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The State of Social Customer Care

Whether companies are ready for it or not, social networking is forcing them to reevaluate their approach to servicing. Customers want to interact with companies via social media; however, only a small (but growing) number of organizations are doing a good job with social customer care today, and most concentrate on handling Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media is More than a Communication Channel

At its most basic level, social media is just another channel; but if that is all it is perceived to be in your organization – a channel to be captured, controlled and managed – its value, power and benefits will be underutilized. Enterprises that are actively managing their social media presence are reaping significant benefits from their investments. They are using social networks effectively to engage their customers and prospects in public forums, and are attracting the attention of prospects on a worldwide basis. This contributes to their social presence and clout, which increases their ratings in search engines and attracts more visitors and business. In short, it’s simply good business.

Other organizations approach social media in a more passive manner. They are using tools to monitor social networks for mentions of their organization, so they can identify issues and address them before they go viral. While these programs are less formal and beneficial, they can still be effective in identifying and containing customer concerns. But there is a substantial difference between companies that use social networking to enhance their image and those that engage in it to protect themselves.

Social Media is Essential for VoC

Innovative and leading organizations are incorporating and responding to social media as part of their voice of the customer (VoC) initiatives. They view social networks as an important channel for collecting unsolicited feedback and as a means of engaging directly with customers to solicit candid opinions through online communities, forums and review sites. These companies are incorporating the findings from social media within the fabric of their organizations and are using it to improve all aspects of their performance, including the quality of their customer service.

Final Thoughts

Social media is here to stay. It is becoming the new servicing norm, even if a majority of organizations are still trying to ignore it. It’s time for companies to actively embrace social media and build social customer care organizations that respond to all solicited and unsolicited feedback. DMG predicts that within 5 years, the number of an organization’s social media interactions will be equal to their number of phone calls. This is a very significant statement, as no other channels have come close to rivaling the power, influence and volume of activity of the phone.

Ask the Experts

Tell me how are the remote organizations overcoming the sensitive data concerns?

Your question is very broad, and addresses a serious issue for any organization that has remote employees. As DMG Consulting concentrates on contact centers, we’ve responded to your question from this perspective. The list below provides contact center industry best practices for protecting an organization’s sensitive data.
Operational Practices

  • As part of the hiring process, do a background check of potential employees to rule out anyone with a questionable past.
  • Make sure that workstations at remote locations are secure per your organization’s standards.
  • Document security procedures, and train your employees to use them.
  • Train your employees to treat your organization’s and customers’ data as a valuable corporate asset.
  • Establish a formal communication process between supervisors and remote employees so that you can stay on top of what is happening at remote locations. Supervisors and remote staff should be in touch at least daily.
  • Do quality management (QM) regularly on remote locations to make sure that secure processes and procedures are being followed.
  • Monitor all personnel who have access to your systems, for unusual data access patterns or behavior.

Technical Practices

  • Require remote users to access contact center services through a secure multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) network or Internet/virtual private network (VPN) connection.
  • If MPLS/VPN access is not available, use secure socket layer (SSL) protocol for transmitting log-in and password data over the Internet.
  • All data transmitted between the remote location and the contact center solution should be encrypted using the latest security standards… Read More

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DMG Consulting LLC is a leading independent research, advisory and consulting firm specializing in unified communications, contact centers, back-office and real-time analytics. Learn more at www.dmgconsult.com.