“There are huge potential benefits using social media for sales and customer interactions, but companies that get it wrong risk cutting themselves off at the knees,” said Reed.
Reed added: “What too many companies fail to realise is that social media is complex, involves multiple channels and has to be run effectively as an integrated part of the contact centre, in order for it to be effective in business, when you are dealing with social media, there is no quick fix.”
However, Reed said businesses which get their strategy and implementation right will experience significant improvements. According to Reed strategic planning must come first.
Reed said it is not necessary for every company to have a social media presence, especially companies with small and select customer bases, despite it having the potential to pay “handsome dividends” in terms of leads, sales and customer satisfaction.
“Companies need to consider their social media goals, the social media management plan, and the systems that will be implemented to integrate social media into the contact centre and enterprise systems, in order to interact effectively on social media platforms,” said Reed.
In terms of choosing a social media representative, Reed said it is important to choose one carefully. Simply leaving any agent to run a social media presence could be “disastrous” for a company.
“Consider the simple fact that not everyone has excellent writing skills. An agent appointed for their ability to hold an engaging voice conversation is likely not a strong writer too. Different agents will have different writing styles, and will interpret and share information in different ways; but a company needs to speak with a consistent voice across all social media channels,” said Reed.
Reed said it is vital for a company to respond to potential clients and clients alike virtually immediately because approximately 60 per cent of customers use social media platforms to air their frustrations while approximately 70 to 75 per cent use the platforms as a source to acquire information and responses in order to ascertain whether or not they will do business with the company.
Furthermore, Reed said advanced systems are essentially key to maximising potential for social media due to their funneling of information from various platforms into a single channel as well as effectively integrating the social media platforms into the contact centre and enterprise systems.
“Because consumers now expect to interact with companies using the social media platforms of their choice, and still receive high levels of service and rapid responses, most contact centres should be looking to their social media strategic planning. How companies prepare for their social media customer interaction now will determine how successful their businesses are in years to come,” concluded Reed.