This article appears in the Summer 2018 digital issue of DOCUMENT Strategy. Subscribe.

Today’s consumers aren’t satisfied with simply “liking” a brand or other simple exchanges on their social channels. They expect actual interaction from these companies. If they have an issue with a company’s product or service, they’re heading to social media to let the world know about their problem. Since a brand’s response is inherently sharable and can go viral in minutes, managing these customer care experiences is vitally important.

Organizations need to go beyond canned messages, like “call us” or “we’re sorry,” that lack any sort of context or resolution. Firms can avoid social media snafus and build stronger brand identities by using analytics to provide context-based and personalized responses. The level of care and the information provided by the customer care team should be consistent across all channels, whether it’s phone, chat, or social. Therefore, companies should move social media-based inquiries away from marketing departments and into their customer engagement centers—where they can apply analytics to every channel for consistent messaging, faster response times, and happier customers.

Some analytics solutions can capture every spoken and typed word and turn that content into categorizable data for analysis (including social media content like emojis and shorthand to determine true intent). These solutions can identify customers, categorize every interaction, and work across all contact channels, which involves capturing ticket ID numbers or customer data from phone, chat, email, or social contacts. As a result, companies can look at the entire customer journey, including social media interactions.

“Companies should move social media-based inquiries away from marketing departments and into their customer engagement centers.”

This analysis allows them to also review agent performance, uncover underperforming agents, or identify if some agents are better suited to handling certain channels. Centers can also employ capabilities for “intelligent routing,” where specific agents will receive certain calls, social media questions, or emails based on their data-driven performance. This routing can be delineated by topic area as well. For example, some agents may be best suited to handle angry customers, while others excel at technical questions.

Companies can use analytics to spot problems in real time as well. For example, if a flood of emails, online chats, and social media posts all discuss a similar problem, the team can be alerted to the broader issue.

Beyond looking at content transcription services, companies should also look at analytics tools that monitor brand mentions on social channels and then builds sentiment analysis about those mentions (whether it’s positive or negative). This broader context is valuable for everyone in the organization and provides customer care teams with proactive insights into their current customer pain points.

Social media-based care is important, but firms should only offer this capability if it’s fully staffed and informed by data analytics. Encouraging customers to ask questions on Twitter or Facebook and then responding with automated replies—or not responding at all—is a recipe for trouble. Companies should treat social media inquiries the same as those made by phone or email—training a response team that uses analytics for continual improvement across the customer journey.

Scott Kendrick has 20 years of experience in software product management, design, and marketing, working with shrink-wrap consumer applications to enterprise cloud solutions. Scott holds a BScE in Civil Engineering from Queen’s University and is certified in Pragmatic Marketing and SCRUM. Follow him on Twitter at @scottakendrick or visit
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