Nearshore Americas

See Through Social Media Hype and Seize Ways to Lower Costs and Use Cultural Saviness

Imagine the horror that Comcast, the largest cable provider in the U.S.,  experienced when its feed for a Stanley Cup Hockey game was suddenly cut mid-game – and millions of hockey fans were effectively left in the dark.

The experience quickly became a signature moment for Comcast’s social media initiative, run through the company’s “Customer Cares” division which manages customer relationships. A team of Customer Cares’ staffers, whose key role is to monitor social media activity related to Comcast, quickly spotted negative reaction to the network outage on Twitter and pounced on the opportunity to announce that service had been restored.

“Comcast Cares tweeted back and said ‘we have found the problem and we fixed it’,” explained Chris Botting, Director, Product management for Cisco, who talked today (at an ATA Chapter Event in New York City) about the dramatic revolution some customer care organizations are experiencing as they interact with customers in new, fast-evolving digital channels.

Botting pointed out that Comcast managed to use Twitter as a medium to deliver information so quickly that it clearly prevented a deluge of inbound calls into the call center. The clear result: Acting fast using social media can have a direct impact on lower impact (and resulting costs) on your phone-based agents.

Comcast deserves recognition for its pioneering understanding on how to leverage social media. The company’s Senior National Customer Operations Director, Frank Eliason has been one of the most visible champions, who among other things maintains an open view into Comcast through this company-sponsored blog.

Social media gets an enormous amount of attention in today’s culture, but when you cut through the hype, you recognize that the number of companies leveraging social media for image-management and marketing-based functions is still small.

What it Means to the Nearshore

Very few contact center organizations in the Nearshore are making social media a key pillar of their service offering. In other words, for contact centers in the region, social media is only going to become an issue when customers start asking about it.

Given the strengths Latin American and Caribbean providers have in being tuned in culturally to U.S. brands, services and customers, it is easy to see that social media has a bright and powerful upside when put into the hands of customer care staffers.

“You want to know what customers are saying so you know the problems before they accelerate,” says Aphrodite Brinsmead, a CRM analyst at Ovum, who also spoke at the ATA chapter event. “You are able to give customers more power and you can gain a competitive advantage. While we are in the early stages of the market, you should reach out to your existing providers and find out how they can tailor solutions to meet your customers needs.” That means getting in touch with your contacts at Avaya, Aspect, Siemens and Cisco to see how they can build more capabilities in an area that undoubtedly will become more important in customer relations and CRM in the next several years.

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Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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