Measuring Your Company's Social Care Efforts
The emerging area of social care, the efforts of caring for customers using social media, is becoming a reality of day-to-day business operations for retailers. Many online marketers, retailers and marketplace merchants recognize the tremendous opportunity to enhance the customer experience by providing social media support, yet most are struggling to prove the qualitative and quantitative value of their social care efforts.
TELUS International, in partnership with Oracle and KENNA Consulting, has released a study titled Measuring Social Customer Service in the Contact Center — Metrics & ROI. The report outlines the key performance indicators and methods of calculating return on investment for providing social care support as a component of your customer service offering. The research focuses on three key areas:
1. The drive to serve through social channels. Retailers are being pushed into social care by savvy consumers who are posting questions of them on the various social networks. The magnitude of these social posts can seem overwhelming, with many companies struggling to manage the volume of inquires. The good news is that not all social posts require a response. Robust listening platforms along with strategies to prioritize posts can make social response manageable and effective.
In addition, while the goal is to serve customers in the channel of original contact, channel redirection will likely remain an issue for many retailers. Channel redirection occurs when a customer asks a question in a channel that isn't able to support an appropriate response. For example, if a customer asks a question on Twitter, the retailer may not be able to sufficiently address the inquiry in 140 characters or less. Likewise, a customer may need to share sensitive account information, thus requiring a more private, secure channel such as chat or email.
Although channel redirection ensures that customer questions are answered, it raises problems for measuring performance and customer satisfaction levels. Fortunately, there are technology platforms for social customer service that are quickly evolving to address these issues.
2. Metrics for running an effective social care program. Metrics are an essential component when evaluating the effectiveness of a social care program. Traditional social media metrics such as "Likes" and "followers" are good ones, but they won't necessarily correlate to a successful social care program grounded in business goals.
Three key measurement categories are examined in the study: service, quality and effectiveness measures. Both quantitative and qualitative metrics are important elements in providing a balanced overview to social care effectiveness. Even though several metrics may be difficult to calculate, bringing social care into the framework of your support center will help solidify the channel as a valuable customer retention strategy.
3. Calculating ROI. Retailers know that social media can generate significant revenue. Dell, for example, made Twitter famous when it generated more than $6 million via the social network in just a few years. In order to get executive commitment for social media customer service, however, it's important to revert to traditional business cases and ROI calculations that examine gains from investment and total program costs.
Retailers should determine what it means to calculate social media ROI for their business, then invest in building an ROI framework that can evolve and improve over time as technology improves and additional data becomes available.
Al Rose is vice president of retail and internet properties for TELUS International, a provider of customer care and contact-center outsourcing solutions to global clients.