Conversocial Updates Platform as Social Customer Service Grows Up

At the Gartner Customer 360 Summit in San Diego this week, social customer service provider Conversocial launched several new features to enhance its social customer service platform. Though social has, in the past, been seen as a "medium for complaining" rather than finding actual solutions to service needs, the channel has "not only grown, but also grown up" as well, says Paul Johns, CMO at Conversocial. With customer use of social media for support increasing, companies are now looking for platforms that can deliver metrics and ROI. This has led vendors such as Conversocial to step up their game when it comes to solution maturity.

 "Social is overtaking email as a preferred channel, and brands want to see whether their efforts are effective," Johns says. "They want to be able to see resolution times, sentiment conversion rates, and other metrics." That's where Conversocial's resolution management tool comes in. The feature enables agents to pinpoint customer service issues across social channels, track them from the moment they are flagged to the point at which they are resolved, and deliver ROI metrics on the engagements.

Another enhancement to the platform is a geotagging capability that adds localized functionality to Conversocial's Instagram proactive engagement solution. The solution is available on other social channels as well, but is particularly powerful on Instagram, where customers love sharing images of customer experience problems, according to Johns. With proactive engagement, if a customer checks into a Hyatt hotel, for example, and shares pictures of a faulty shower, Hyatt can proactively step in and offer a solution to the problem. The geotagging component localizes the engagement and enables Hyatt to respond with a more concrete solution based on the specific location. "They may reply back and say, 'We're sorry to hear about this…come downstairs and we'll have a different room waiting for you,'" Johns explains.

Competing brands can also take advantage of the geotagging feature, Johns points out. If a customer is sharing frustrated tweets about an airline, another airline that departs from the same terminal can chime in and ask if it can be of help in the situation, to win the customer over.

Conversocial also unveiled a new tool called CROWDS, a "next-generation" community forum, according to Johns. The solution is exclusively for Twitter for the time being, and Google is the first customer to experiment with the product. Customers can tweet questions using the hashtag #GHELP, and their tweets will be routed to industry experts that Google has hand-selected. "Google identified users that were active participants on Google forums and in other communities, and built a campaign that involved reaching out with these individuals. Once they come on board, they get a Twitter handle and an email tied to that handle so they can answer and engage with customers," Johns explains. There's also a gamification element involved, where the users that participate in answering questions and helping the community earn points for resolutions and "likes" from customers. Eventually, these users' status is elevated from novice to expert, which is "rewarding," Johns says.

For brands that don't have massive community or forum participation, cultivating a set of experts that could assist with CROWDS might be a more difficult task than it was for a behemoth such as Google, but Conversocial has resources to help. "We can hire people to sweep the Web and determine a community of experts on a brand or product," Johns explains.

As social customer service continues to evolve, Johns says, customers can expect to see more enhancements emerge from Conversocial. "It's all about scalability and maturity," he says.  

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