The call centre of the future (aka: who should manage social media?)

Since businesses became aware of social media, it’s been a bit of a puzzle who “owns” it. Obviously the customers, but who’s ultimately responsible for a company’s social media strategy?

Marketers have tended to either assume that social media is their department, or something to outsource to an agency. But the answer may be right under their nose: the call centre.

This isn’t a new message. Since 2007 we’ve been sharing how your brand is your customer experience, and social media just makes that truer than ever. That customer experience is most often delivered by people, and a lot of that takes place in call centres.

For it to work, however, at least two things need to happen: 1) Social media and call centre processes need to become friends, and 2) The right call centre operators need to be behind the keyboard.

Call Centre Processes

Over their short existence call centres have developed some pretty detailed standards for harnessing skills and making sure the right questions get answered by the right people in the right way.

Systems usually become software, and that’s definitely the case for call centres as well.

We recently discovered CONTACT Social, a social media management tool that starts with call centre processes, and integrates social media, along with SMS and email.

(Full disclosure: If our recommendation to you ends in a sale, we get a share of that sale. That’s not the reason we’re recommending it; rather, we see it fills a unique space in the market)

The Right People

Laurel Papworth said something awesome once (actually, she says a lot of great stuff!) about finding suitable people to manage social media: the customer service reps who have a bit too much personality for the call centre!

It makes perfect sense: social media is a place to listen and respond, as any good CSR would, but it also does require personality, and even a little bit of entertainment value. (Tummling, anyone?)

So here’s a wee checklist for the CSRs of the future – when social media will take its place in our contact centres alongside email, SMS and who knows what else yet to come:

  • A sense of humour
  • Humility
  • Calm under pressure
  • Skilled at solving problems and resolving complaints
  • Highly articulate “words people”.
  • Familiar with computers and the internet: don’t assume people (even young people) know how to do simple things like copy/pasting a link.
  • Proactive – both for service and sales. Social media isn’t a purely customer service channel; it can also be a powerful promotional channel. You don’t want an order-taker who is just filling in time, you want someone who has a sense of ownership.

Contact Centre of the Future

Contact Centres can be seen as a profit centre, not just because they resolve customer problems, but because your customers bring those problems to you in the first place.

Where does innovation come from? Problems.

The contact centre of the future can become a learning, vibrant, creative hub of the business, with the right technology and the right people in place.

That is one call centre I’d love to connect with.

4 thoughts on “The call centre of the future (aka: who should manage social media?)

  • Jason Armishaw

    Do you know of any businesses in NZ using CONTACT Social?

    Jason

    Reply
    • Simon Young

      Hi Jason, it’s early days yet for the product, so no NZ businesses using it yet, but Royal Mail Group in the UK (twitter.com/royalmail) is trialling it.

      Reply
  • billbennett

    I’m interested to hear of any NZ companies that are already doing this.

    Reply
    • Simon Young

      Hi Bill, it’s early days yet for the product, so no NZ businesses using it yet, but Royal Mail Group in the UK (twitter.com/royalmail) is trialling it.

      Reply

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