The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

The Crowd around the corner

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It sometimes helps to visualise success: On your best day what would be the outcome of your actions. This way of thinking helps to put things in perspective and sometimes to realise that the ‘key’ activity maybe isn’t as key as you thought.

The same is true of social activity. Putting aside crisis management (or worse still crisis creation) there is a huge difference between social media and social networking as far as this is concerned. On the best days, for the best companies, the gains to be made from twittering and facebooking are more about brand-building than direct gains. Social Media is not going to bring you thousands of new customers and in some ways the delivery of customer service through these channels can be more expensive and more difficult to manage that traditional channels.

Social networking however offers some enormous financial gains. Crowdsourcing is already used to reduce the costs of service, research and development and creativity by companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Cisco, and IBM. Billions of pounds of customer service cost are saved every year. When was the last time you had a PC problem at home and Googled the problem rather than ring the helpline?

The pace of change is incredibly fast and there are applications which already look to provide structure to the crowdsourcing model. Look at http://www.mturk.com, http://www.crowdspring.com, http://www.crowdflower.com and http://www.utest.com. You may not be ready to embrace the technology (or more likely the culture) to take advantage but for some applications the crowdsourcing approach complately transform the cost base.

I compare to the growth of call centres and the PC. 25 years ago I worked in a company that had a typing pool full of typists and call centres barely existed. The streets were full of door-to-door salespeople selling insurance, encyclopaedias and tea! If someone had described the world in 2012 to me then….

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Written by greencontact

April 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

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