TeleTech, Lithium Technologies Join Forces to Create a Social Media CRM Outsourcing Solution | Article
One of the big corporate worries about social media is that customers will complain about them and then the whole world will hear the problem. The customer who received the 300-page iPhone bill and the United baggage handlers who broke a musician’s guitar demonstrate what happens when unhappy customer comments go viral.
“With customers constantly online and engaged in social conversations, corporations no longer have control over their brands,” says Douglas Jones, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Business Development for Lithium Technologies, a company that specializes in providing solutions for brands to embrace the social customer. “Social media has allowed customers to dictate the message. Today consumers trust their peers more than the company’s marketing and sales pitch, so corporations have to change their approach with consumers,” he explains.
For this reason, corporate customers kept asking TeleTech, an outsourcing service provider specializing in managing the customer experience for its buyers, about social media, according to Taylor Allis, Executive Director, Product Marketing. At the same time, TeleTech itself noticed consumers were interacting differently by using the new social media as well as the traditional standard e-mail and toll-free phone help lines. “People still use them, of course. But we noticed a majority of interactions are happening in forums or social media channels,” he reports.
The service provider faced a challenge. “We have the process and the people,” says Allis. But Teletech didn’t have the social media technology required in this brave new world. Reacting to the new need, TeleTech teamed with Lithium Technologies to address this challenge.
The partnership allows the service provider is to give its buyers a single customer relationship management (CRM) solution. “TeleTech is definitely ahead of the curve in understanding how this technology will reshape its business,” says Jones.
Benefits to outsourcing buyers
The new offering provides companies better access to social media activity. Jones says this knowledge is important because companies create ongoing, long-term relationships with their customers before and after the purchase. Outsourcing buyers that use this knowledge appropriately can “drive cost down and customer satisfaction up. Using social media well can have a profound effect on both the top- and bottom-line business objectives,” the Lithium executive insists.
Allis adds the CRM solution allows his team to provide better customer service support. “This retains customers and drives revenue,” he observes. It can even improve sales with up-selling and help buyers market new products, he adds.
The partnership is also helping outsourcing buyers get their social media CRM monitoring up faster. Allis says hiring people to monitor social forums, building processes, and buying the software can take 6 to 12 months. TeleTech’s solution is up and running in 90 days.
Teletech’s new social CRM solution
Allis says the new solution does three things:
- Answers customer queries in the new media, which deflects actual phone calls
- Improves customer satisfaction
- Provides customer service
The Lithium solutions include applications for social media monitoring, community, and analytics.
Lithium’s Social Media Monitoring application uses search engine technology to allow organizations to listen and monitor the conversations across the social web. The application produces results based on the types of comments it uncovers. “Lithium scours the Web for brand mentions and sentiment. We can find the sources of information and who is engaging in the conversations,” explains Jones. The application delivers all the results to a central dashboard.
The TeleTech CRM solution allows buyers to outsource this monitoring. “If we see a customer complaining about one of our clients, our agents can respond directly,” says Allis. For example, if a buyer of a new smart phone has an issue, he or she might tweet about it or mention it in a Web forum or on Facebook. A TeleTech customer service agent would receive a notice about the comment. The agent would then send an e-mail or tweet with a solution to the problem. That might include links to a forum or a blog that contains the answers. “Our goal is to proactively solve their problems through social media channels,” says Allis.
Lithium also provides applications for branded communities. For example, if a consumer wants to purchase a new smart phone and can’t decide between an iPhone and an Android phone, he or she most likely will search for information on both from Google. Lithium uses its search engine optimization technology to direct these queries to one of its forums. The communities are loaded with knowledgeable consumers and documents.
The partnership also provides community moderators “to ensure the content is relevant and appropriate,” says Allis. He says this is a new skill set for his agents, especially since forums are public “and can affect a company’s stock price.”
Other ways social media is impacting TeleTech
Allis says social media is changing outsourcing at his company in two other ways:
- Human capital and recruiting. Allis says call center associates are increasingly looking for outsourcing jobs using social media. He says today social media has become “a key component” in the service provider’s talent acquisition and recruiting efforts, especially among its at home agents. Currently its Facebook page has 11,000 members and there are 50,000 Twitter followers.
- Internal collaboration and knowledge sharing. TeleTech calls its internal blog “Iris.” Allis says Iris has turned into an area where employees “can share best practices and 411.” One of the favorite topics is how to be a great customer service agent, he reports. Employees also talk about new and interesting trends and products.