and a script. Pretty simple. Walk into one of those call centers and you’d hear phones ring endlessly.

Thanks to the advent of cyberspace, social media and the cloud, the concept of the virtual call center has dramatically evolved.

How has social media influenced call center metrics?

There have been studies detailing efficiencies in utilizing social media. Social media call center integration is crucial to your business. And here’s why:

You can reach your customers now.

A workday used to consist of being at your desk and waiting for the phone to ring. Every now and then, a customer would have a question or an issue requiring a solution, so they would reach out via the customer service number. This is (and continues to be) a nightmare for call center management as this model lends itself to issues with ROI and operator down time.

That is an outmoded way of doing business, and it’s no great mystery as to why. In this era of extensive social media outlets, you can reach more of your target market by being active and approaching them yourself through any number of applications such as Twitter, Facebook, chat networks, etc. It’s safe to say that on any given day, more people are on Facebook than on the phone.

You think that’s a stretch? Mashable conducted a survey and stated that 62% of customers use social media for customer service inquiries. Take a look at American Express, one of the most successful credit card companies in the world – 46% of users take on social media as a medium for word-of-mouth advertising to express their issues about poor customer service! Any company interested in staying afloat would want to keep tabs on that kind of negative advertising, and would combat it using the same outlet.

Nowadays, it has been proven that a more proactive approach to customer service and sales delivers not only the same metrics in call handling, call volume and customer service quality, but is also attributed to better customer retention. By being easily reached with only a few clicks of the mouse, you are showing your customers that you are committed to their care. And nothing makes a customer feel better than that. It encourages repeat business, leading to a heftier financial bottom line for the company.

It’s a growing medium.

Not every business out there utilizes it – yet. So take advantage of the opportunity to stand out and connect with a new customer base. Take a gander at these metrics on the success of social media marketing and corporate techniques to revitalize call center operations: 49% of companies actually track their customers and actually respond through the use of social media, while 28% of companies still rely on the traditional call center IVR system. Well, that settles it. The technology is growing. And your business needs to grow with it!

It also allows for better preparation and forecasting.

With social media interaction rapidly expanding, your company may find better estimations of what to expect in terms of performance measurement and industry standard development.

It was projected that by the middle of 2013, 65% of customer service transactions would be handled right in the cloud, which includes social media outlets, online communities, Google searches and plenty of automated self-service web sites designed to give the customers control in having their needs met. It seems pretty clear when you think about it, and the proof is in the statistical evidence. Customers who are given the power to make choices and handle situations themselves through immediately-accessible resources will experience a greater level of satisfaction.

Likewise, given all the options available with social media, customers won’t have to waste precious time in queue on the phone, waiting for an operator to address their needs. In that respect, social media could be the next big thing in call center thinking, representing a paradigm shift from live agents answering calls to live agents responding to social media posts.

The insight is there. Social media.

It’s inbound call center optimization at its best. Taking the 1-way concrete street and turning it into a 2-way cyberspace information superhighway is definitely the way to go for call center performance standards.

So hurry up and get on board. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are waiting!

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Specialty Answering Service is a leading call center company, helping fast-growing businesses close sales and deliver amazing live customer support 24 hours a day. SAS' friendly virtual receptionists and customized call handling create an outstanding virtual office experience. There are thousands of small businesses already using our services. Try SAS for free today.

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