Are you dreaming of a social Christmas?

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We all know how hectic a time Christmas can be for contact centres, particularly those in sectors such as retail. With so many people chasing down orders or seeking help with their new gifts, contact centre pros will have to brace themselves for a huge surge in activity.

But how can your business prepare for this? While taking advantage of solutions such as workforce optimisation tools will be essential if you’re to have the resources available to meet these demands, companies increasingly also have to think about what channels they’ll need to be active on in order to serve their customers.

A more social Christmas

In particular, social channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will need to be taken into account this year. At least, that’s the finding of a report from Sprout Social, which stated that the retail sector can be expected to receive 30 per cent more messages through these channels this holiday season.

It forecast the average retailer is likely to receive around 3,100 messages in the final quarter of the year, up from 2,700 in the preceding three months. Sprout Social noted companies such as ‘big box’ retailers and those with large numbers of social followers especially need to be ready for an influx of messages, as there’s a clear correlation between the number of followers a brand has and the volume of messages it can expect to receive.

However, it’s being able to separate the casual mentions from the queries that will require action that will be the key to success. The survey noted that 30 per cent of people will post about a gift on social media, but not all of these will need to be engaged with as a priority.

Responding in the right way

In fact, the research suggested that slightly more than half of incoming social messages this festive season (56 per cent) will require action, an increase of 15 per cent from last year. However, only around one in six messages (16 per cent) are actually responded to by retailers.

This still makes the retail sector one of the most likely to respond to messages. In fact, Sprout Social’s study found only utilities firms (17 per cent) have a better average response rate, while overall, just one in ten messages generate a response from a company. So clearly, there’s huge potential for you to improve on this and deliver the services your customers really expect.

Responses also vary across different platforms, with Twitter users more likely to get a response than those sending a message via Facebook. One in five tweets received a response (20 per cent), compared with 13 per cent of Facebook posts.

Twitter users can also expect to see 11 promotional tweets from a brand for every reply, whereas on Facebook, the ratio is 22 to one.

Being more proactive

Therefore, it’s obvious that if you want to be successful this holiday season and build a reputation as a brand that engages with its customers, you can’t afford to neglect social channels.

Being able to spot mentions of your company and knowing when to respond is essential. Taking a proactive approach that can identify when you’re being talked about – even if messages aren’t sent to you directly – is a good start. Knowing when issues can be dealt with directly on social and when they need to be taken offline for a more in-depth conversation is also important.

If you make a list of what you need to do, and check it twice, you’ll be in a great position to deliver festive cheer to your customers and hopefully enjoy some peace and goodwill of your own this Christmas.

 

Make social channels a central part of your contact centre with Aspect social engagement solutions.

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Sarah Quennell

Sarah is responsible for the EA regional Marketing strategy and demand generation programme. Sarah has over 15 years of B2B Marketing experience, delivering profitable solutions to drive sales, attract and maintain customers and partners and build a solid corporate brand.

Sarah has worked for several large technology organisations, including Dell and ILOG (now IBM) and most recently, Microsoft. During her 3.5 years at Microsoft, she held the position of Marketing Communications Manager.For 2 years Sarah worked delivering the marketing vision for the Partner network across the UK. Engaging with the VAR’s, the System Integrators and the Resellers. During her last 18 months at Microsoft, Sarah was responsible for launching Windows 7 for Business and Education.
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