5 Tools to Turn Social Listening into Customer Service Action


CRM Market Analyst, Software Advice

Recent reports reveal a troubling disconnect between what customers expect when they express concerns on social media and how companies actually respond. While 62 percent of consumers use Twitter, Facebook and other channels to broadcast service complaints, a vast majority of those messages never receive a response.

This is at least partially attributable to a functionality gap in “social listening” platforms. These systems monitor customer sentiment but, until recently, did nothing to help companies respond in real time to service complaints voiced in social media.

Here are five social media monitoring tools that go that extra step to identify, prioritize and route such problems so customer service teams can respond effectively.

the social hub logo

1. Salesforce Social Hub

Salesforce.com launched The Social Hub last year after acquiring social monitoring platform Radian6. The system uses customized keyword identifiers to extract customer service requests from more than 150 million social networks, blogs, forums and other sources. It scans for messages that combine #CompanyName, @CompanyName and brand mentions with customer service-related triggers. This includes generic words like “help” or “need assistance,” or specific phrases like “My cable is out.”

These requests are then automatically prioritized according to content and the customer’s purchase history and social activity level. A computer manufacturer company might, for example, place higher value on a key social media influencer or brand advocate who recently purchased ten laptops, and bump his help request to the top of the queue.

the social hub logo

2. LiveOps Social

LiveOps Social is Cloud-based contact center software that processes social service requests exactly like tickets submitted through voice, email or the Web. It searches for requests by Twitter hashtag or keyword, or by designated Twitter and Facebook accounts. Once LiveOps identifies a request, it creates a ticket that shows up in the service queue along with requests from other channels.

“It’s important that all channels are treated with the same level of depth. This allows agents to easily pivot between each channel without any change in service.” - Sanjay Mathur, LiveOps senior vice president, product management

The work item is synchronized with other relevant customer data to prioritize the request, including service and social history. When an agent views the next work item routed to them they can see the overall context to understand a customer's contact experience. As LiveOps continues to improve routing, a social request for example, might be flagged as critical if the system sees that customer called the hotline, emailed three hours ago, and just tweeted about how they couldn’t get a hold of anyone.

the social hub logo

3. Social Dynamx

Social Dynamx uses role-based interfaces to automate social message routing. The system considers agent expertise, work group, current caseload, average time to respond, and service satisfaction rate. The platform might, for example, choose a top service-rated agent to handle a strongly negative issue.

“From a cost perspective, social is an effective means of call deflection. Calls can cost between $30-$40, where a social response is closer to $3-$5.” - Heather Strout, Social Dynamx customer insights manager

Users can easily change or add expertise as needed. Imagine if a company were suddenly flooded with tweets about a defect in a certain product. The customer service team could create a new work group and tag corresponding agents as the sole recipients for tweets related to that issue.

the social hub logo

4. Social Media Spaces by Moxie Software

Many companies only respond to the angriest customer complaints posted on Twitter. This is a bad move, according to Moxie Software Marketing Vice President Tara Sporrer.

“You want damage control, but you don't want to train your customers by only responding to irate messages,” she says. Usually, when customers are vocal on social media, it means that other more established communication channels have failed in providing them the support they needed. Finding the right balance takes constant trial and error.

Social Media Spaces allows supervisors to analyze social response data so they can constantly tweak prioritization and routing rules. The dashboard uses metrics such as social customer satisfaction, first contact resolution and ticket rerouting rates.

More than half of Twitter users expect a response within two hours of tweeting a complaint. 51 percent of Facebook users expect same-day response. - Oracle report, Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012

the social hub logo

5. Social CRM by Parature

Similar to others described here, Parature uses rules-based prioritization for routing social messages. The company differentiates itself in its breadth of experience and accuracy crafting these rules over 10 years in the customer service software industry.

Chairman and Co-founder Duke Chung describes their dictionary of prioritization rules as “the jewels of the company.” He says emotional implication plays a big role in ranking the importance of social message, but so does intention.

Someone might describe a game as “badass,” for example. That’s two negative words conjoined, which together mean something positive. The software might also factor-in how easy or difficult that person is to work with, or their average spend values.

Does your company provide customer service through social channels? How do you make sure the most critical issues are handled immediately? Let us know by commenting here.

This report is not an all-inclusive list of social customer service tools available on the market today. Features listed for one vendor may also be offered by another on the list, even if not specifically mentioned.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa

  • http://twitter.com/JasonBoies Jason Boies

    Hi Ashley,

    Just popping in to say thank you for the kind mention, very much appreciated. :)


    Jason Boies
    Community Engagement, Salesforce Radian6

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for stopping by (o:

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ketharaman-Swaminathan/1036941350 Ketharaman Swaminathan

    Apologies for the long comment but, since we regularly work with banks, insurance companies and retailers in developing business cases for social media based customer service, we thought that sharing our perspective in entirety will overshadow the need for brevity.

    1. Many social media monitoring tools, including our own HEATMAP360 sentiment analyzer, do allow companies to reply immediately from the same dashboard where they see the social media update (e.g. Tweet) in the first place. If, despite that, 62% of messages posted on social media never receive responses, there could be other reasons.

    2. During our work with companies in this space (more on that in our blog post
    http://sketharaman.com/blog/2012/08/02/the-business-case-for-social-media-customer-service/ ), we noticed several issues that could equally well explain why response rates to social media complaints are so low.
    3. Company is not on social media, hence it doesn’t feel the need to monitor social media, little realizing that its customers are very much active in social media, praising and complaining about their brands. This is myopic behavior, no doubt, but it’s not rare.

    4. We used our HEATMAP360 sentiment analysis app to pull up a few tweets on leading brands with negative sentiment, thus suggesting customer complaints. (a) Many tweets use NSFW language (e.g. beltranmegan: So much hate for vodafone. What if im dieing, ill fucking die a horrible death because i cant call for help because i jave no service.). (b) Many others have very little actionable info (e.g. kiranmanral: I smsed no one today. Only ICICI smsed me. Damn. Can’t even outrage on the 5 sms limit. #fml).
    5. As a result, at least one bank I know has stopped accepting customer service requests on social media.
    6. Most companies find it difficult to convert a social media complaint into a service ticket on a traditional customer complaint redressal (CCR) system, even using live human beings. Faced with this reality, It might be best for a company to reply back to customers within the dashboard itself. No wonder, most company responses to social media complaints are along the lines of “Please email your concern to xxx@company.com and we’ll help you out”. While I protest against such a response with my standard line “what happens on social media must stay on social media”, I can’t blame companies for resorting to such an approach under the circumstances.
    7. The moment a customer complaint enters a CCR system, it becomes subject to strict SLAs, service credits, penalties, etc. As a result, some companies prefer to wait until a customer has raised a formal complaint via the CCR system before they recognize the complaint and start the SLA clock. I’m not saying this is the right approach, but in a multiparty environment, especially when part of customer service is outsourced, this is a political reality.
    Against this backdrop, applications like the ones described in your article are likely to face stiff resistance to adoption in the mainstream market.

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