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Social Media Monitoring On A Budget

As a small business with a small contact center, the thought of adding an entirely new support channel can be daunting.  In this day and age, it is a fact that social media cannot be ignored.  If you have a company Facebook page, or a Twitter handle, or any of the myriad of other social media platforms, it’s not a matter of if but when a customer will try to contact you for customer service. 

Unless you just emerged from a twenty-year slumber in a cave, I don’t need to rehash all of this for you.  You already know that social media monitoring is imperative for your business.  The purpose of this article is not to convince you to add social monitoring to your suite of support channels, but to help you get started. 

Allow me to paint a picture of what social media monitoring looked like a year or two ago at Phone.com.  While our company has been monitoring activity on our social profiles for quite some time, it typically consisted of an executive or community manager seeing a customer comment and sending a screenshot to the head of customer service asking us to contact the customer.  As the volume of activity steadily increased, it became clear that this model wouldn’t scale.  Furthermore, we needed to enable our customer service representatives to work directly with customers as they would with any other support channel.

Thus began the search for contact center social media monitoring solutions of which there are several.  Talk to a sales rep for one of these companies and they will give you the laundry list of social platforms they monitor for, and show you all of the customers talking about your company on those platforms.  They may even show you all of the bells and whistles their platform can offer.  Eventually they will show you the price tag and you wonder, “Am I really ready to take the plunge?”

If I haven’t lost you yet, your story and experience must be similar to mine.  Here are some logical next steps to begin effectively monitoring your company social media activity.

  1. Observe your social media activity- You should monitor every social media platform regularly where your company has a social media profile.  In our case, we found that the bulk of our focus needed to be on Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Begin with a small solution- We started with a Hootsuite account with only a few people in the company monitoring Twitter and Facebook.  For $15 per seat we had the ability to see who replied to messages, assign cases to one another and collaborate on our responses.  With a solution like Hootsuite, it is cost effective to add more people as needed.
  3. Document policies, procedures and training- As you begin monitoring, remember to document how you are going to train your agents to respond to and engage customers. 
  4. Follow and observe other companies- Follow other companies that do social media customer service and learn from them.  Observe the way they engage their customers.  Read articles about the mistakes other companies make and learn from them.
  5. Recruit a team and begin engaging- Recruit a small team of agents within your contact center, train them to use your monitoring tool and begin engaging customers.  We actually set up notifications to go to our ticketing system so multiple people would see a comment from a customer and take prompt action.
  6. Evaluate Often- Meet with your team regularly to discuss what is working and what isn’t and regularly improve.

That wasn’t so painful was it?  This is a good strategy to get you in the door of social media monitoring.  As your company grows and customer engagement via social media increases, you will want to look more seriously at a social media platform for contact centers.  I will write another article when we get to that point!

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