New research indicates that 80% of British Twitter users have used the service at least once to complain to a company. With Twitter having 240 million users worldwide and 15 million in the UK alone, 97% of whom follow at least one brand on the platform, the potential audience for this brand-damaging sentiment is enormous.
Social media, as a publicly accessible platform in the cloud, represents a completely different channel from more traditional voice and text-based communications, which in a business context are targeted solely at the organisation. For businesses, the speed and scale at which information travels through social networks can be impossible to keep up with, especially when existing communications technology is not designed to accommodate the channel.
An organisation’s customer-facing contact centre agents and users are now required to work with additional interfaces for each social network. To effectively monitor and manage traffic, there can seem no alternative to employing large teams to continually scan these networks, and even then a single missed complaint can rapidly spiral out of control.
Much as social media is a public cloud phenomenon, business cloud solutions can enable organisations to transform these challenges into brand-enhancing opportunities. Open architecture platforms can integrate with social media Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to feed information into existing cloud applications, such as contact centre and reporting, enabling organisations to automate how they receive, process and respond to social media traffic.
Martin Taylor, Sales and Marketing Director at Content Guru, commented:
“In recent years we’ve seen how effective social media can be in the mass dissemination of information, at a political, corporate and personal level. The spotlight, however, is almost always on its negative impacts – cyber bullying, complaints against organisations and business blunders.
“Through effective integration with cloud business communications, organisations can take advantage of the positive aspects. Real time alerting to more severe complaints means that they can rapidly head off dissatisfaction before it goes viral, without the need to employ vast numbers of staff to continually trawl multiple networks for signs of trouble.
“This can then also allow companies to scrutinise social media posts historically in order to develop in-depth behaviour analytics. This data can, for example, be used to design and carry out mass outbound and targeted campaigns that both take account of consumer trends, and pro-actively engage with customers to maximise brand visibility. Instead of being concerned by the scale of social media, then, organisations should be looking to exploit the enormous potential it offers for developing their images in the most open communications environment there has ever been.”