Social Media and the UK Contact Centre

It’s a new dawn

Social media is a term used to define the concept of the creation and exchange of user generated content via web based and mobile technologies. It is almost impossible to ignore the significant impact that social media has had on the every day lives of a large percentage of the worldwide population. Social media allows people to communicate in ways that have never truly been leveraged successfully by contact centres, however, based on some recent trends, this could all be about to change.

A recent example of a large organisation utilising social media in a contact centre is the recent adoption of Twitter by First Direct Bank. First Direct have started responding to customer questions via their Twitter feed @FirstDirectHelp, and after reviewing their account, there are a number of positive and negative factors that are apparent from the outset.

Firstly, there are a number of questions that First Direct are simply not able to answer via Twitter for reasons of privacy and data protection. This means that customers that ask questions of this nature will typically receive a response that asks them to call the contact centre to have their questions answered. Secondly, due to the volume of questions that First Direct receive on their twitter account, there is an inevitable delay between the customer submitting their question, and the contact centre responding to the question. There are, however, very positive signs from the requests that customers have submitted via twitter as over 90% of the questions that were submitted have been answered successfully.

From the perspective of a contact centre using social media such as First Direct, there are many benefits to be gained from using the social media, including:

  • Support via twitter is much more efficient than support via a telephone on the basis that frequently asked questions can be responded to using a pre-defined response.
  • Increase in brand awareness of the organisation by using social media features such as like, share, subscribe, follow, and comment.
  • Reduce the call volumes coming into the call centre by offering support via Twitter.

In summary, social media can never truly replace the telephone as the main avenue of support for a contact centre, however, as First Direct have shown, it can be a fantastic tool to offer in order to compliment the existing methods that customers use to contact them.

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