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5 Key Takeaways From TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview

Harry Rollason
By Harry Rollason on Oct 15, 2015 9:14:00 AM

Paul Johns, the CMO at Conversocial, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In that episode, they discuss whether or not companies are proactive or reactive with their social media marketing software, the social customer, and the impact of social on the enterprise.

Below are Paul Johns’ five biggest insights from the conversation.

1. A lot of companies are spending a fortune at the outset on above-the-line advertising.

There's more and more evidence to support the idea that — let's be really honest — consumers don't necessarily believe what you say about your own product anymore. There's a huge case for brands to start to pull back a little bit on what they're spending on above-the-line advertising. Pull back on their media campaigns and begin to engage through social as a really credible alternative to spending money.

2. The nature of dealing with a social customer through one channel versus other channels — social is persistent and asynchronous.

In other words, you don't call me and tell me what the problem is. I respond, you respond, I respond — and then it's done. The persistency is because you might tweet me and I might respond and by now you might be on a train. Conversations can be open for a long period of time. But as a contact centre agent dealing with social, you can deal within five and ten concurrent social customers at any one time. We have customers that do that. There's a lot of evidence that shows there's really strong ROI very directly in terms of time to resolve through social.

3. Sixty-eight percent of customers say they are positively impacted when doing business with a brand that was publicly seen resolving customer issues through social.

There's a kind of exponential effect with social that's all to do with bottom line. In terms of top line, there are brands out there right now that are beginning to rebook customers, to upgrade customers, to actually upsell customers through social. And there's real evidence now to show that social can actually be revenue-generating as well as cost-saving.

4. There's also this really interesting phenomenon that's beginning to emerge which is called peer-to-peer resolution.

Clay Shirkey's book Cognitive Surplus, taps into this whole shared economy. It's a very interesting book. It talks about how you may have other experts helping your business. IBM talks about technical citizens who could be on a mobile app routing Twitter inquiries from other customers that may be of a B2B nature. They could be service queries, they could be a whole sense of crisis management — whatever it might be. There’s this idea that you don't need to pay your own people to answer technical queries, you could have other customers answer those for you. It's this whole idea that social really takes out of the equation this idea that these people have to be inside your enterprise.

5. Two years ago, social was all about how many likes, how many mentions.

How many posts, how many followers? It was really soft. It was the very soft and cuddly underbelly of social. When social was two or three percent of volume it was a bit of a skunk work project with just two or three agents. No one was really paying too much attention to the costs. It was just there under the hood.

Now what's started to happen is these volumes are now ten, fifteen percent of overall volume. One of our customers is up to almost four hundred dedicated social agents —  these are big numbers. Suddenly you start asking the questions that you would ask in a traditional call center. Which is, what is our time to handle? What is our first response time?

Increasingly, it's about resolution times. Our ability for a social agent to respond to you in a timely fashion — to understand the issue and then actually resolve that issue, and mark it as resolved — this becomes the most important parameter for how you measure. But the one that I love that is particular to social is sentiment conversion, which is the ability to see how many customers approached you negatively, moved to neutral, and then left you positively at the end of the interaction.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.


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