While there is much written about the importance of social media, pragmatic steps to success are less easy to find. Technology investments must meet immediate needs as well as those for a defined period of time in the future. Discussions with organisations well advanced in their deployment of social media have highlighted useful tips to consider when making investment choices.
Tip One: Clarify needs
Objectively reflect on where you are along the social media deployment journey and then scope your future wish list. The following diagram can help.
It's easy to underestimate the demands social media can place on teams and internal processes. Having a clear expectation of how you intend to integrate social media within the organisation will help to specify long term solutions with the lowest total cost of ownership.
Tip Two: Consider time required for administration and reporting
Time is saved and team effort reduced when the social media tool uses one interface for insight analysis, social customer care and lead generation. Systems that require multiple solutions and separate interfaces lead to inefficiency, incomplete records and reporting complexity.
Reports should provide comprehensive statistics whilst allowing rapid data drill down so that specific customer messages can be traced. Dashboards will be critical too. Administration tools should provide comprehensive permissions control with supporting supervisor review and approval of agent messaging.
Tip Three: Automate wherever possible
The uncontrolled nature of social media means contingency management is essential. Day to day tasks should be automated. Being able to quickly configure and update search streams that identify desired keywords, is key to remaining informed.
Use workflows to route specific mentions to skills-based queues within defined time plans. As automated routines evolve, you'll be able to stay abreast of developing trends and any negative sentiment.
Once you have built up a history of activity it will be possible to develop contingency plans for emergencies or for times when agent coverage is stretched, e.g. weekends. By using notifications to key staff, it's possible to limit the damage from viral messaging without burdening the main customer interaction team.
Tip Four: Support agent productivity
By embedding the agent's workspace within the agent's desktop, productivity increases, as navigation between different media becomes easier.
Social media mentions can reach overwhelming levels and demoralise agents. Setting queue limits will prevent agents from being flooded with mentions. Use an overflow queue to hold other interactions and feed these back in during quieter times. Access to a knowledge base can help too.
Such measures make it easy for agents to respond rapidly and allow them to provide agreed organisational messages using the appropriate format, language and spelling. Having an embedded agent workspace within the agent's desktop can also minimise the training time required and the level of supervisory overhead.
Set out to future proof your social media solution from the start
The immediacy and viral nature of social media is a management challenge. Failing to analyse future needs when making early investments can result in significant rework later on, and can demoralise the team. It will pay benefits if you can take the time to identify your requirements at the outset and match them to a future focused solution. Use this quick checklist to review the key areas to focus on: