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Hire Dynamics’ 26th Contact Center Executive Forum

Hire Dynamics hosted its 26th Contact Center Executive Forum on June 15 at Villa Christina in Dunwoody, sponsored by inContact and Kaplan Communications. This event presented the opportunity to learn industry “best practices” and network with over 100 other contact center executives, managers and practitioners throughout metro Atlanta.

This year’s Contact Center Executive Forum focused on social marketing techniques and how they can be utilized in contact centers to drive performance. The keynote speaker, Dave Sutton, discussed the reality of social media as well as how the different channels are consumed. For instance, 59 percent of consumers use social media to vent their frustrations, 72 percent use it to research company reputations, and 74 percent choose to do business with a company based on online reviews.

Sutton explains, before diving in, it is important to know the facts surrounding social media:

  • It is completely Peer-Moderated – direct, honest and out of your control
  • It is ridiculously Noisy – simultaneous, unsolicited feedback, Ad-hoc, unrehearsed tone
  • It is fundamentally Mobile – any device, anytime, anywhere
  • It is potentially Efficient – Low-cost access, workload shifting, productivity gains
  • There is a Technology Abundance – no shortage of tools or experts

In order to use social media in your organization’s marketing plans, you will need to have a strategy: Generate a unique and valuable position involving a different set of activities, serving few needs of many and broad needs of few. Make trade-offs in competition by choosing what not to do. Create fit among all company activities, making it hard for imitators.

Ask yourself these key questions regarding your company and its role in social media:

  • What conversations does your company need to be a part of?
    • Service interruptions, complaints, suggestions, recruiting.
  • What conversations should your company not be a part of?
    • Competitor bashing, pricing, union debates, etc.
  • Where are those conversations?
    • Blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook.
  • How can your company listen to and assess conversations?
    • Setup social “Outposts”, join forums, monitor what is being said about your company.
  • Who at your company will participate in/respond to conversations?
    • Marketing, customer service, sales…everybody?

Contact centers are distinctively positioned to manage multi-channel communications for the enterprise, via phone, e-mail, snail mail, fax, internet, text and chat. There are a number of various social channels that can be used, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Sutton also shares the changing role of technology from center-centric to center+outposts. Center-centric includes service center technology (customer problem resolution and retention), marketing center technology (customer experience enhancement), and sales center technology (customer acquisition and development). Contact centers need to move towards center+outposts to utilize the benefits of new technology. This process includes reaching your customers through Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other forums.

There are five key buckets for multi-channel communication and its operating model:

  1. Culture: moving from Persuasion to  Authenticity (Authority to Advocacy)
  2. Process: moving from Reactive to Proactive (Scripted to Customer-Generated)
  3. Technology: moving from Center-Centric to Center+Outposts (Many-to-One to Many-to-Many)
  4. Measurement: moving from Satisfaction to Sentiment (Responsive to Empathetic)
  5. Organization: moving from Command & Control to Adhocracy (Authoritarian to Democratic)

Sutton offered a social media roadmap to consider when determining your marketing efforts. First, strategize and organize – formulate a social strategy and identify/train team members. Next is internal alignment – initiate social listening process and establish social outposts. Then, focus on external activation – build private social forums. The final stages include execution and measurement – channel sort public vs. private and institute social QA processes. Integrate with CRM and measure your results.

When building a social media team, watch out for the ones with anti-social behavior. The ones who don’t believe in positive results and make every excuse in the book to avoid jumping on the social media train. There is also another behavioral side to this; the social media “expert.” Don’t hire anyone who claims to be a social media expert; they don’t exist. A quote from Peter Shankman explains it best:

“Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.”  

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