Monday, January 25, 2016

They Said What? Three Tips for Leveraging Social
Media to Bring the Voice of the Customer into the
Call Center

By Katie Laird
Director of Social Marketing and Public Relations

With the rise of Social Media, your customers have a platform to amplify their feelings, needs and wants on a scale that no businesses before us have ever had to contend with.  While the vast majority of businesses understand the importance of listening to their customers online, many still keep this valuable feedback in a silo within their Marketing or PR departments – never to see the light of day in the contact center.

Here are three tips to help you bring the Voice of your Social Customer front and center within your call center so that customer-facing contact center employees may also grow and learn from the candid observations and questions customers share on the social web.

  1. If it matters, visualize it – Be strategic in the way that you communicate information that matters to your organization across your call center floor.  If customer feedback on social media is important to your leadership, make sure the communication method matches the importance you place in it. Translation: Don’t stick it in an occasional email and hope everyone ‘gets it’.

    At the office, we prominently display live feedback about our brand on an enormous wall of monitors near the sales department entrance to ensure our salespeople understand the importance of their jobs to the overall customer experience.  This has prompted many interesting conversations around trends that sales reps are noticing on the phones as supported by social chatter and more than a few proud moments when a particular rep is praised online to an audience of thousands.

    It’s important to note that this visualization doesn’t really require a serious investment in video technology, if that’s not in the budget this year.  It’s all about customizing the communication to your company’s style and voice.  Perhaps you have a ‘Facebook Feedback’ whiteboard where you quote the latest happy customer and share some Facebook customer-generated ideas on how to improve in the future.  Or maybe it’s as simple as printing screenshots out and posting them on a break room bulletin board to honor the reps that provided Twitter mention-worthy service.  The point is, regardless of the medium, if you care about it – show it!  And show it consistently, frequently and strategically to drive the point home:  We value customer feedback from all channels in all forms.

  2. Bake Social and customer feedback into your culture! – If your company has historically eschewed Social Media for marketing or employee personal use, it may feel a little foreign to openly and actively embrace Social Customer feedback.  Take a couple of steps back and see how you, as a company and contact center, might be able to re-visit your approach to Social Media usage and monitoring.

    Cross-departmental collaborations with our contact center and Social Marketing departments have made it easier to not only find effective ways to get our customers to pro-actively share feedback, photos and videos on social media about their experience with our brand and products – but we have also, together, found interesting ways to encourage sales and customer service reps to happily push those social channels when they work with our customers.

    This collaborative approach to the Social Customer voice further increases the likelihood that we’ll get customer feedback worth talking about AND gets employees talking about it too!  We complete the circle by featuring contact center rep stories, photos, videos and customer projects on our social channels to help them grow their personal brands and further increase the attention our contact center pays to social channels and the customers that prefer to engage there.

  3. Think beyond the comment card – One last thought on allowing the social customer voice to play a larger role in your contact center is to re-think what it means to receive customer feedback.  At a certain point, your standard QA-ing of phone calls and post call surveys will only get you so far in learning what your customers love, dislike, need and desire.  And, let’s be honest, sometimes we get bored seeing the same old reports with the same old kinds of content.  Let’s get creative in how we bring the customer voice into our daily conversations.

    Consider how and what you solicit from customers and what an easy test to gather unique customer content might look like using social as a data gathering platform.  Think beyond the typical kind of customer feedback you ask for (‘on a scale of one to awesome, how likely are you to…’) and take advantage of the mobile nature of social to ask customers for richer content.  Nearly every one of our customers has -- or has access to -- a smart phone with a great camera for photos and video.

    Our contact center reps respond incredibly well to the variety of customer photos, video testimonials, Tweets, voice mails and hand written thank you cards that we collect and share.  Different employees respond to different kinds of feedback and different customers prefer to leave feedback in different ways – so it works well!

    Whether you display this data on a Jumbotron or simply find unique newsletter content that strikes up conversations and healthy competition (who received the most Facebook mentions this month?), there are few more cost effective and downright interesting ways to feature the voice of your, very social, customer.
Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for, the world's largest online window covering store that was recently acquired by The Home Depot. Katie oversees public relations, Social Media Marketing and customer referral program efforts.

She is currently most excited about building personal brands within the organization to grow community outreach and sales.  With an extensive background in web marketing and social media strategy, Katie is a champion of connecting smart people with brand experiences and products that matter.

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