Jul 29 Posted 8 months ago
We run a hyper-complex multilingual global social customer care operation so I might have a couple of things to add to this discussion.
I have seen many vendors, many, and there is no such thing as the best tool for social customer service purposes. Sorry but no, all tools have yet to nail down many details to truly provide a solution that helps operationalise social care. That is why you end up with 2, 3 or 4 standalone applications to round up all your needs.
If currently, there is the perception of “social media marketing tools” and “social customer service tools” it is because vendors have developed them in that way. Why? Because more often than not within organisations they are still different areas working separately, and the change to adapt to the new social customer reality takes more than the dreaming of one tool provider.
Integrated social infrastructure or dedicated tool? There is no right or wrong gents, it all depends on how the brand is organised and how one or another approach best solves their needs.
Moreover, what both Josh and Jeremy seem to overlook completely is the fact that vendor tools are just a small part of the equation. First, you have to figure out the processes you need to deliver the experience you want for your customers; secondly find and train the best talent to drive the operation; then, and only then you choose the most suitable technology which main characteristic should be to ADAPT to your objectives, processes and metrics, not to DICTATE them.
This blindness is clear from one of Forrester’s statements: “Ability to provide accurate and relevant answers over social channels rated as excellent” this is certainly misleading. It is not up to the tool to do that, but depends on the process behind, how well you have trained your agents and most importantly which product information resources you put at their disposal.
Adaptation ability, speed to evolve and integration with more social platforms (other than Facebook and Twitter) is where ALL social tools vendors are miserably failing I am afraid.
Jul 16 Posted 9 months agoHi Jeremy, thanks for your long and thoughtful response. There are obviously differences in opinion in how to approach this complex topic. My approach has been born out of years spent actually working with major enterprise customer service teams and building solutions to meet their needs; both as founder & CEO of Conversocial, and before that as co-founder of iPlatform, one of the world's first preferred developers for Facebook. If there's one major trend I've observed over all of these years is the increasing ownership of social media by customer service.I won't argue with you on the credibility of Forrester, an extremely reputable analyst firm, other than to make clear that the survey was administered 100% by their analysts — we did not send it to any of our own clients or have any infuence on the responses. You yourself promote a Forrester Wave on your homepage.You can't ignore the simple fact that marketing and customer service do have different objectives and different requirements. Trying to separate out social media into its own silo doesn't help this — in fact, it hurts. Yes, social has many unique attributes that have opened the way for software like ours to stand alongside the old guard of enterprise software giants. But as a customer, you don't care about 'channel', you simply want the best possible customer service experience, one that is seamless across different communication platforms (whether you're emailing, in-store, or tweeting). This can only come through deep integration of social into the contact center.It’s impossible to deny that different departments in the organization need different software to achieve their dedicated tasks. Should the goal of all organizations be to provide the best customer experience? Absolutely. Is the answer to make everyone use the same software? Absolutely not. Do you really think companies should have one giant piece of frankentstein software that tries to do every single thing across every business function?Huge multi-purpose suites used to be the approach in traditional, on-premise enterprise software — because you had to install and manage the software on your own servers. But the cloud makes that approach redundant. With no need for a single technical infrastructure, and APIs that allow data to be shared across channels and platforms, delivering the best metrics, processes and workflow for each department becomes the most valuable approach. That's why the leading SaaS venture capitalists are betting on best of breed over suites. A true 'single view of the customer' comes from integration of data across CRM and other contact channels — not by pushing different departments to use the same tools.Calling customer service a 'point solution' while dismissing the need for real customer service metrics, and the need to deliver the same level of service over social media as other channels, just shows an ignorance toward both what customers want and the needs of a large contact center operation. The main issue with all-in-one social media management systems is that they are really built to serve the needs of marketing (as the Forrester survey backs up), having the minimum needed to do basic service and other functions, without paying attention to the metrics and management tools that allow a contact center to deliver an awesome customer service, across channels, at large volumes.In contrast, our complete focus on customer service is what allows our customers to get amazing results — like Herz having a first response time under 10 mins, or JackThreads social interactions having a 97%+ positive sentiment — while having the deep customer service processes and metrics that allow them to resource and manage social media as highly efficient customer service channel. Those are the results that both customers and companies really care about.
Jul 15 Posted 9 months ago
Full disclosure: I'm VP/Marketing @Sprinklr.
Let’s leave aside the natural question that pops into most people's minds about how accurate and credible a vendor-sponsored survey with a small sample size can actually be and just go to the key point: Josh’s argument is symptomatic of an incorrect worldview about the nature of social, its impact on business, and how brands need to adapt.
Josh is arguing that DEDICATED marketing point solutions can't help customer care teams and, by extension, dedicated customer care social solutions can't help marketing teams. He's 100% right about that.
However, by suggesting that marketing and customer care should continue to exist in silos, he is pushing brands into a dangerous position and setting up a false choice for the market.
Josh is reinforcing the exact problem that makes people hate interacting with customer care so much to begin with: disparate parts of the business don’t know what on earth is going on anywhere except right in front of them - and the customer can tell.
If we've learned anything from social, it's that customers that have bad experiences choose to amplify them at massive scale. They don't think about their experience with customer service or marketing, they think about the experience with the entire brand overall, regardless of the touchpoint.
Think about your own experiences. When you contact customer care, do you expect the enterprise to know who you are, your every purchase, and your every inquiry? Of course you do.
And, if you are engaging with a marketing team around a new product promotion, would you appreciate it if they knew that last week you had a customer care issue? Of course you would.
In other words, is it important to you when you are the customer (and to your customers when you serve them) to be viewed as one person by the entire brand, regardless of the touchpoint where you choose to engage - marketing, customer care, HR, PR, etc?
Point solutions with a view to serving the metrics and standardization of just one function fail to care at all about the experiences that a customer has when they are in someone else's silo. The door is left wide open for lousy customer experience. This is something none of us can afford in the age of the empowered and connected customer.
With all of that said, we’d still be stuck with this problem if the market hadn’t matured over the last few years. Thankfully it has.
Making a choice between point solutions is a waste of time. Why not just choose an integrated social infrastructure that serves the social best practices of every business function and doesn't reinforce existing business silos?In Sprinklr's worldview (and the 500 enterprise brands who share it), the only way to maintain the context of the relationship at every touchpoint is with a unified social infrastructure that underpins the various teams, functions, divisions, and locations, and will integrate with back-end systems.
Without that, the customer care team doesn't have the context they desperately need to serve the customer. Point solutions alone fail to deliver that context and in the age of social that’s just not acceptable.
However, there is one thing on which Josh and I can definitely agree.
We both appreciate the advertisements of National Car Rental, an approach he used quite well in his introduction.
I've used that myself a few times.
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