Welcome to The Evolution of Call Centres where I round up some of the more interesting and appealing news stories from the world of Call Centres, Cloud Computing and Hosted Contact Centres, sometimes adding a little commentary but always grouping the stories together in easy to digest snippets of information, knowledge, insight and ideas.
Over the last couple of weeks there have been lots of writing and interest in the Salesforce "Dreamforce" event in San Fransisco. Our very own Paul Turner (Chief Operating Officer) was there, read his blog post here.
It's becoming increasingly important for businesses to connect with their end users and customers in a way that promotes open and frank discussions. Social Media is an obvious channel of communication for this, but an often overlooked and neglected element of social conversation is the trusty chat forum.
A good forum can be a lifeline for customers as well as a great place to hang out with like-minded individuals. From a business point of view it's a fantastic place to get to know your customers better, hear first hand what your customers are talking about and get honest feedback on your product.
Some companies even use forums to recruit the best and brightest support staff. I know of a company who did just that, they hired an active community member who was always willing to help other customers with technical product support...even though he too was a customer.
But forums can become sniping grounds for single minded Best Practice promotion as well as those intent on pushing spam. Heavy moderation, good self regulation from active community members and a heavy amount of involvement from your own staff are ways to keep your forums active and fun for all involved.
Call Centre Helper have a good article here on how to move your forum forward.
There's a really good piece here on what is involved in being a successful community manager. Great read from The Social Customer.
Another short but interesting read here on the Forrester blog about employees offering you competitive advantage.
Social Media Growth
Social Media is likely to be the hot topic for many years to come as new industries look to grow their social media involvement.
Here is a good read about Automobile manufacturers reaching out with social media. It's interesting because the general conclusion (although with little to no hard data) is that customers no longer wish to wait to speak to an operative, so they are turning to social media. I'm not sure I agree totally with that. People still like to speak to a call centre representative (in my experience) but the overall experience can be supported and aided with social channels.
I really like this article here on social media care being more than just a set of channels, tools and accounts. Absolutely spot on when the author, Guy Stephens (@guy1067), talks about it being a mindset...but how do you change peoples minds?
"To understand that social is a way of thinking, an approach, a philosophy, a way of working. It is a way of engaging with your customers. It is a way of speaking to them in a shared and common language."
Another good piece here on whether social media data is becoming less objective. Interesting read, but I'm not so sure that hard numbers and data is anymore objective. Numbers are numbers. It's how you feel about them that matters. But still a good read.
Delivering Outstanding Customer Service
There are always a number of blogs extolling the virtues of good customer service. This week I'm only choosing one. An interesting one on aligning your goals for customer service.
Why you need multi-channel
A good post on Mashable about why you'll soon need multichannel messaging strategies.
Fragmented customer service explained with some good ideas on how to bring multichannel communication together.
Data and Measurement
Here's also another good post on why measuring the "average" is misleading.Enjoy.