May 10, 2014 ben

Social Media Centre vs. the Call Centre

social vs call centre comparison

What is the role of social media and how does this compare to the call centre? I was intrigued to hear, although not surprised, that one very large UK supermarket had only a two person team. This is a multi billion dollar organisation had over 18 million consumers with over 1 million fans/followers and they only have 2 people focused on social internally, really?!

Getting to the point
So what is my point then? Simple . . .

. . . Why are organisations so afraid to invest in social and why have I picked on call centres as an example?


In the image below there is a comparison of a call centre vs. social media departments. Both operations effectively are there to serve consumers, but with some major differences.

social vs call centre comparison

social vs call centre comparison


So is there a way forward then?

With the above in mind why aren’t these larger organisations embracing social? It could be their audience is not engaged in social? It could be they are thinking of it instead of call centres, but both assumptions have to be investigated.

To address point one, by using social and offering it front and centre to their digitally engaged consumers, organisations will have the opportunity to truly engage consumers on their terms. Not only this, but they will be able to engage with their audience in a channel they feel comfortable with and potentially attract other likeminded digital consumers.

For point two, this could be addressed through the integration of call centre and social media through “customer centres”. These could be truly channel agnostic there to serve consumers, when they need to be served, through whatever channel they need to be served on. What should the ratio of services representatives, straightforward answer, what is the proportion of customers who purchase and ask you questions digitally vs. through traditional channels. Look at this ratio and reflect it in the service team who is there to serve the consumer not the KPIs of the call centre or customer services manager.

That simple?

Now we all need to be aware there are permissions and privacy statements, which are barriers to some organisations adopting this. And furthermore consumers might feel we are intruding on their domain.

Who is doing this today?

In this example the social media technology provider focuses on results. Measureable and financial based social media results. A lot of social media providers promise this, but delivering attributable, bottom line growth has been more difficult to achieve.

This provider delivers social media lead generation within call centres. By enabling the call centre to have a voice in social conversations these call centres can gain access to previously hidden consumer/prospect group.

With their client, a leading UK gym, they had previously only generated 4 leads from a huge investment in a Facebook campaign.

The social media provider analysed vast amounts of social data and identified the top three emotive drivers to signing up to a gym. They identified customers who were looking to get fit, find a closer gym or lose weight. From here they templated an onbrand message (with a specific motivational piece of copy for each audience) and provided it to a small dedicated team within the call centre. The call to action was simple: register for a free trial e-pass (provide your details online) or receive a call back (provide details online). Either way a lead was captured which had a value against it.

So what were the results? Firstly the click-through rate was over 50%. Yes one in two consumers clicked-through to find out more. More importantly on the point of privacy, there was not a single complaint or reply through twitter about the message back to the consumer. Why? Consumers are aware their conversations are public and the fact one brand was willing to listen and approach might have been considered appropriate. This is certainly not the case for all needs or all messages, but it shows when brands embrace social and use the call centre in combination with social there are opportunities to be had.

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