Call Center Management And The Big Social Media Mistake - Business - Management

One of the major discussion trends in call center management circles today is social media and how to leverage these new communication methods into increased sales and customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, many companies make a critical error when implementing social media--they neglect their other lines of communication, including the phone system.

Give Customers More Choice

Social media seems new, but it's merely a different facet of a challenge that has always faced companies. Each customer has a preferred method of communication, and if the business doesn't support it, that customer will find someone who does.

Call center management used to balance phone contact with only postal mail and walk-ins. As technology improved, organizations had to decide whether to support other forms of contact such as faxes or email. The social media explosion has created many new communication avenues in a short time, but the fundamental issue is the same. If you don't give your clients the options they want, they won't be your clients for long. Social media adds to rather than replacing other forms of communication.

Don't Neglect Your Phone System

Years ago many companies aggressively tried to push their customers to use web sites and phone menu systems rather than talking to agents. These systems were cheaper to maintain than a trained staff, but in many cases these efforts backfired. The inability to reach a human being became frustrating to clients, and businesses found they were losing customers to competitors offering a more personal touch.

It doesn't mean these systems are bad, in fact many clients prefer them, but they must be integrated as part of a comprehensive call center management philosophy that expands rather than narrows customer choice. Service centers need to be sure not to make the same mistake with social media. Social media complements a phone system, but doesn't replace it.

Customers Expect More

In the days when the only other contact options were letters or in-person visits, the phone system offered advantages of immediacy and convenience. Since then, new lines of communication have opened up but rather than making call center management easier, they have made it harder. Clients want more from their phone agents. They are less tolerant of long hold times, multiple transfers, or giving the same information several times during a call.

Call center management faces huge challenges today. Agents and managers have an array of information tools that has improved their ability to service customers but has also raised expectations. Companies that aren't using the best software tools as part of their telephone systems look archaic and out of touch compared to these new forms of communication.

Telephone contact will be here to stay even as still-unimagined technologies appear. However today's phone centers are very different from those of a decade ago, and call center management must accommodate and embrace all new communication methods as part of an overall system of service.

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