Adoption of social media as a commercial interaction channel continues forward at a rapid pace, both among consumers and the companies they engage. Nowhere is this impact felt more profoundly than in the contact centers charged with supporting these customers. One of the advantages, and some would say disadvantages, of social media is the vast amount of data generated by every click and every keystroke. A potential treasure trove of information about consumers and their behavior, the social media channel offers the chance to apply analytics to volumes of information only dreamed of in the past. So why aren’t more organizations actively leveraging social media analytics in their contact centers? Why are only a small number of mature social media adopters figuring out how to leverage this channel proactively instead of reactively, to drive their own business agenda? Everest Group research shows there are five main obstacles getting in the way:
- Stakeholder alignment
- Immature social media adoption
- Lack of adoption roadmap
- Channel integration challenges
- Shortage of social media and analytics skills
Stakeholder alignment: Unlike past interaction channels, interest in social media cuts across various internal department, including marketing, customer care, and IT. Each department has its own objectives with social media, measures success by different metrics, and often funds and budgets for social media investments independently. These dynamics create complexity and misalignment in how social media is managed.
Immature social media adoption: Where companies stand on the social media adoption continuum greatly impacts the nature of their investments. To date, the more mature social media adopters looking to leverage existing pools of data have implemented the most advanced analytics capabilities. To date the majority of companies continue to focus primarily on their fundamental social media capabilities of interaction, monitoring, and brand perception, with a lesser focus on the associated analytics.
Lack of adoption roadmap: Getting off the social media analytics block is easier said than done for many organizations. Identifying where to start and how to implement analytics effectively to drive business and process value often creates hesitation in some organizations, slowing adoption timelines.
Channel integration challenges: Consumer expectations about an integrated interaction experience continue to grow. Integrating various interaction channels (voice, e-mail, chat, web self-service, mobile) is already high on the corporate priority list for many. However, the public dialogue nature of social media combined with the high volume of data captured create a situation where social media implementation cannot be separated from the corresponding analytics components.
Shortage of social media and analytics skills: The successful implementation of social media and analytics require specialized skills in two distinct categories: the IT professionals that implement and maintain these technologies and the customer care services staff that engage customers via this channel. In both cases, organizations often experience a lack of internal skills and find a shortage of experienced people in the broader market. Again, another obstacle slowing the social media analytics adoption timeline.
No doubt organizations are working their way through these challenges and developing the internal resources to support their social media and analytics strategies. Compared to other interaction channels, social media not only requires analytics to effectively utilize the channel, but also offers the greatest potential for impacting the consumer experience, whether positive or not. We will hear about this topic for quite some time to come. In our next piece on social media analytics, we’ll explore how some organizations are turning to contact center outsourcing providers to shorten their learning curve and get them out of those starting blocks more quickly.