Social Media Customer Engagements: 4 Challenges, 7 Segments


Social Media is no longer something that can be overlooked by companies. And presence in social networks is not enough. Customers are not just expecting but demanding that companies engage with them via Facebook, Twitter, etc. But companies still struggle to manage those channels and find it very difficult to manage the volume and type of interaction.

Some pioneer companies and social media specialists have been doing it for a while. And it is definitely worth looking into what they are doing, and adopting similar strategies and approaches, to address the different challenges.

  1. Which messages are actually worth responding to?
  2. Could those messages be segmented in some way?
  3. To whom should those messages by assigned to?
  4. Where can responses be composed and recorded?

I would advise companies to respond to as many messages as possible, negative and positive. To definitely segment them by type, in order to assign them to the team or person that can provide the best (or more accurate) response. Here is a good approach (from Symantec):

  1. Request: customer is requesting help to resolve an technical issue. These should be assigned to the Technical Team, for them to troubleshoot and respond, as soon as possible (ideally within the hour).
  2. Question: customer is asking a question, that is not necessarily pressing but needs an informative answer. These should be assigned to the Support Team, for them to provide the right answer (possibly in a knowledge-base).
  3. Abuse: customer is insulting your company, and may have a basis for doing it. These should be assigned to the PR Team, for them to assess and take any necessary brand protection actions.
  4. Praise: customer is praising your company, after a wow moment. These should be assigned to Marketing Team, for them to take the opportunity to leverage the advocate customer and her story.
  5. Lead: customer is hinting that he may switch from competition or considering buying from your company. These should be assigned to the Sales Team, for them to follow-up and convert the opportunity.
  6. Suggestion: customer is requesting a product enhancement. These should be assigned to the Product Management Team, for them to consider if it is worth to add to the roadmap.
  7. Fraud: customer is engaging with an unauthorized provider of your product. These should be assigned to the Legal Team, for them to follow-up with official and/or legal action.

Finally I would suggest all engagements take place in, and from, the Customer Management (aka CRM) platform, or alternatively from a social media management and engagement platform, that can easily be integrated with the CRM, so that your company can enrich the customer record, creating a full and complete view that will help and support future engagements and initiatives.

A future proof Customer Service solution that delivers outstanding CX

A recent Gartner report talks about “Customer Service Predictions” and gives 4 strategic planning assumptions that Gartner thinks must be followed by those companies that want to succeed by delivering an outstanding Customer Experience (CX).

Gartner’s summary is very clear: “Customer service is (…) the core business strategy to create a winning CX. Great service needs to be consistent across all mobile devices, as well as social and digital media channels. It also needs to be personalized (…)“.

The report outlines that in 2 years’ time…

  • Facebook and Twitter will have their own social media engagement applications for enterprise customer service.
  • At least 60% of the Internet users will opt for mobile customer service applications as their first option.
  • 50% of peer-to-peer community offerings will be packaged and sold alongside Web self-service offerings.

Among the key recommendations from Gartner is the need to have C-level buy-in, design a strategy and build the necessary skills/competencies. But obviously this has to be enabled by technology, and Gartner says: “expect best-of-breed software providers to be a key part of this journey

Oracle owns one of the best – if not The Best – technologies in the area of Customer Service. It is called Oracle Service Cloud (formerly RightNow CX), often recognised as a leader in Customer Service solutions for Small, Midsize and Enterprise organisations.

This technology combines web, social and contact centre experiences for a unified, omni-channel solution in the cloud. And it already addresses most of the things that Gartner is now saying that companies should focus on, probably making it the wisest technology choice.

Oracle Service Cloud social features enable organisations to manage social interactions as a fully integrated part of the CX. Companies can use the “Social Cloud” functionality to monitor and engage their customers via social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Blogs.

From a customer service perspective, Oracle Service Cloud allows a contact centre agent to create an incident (or Service Request) directly from a tweet, a post or a comment, and deal with that customer in his preferred social channel – or take it off-line as and when necessary.

Oracle Service Cloud also has a special Facebook application called “Self-Service for Facebook” that delivers the same exceptional support from other channels right from a Facebook page. And this works both in standard and mobile interfaces.

“Mobile” is another of Gartner’s predictions that Oracle Service Cloud is already prepared to address. The Oracle Service Cloud Customer Portal – that customers use to self-serve, manage accounts or engage with the company – not only provides a superior CX on full-featured browsers, but also includes an out-of-the-box set of pages designed specifically for mobile devices.

The third Gartner prediction is related to peer-to-peer communities. Once more Oracle Service Cloud is a step ahead. It offers community features integrated with its Customer Portal. Actually, it goes even further. It offers two different types of community: Support and Innovation.

The Support Community allows customers to ask questions and find answers in an peer-to-peer-type community, helping themselves and making them feel valued, without adding a single call or email to the company contact centre’s workload (perhaps even lighten it).

The Innovation Community is designed to give customers a voice in the company’s product/service innovation process, so they can help the company identify the new opportunities and bug fixes, or even guide the roadmap, prioritize/refine ideas and develop the next breakthrough.

There is also a very interesting finding in this report. Gartner states that “Many small or midsize businesses (SMBs) and enterprises have still not invested in multichannel customer service strategies and, instead, opt for a conglomeration of point solutions“.

My experience tells me that this is one of the main reasons why many companies strive to deliver a CX that differentiates them from the competition, and allows them to take the leap that will transform the business and make them a solid player in the market.

Oracle Service Cloud is that unified and omni-channel customer service platform that not only addresses today’s challenges and requirements, but is also future proof, offering the features and functionalities that customers are starting to require/expect and will demand in a near future.