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article imageBridging the social media and business enterprise gap: Interview Special

By Tim Sandle     Jan 22, 2018 in Business
The company Conversocial is bridging the gap between the rapidly-shifting world of social and mobile channels and the world and needs of the large enterprise contact center. The aim is to modernize customer services.
Conversocial aims to help turn customer service into customer loyalty by applying the discipline of contact center efficiency with the unique dynamics of social customer engagement. This is via a cloud solution designed to help businesses efficiently and securely manage customer service on social media at a large scale.
To understand this business-to-business dynamic, Digital Journal spoke with Joshua March, CEO and Co-Founder of Conversocial.
Digital Journal: What’s the value of good customer services for business?
Joshua March: Beyond the obvious happy customers. Digital customer service is ROI positive, scalable internally and often efficient than traditional care channels. In fact, in a Total Economic Impact of Conversocial Study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Conversocial, they found that there is potential for huge savings and increased revenue for brands by promoting social and messaging as primary customer service channels.
The composite organization in the report saved close to $1.5 million in reduced customer care costs and simultaneously increased sales by approximately $1 million over a three-year risk-adjusted period. As it stands today, brands are not taking full advantage of the untapped value found in digital care engagement.
DJ: How important is customer engagement for brands?
March: Consumer expectations for service via digital channels only continue to increase. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, customers born after 1981 (today the largest generation, beating out even Baby Boomers) overwhelmingly prefer customer service via social and mobile channels to classic contact methods such as phone calls.
But while today’s customers are less likely to call a business, they’re actually more anchored than ever to their phones. In 2017, social and mobile are virtually inseparable, with over 80% of daily active Twitter users being mobile, and roughly the same for Facebook.
Bank of America’s annual Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found that 91 percent of U.S. consumers say their mobile phone is just as important as their car and significantly more important than television (at 76 percent) and coffee (at 60 percent).
In other words, we’re living in an age when someone’s iPhone might be as important to them as their Toyota and their Samsung Galaxy even more important than their favorite TV show...or even their caffeine fix.
DJ: How can new technologies help with this?
March: The traditional approach to service has been to funnel service requests into the channels that are easiest and cheapest for companies to deliver—regardless of how easy or convenient they are for consumers. If you’re a monopoly provider then you may still be able to get away with offering limited phone support only, 9 to 5. But for everyone else, convenience is key—and this means delivering service in the channel from which they reach out to you.
Once customers started Tweeting complaints, the standard response from most companies was to ask them to contact customer service by email or phone. The thoughts and Tweets from consumers in return were... “What?! This is me contacting you!”
Focusing on First Contact Resolution is irrelevant if you only offer this over the phone (and only after going through a painful phone tree to get to an agent). Deflecting customers from one channel to another is not only damaging to the customer relationship, but also means your agents must respond to the same issue on multiple channels, increasing complexity and expense. Technology helps bridge this gap.
DJ: Are customer expectations changing in terms of accessing different channels and using different technology?
March: Yes. We have seen a clear shift from public brand shaming to seeking private issue resolution over messaging channels such as Messenger. In order for service organizations to catch up, executives need to put “customer effort” at the core of their experience design. This is the key measure to ensure that service interactions are not driving disloyalty.
Companies need to focus on making service easier, not more delightful, by reducing the amount of work required of customers to get their issues resolved. This includes avoiding their having to repeat information, having to repeatedly contact the company, switching channels, being transferred and being treated in a generic manner. In our own consumer research, more than two-thirds of respondents agree that the easier a customer service interaction is, the more likely he or she would be to engage that brand again
DJ: What services does Conversocial offer?
March: Conversocial is a leading customer engagement platform for today’s always-on digital customer. Delivering a unified approach to a new generation of customer care that replaces traditional service channels. Conversocial creates a clear digital path for brand and consumer engagement that combines best-in-class technology and world-class services.
DJ: How did you develop your platform?
March: Conversocial was founded in 2010 as a general social media management system, that helped clients engage with customers through Facebook and Twitter. A year later, I realized that as all communication shifted to smartphones, social media and mobile messaging, these channels would become integral to how companies did business across every function. Social could no longer be an island, it needed to be deeply integrated into every business unit, including customer service.
Conversocial started working with a major retailer who was aligned with this vision in order to integrate social into their contact center. I’ve traveled to major contact centers, watched customer service teams attempt to deliver service over social media, but with tools designed for marketing. I also sat with agents as they struggled to piece together the background to a customer’s complaint across several messages.
DJ: What’s your core mission statement?
March: This engagement crystallized what became the singular mission of Conversocial: to bridge the gap between the rapidly shifting world of social and mobile channels with the needs of large enterprise contact centers. Following this experience, Conversocial was re-launched to focus 100% on customer service. Our software now enables our clients to massively increase agent efficiency, provide supervisors with the real-time management and reporting tools they need to manage a large-scale operation, and cut response times in half—all while ensuring they remain at the forefront of innovation in social and mobile messaging.
DJ: Which types of companies do you work with?
March: Conversocial enables hundreds of global brands including Hyatt, Tesco and Alaska Airlines to ensure they are supporting in-the-moment resolution, at scale, to drive profitable and lasting relationships through all social and digital channels.
DJ: How do you market your product?
March: It’s pretty simple really, customers are on social and therefore brands must be too. Obviously this easier said than done, and you still need the right foundations for success. We make it clear we can help companies deliver digital customer service from within their organization as a standardized, scalable and return on investment positive operation that lives up to their organization’s promise of quality service.
DJ: What other projects are you working on?
March: Personally, I’m gearing up to release my new book Message Me this February. Message Me is part roadmap and part toolbox for customer service leaders who want to adapt to the changing service landscape shaped by social media, automation and smartphones. I draw on my years of experience in the social customer service space to provide case studies, clear recommendations, practical examples and a valuable framework that customer service leaders can start using immediately.
More about Customer service, Marketing, Enterprise, Social media, Conversocial
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