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Of the 3,7 billion internet users around the world, 2,7 billion are active social media users. It’s a staggering number: 37% of the world’s population regularly uses social networks. Facebook dominates the landscape, with approximately 2 billion monthly active users, and Twitter is extremely influential among certain groups.

There are unmistakable trends. We now know customers under the age of 25 look to social media as their first option when they need support*. And while companies have realized they need to pay attention to social media as a support channel, 29,3% will simply use it to redirect customers to another channel. It’s the opposite of what they should be doing.

We are now living in the era of the connected customer, one that interacts with companies via different platforms at different times. No matter how many different touchpoints there are, the customer journey should be seamless. Every time a customer interacts with the brand, the agent needs to know its history and preferences. That’s why social media must be a part of a holistic, omnichannel strategy.

Social media use is growing steadily, 8% year-on-year**, and is becoming a preferential channel for a majority of customers sooner rather than later. Businesses should be looking at this trend from multiple angles: they need to have a dedicated response team, monitor customer sentiment as expressed in social networks, and must communicate rapidly and effectively with their consumers. Ignoring a wave of criticism on Twitter or taking 72 hours to respond on Facebook will have a negative impact on the brand, no matter how much team leaders try to convince themselves that social media isn’t part of the real world. Negative comments that go unchecked and unaddressed can escalate and cast a shadow of suspicion over the company.

With Collab’s OneAgent, the contact center agent has a 360º view of the interactions, from voice and video to e-mail, sms, and social media. It also includes a notification mechanism and chat with supervisors, to further help the agent do its job.

As Facebook and Twitter are widely known and used, companies can easily integrate social networks into their contact centers with prebuilt connectors. For some brands, Instagram and YouTube will be more important than other networks. It all depends on the type of business and targeted audience.

Collab provides connectors to Social Media and can develop custom made connectors to other platforms.

Example:
Facebook’s connector is dual-purpose:

1. Likes and posts
When someone visits a company’s Facebook page, their actions are monitored. The API will capture every like, comment, or other interaction, and then build a routing script with the data. This will help the support agent better understand the customer. The API digests all the data from events, posts, and images.

2. Messaging
Every interaction through Facebook Messenger is monitored. The customer can talk directly to an agent via Messenger and the company can also develop a chatbot. With the One Agent platform, the human agent will access all this information.
Twitter’s API is similar to the one used for Facebook. Every tweet is monitored and replied to, as the company wants to make sure that the user’s experience is positive. If the user is following the company’s account, all interactions are sourced and displayed to the support team.
The data coming in from both APIs is easily audited and supervised. This process should be continuous and short-term: in social media, everything happens in real time. If you blink, you might miss it.

A well planned social media support team can help create a unified experience for the customer, no matter which channel it chooses to use when interacting with the company. From the human agent’s perspective, being able to tap into social media interactions can prove to be extremely valuable for the company in the long run

* Source: Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, Dimension Data, 2016
** Source: We Are Social/Hootsuite, January 2017

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