Industry Research : Changing Communications Landscape Enhances Customer Care
As enterprises increasingly employ the social media to communicate with clients and potential customers, contact centers too are making an effort to harness this channel for customer engagement. Social media in customer care in the Asia Pacific has been growing quickly in recent years, driven by the greater emphasis on efficiency and higher productivity in the enterprise.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Social Media in Customer Care - Asia-Pacific View, finds that contact centers need to thoroughly assess the customer base, existing customer contact processes, and then analyze the need to build a new set of processes and programs to complement the existing ones.
Social media enables enterprises to hear, engage, and participate in customer conversations not only during a call, but even when the customer discusses his or her product/service experience with friends or peers on social networks.
Asia Pacific's rising profile in the social media arena is evident from its occupying 7 positions in the list of top 30 countries with the most number of Facebook users. Therefore, having a social media customer engagement strategy will no longer be an option in 2012-2013.
"However, adopting the social media requires greater responsiveness on part of the enterprise," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Krishna Baidya. "Once a social channel for customer interaction is established, quick response and frequent updates are critical to sustain the channel. Such interactions also need to be seamless across different channels; therefore, a siloed approach to implementation is likely to fail."
The departments that are likely to be most eager to use this channel are marketing, corporate communications/public relations (PR), as well as customer service/contact center. As end customers will desire the interactive services to be offered under a single umbrella, it is important for organizations to offer a unifying experience across channels.
Despite the importance of interpersonal interactions, many enterprises had been investing more resources in system upgrades rather than improving agents' interpersonal skills and domain knowledge. Fortunately, companies are gradually realizing the need for quality training to enhance customer experience.
"With the social media, vendors will be able to better articulate their strategies to customers," noted Baidya. "However companies lacking a clear roadmap for such new technology platforms will have trouble incorporating the solutions."
In the backdrop of this new communications landscape, newer business models for both small- and large-sized social media in customer care are expected to emerge. While the pricing strategy will remain significant for small deals in the current straitened environment, the larger deals require technology sellers to have a superior understanding of customers' business objectives as well as demonstrate quick returns on investment.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 17, 2012