Published Dec 2021

The role of WhatsApp and Social Media in the Contact Centre


Customer complaints are increasingly moving from traditional contact centre channels to social media. Is your team there to resolve them?

Social media has had a transformative effect on many aspects of our lives, not least the way in which we communicate with the companies we’ve bought from.

“Now, when we have a question or a complaint, our first thought isn’t necessarily to pick up the phone”, explains Kris Graham, contact centre specialist at Opus. “We know what that involves: a long queue, an unnecessary wait and a poor experience. Instead, we’re more likely to use a channel that we frequently use in our personal lives to achieve the desired outcome.”

Statistically, according to social media management platform Hootsuite:

  • 64% of people would rather message than call a business
  • 1 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses every month on Facebook Messenger
  • 70% of people expect to message businesses more in the future for customer service questions

It’s clear to see why businesses should adapt their service operations to incorporate social media monitoring and messaging apps. But what challenges stand in your way and how can you navigate these so that your contact centre agents are never more than a click away?

For more information about digital contact centre solutions, download our guide to mapping your business technology strategy for 2022.

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Logging into social media customer serviceSocial media image from shutterstock

When a customer reaches out to you, it’s because they have a question to ask or a complaint to make. In either case, it’s in your best interest to be there to manage their interaction — especially if their chosen channel of outreach is social media.

“If one of your customers has a question, it’s not unreasonable to assume that other customers have them, too”, Kris says. “Being able to provide an answer to that question not only delivers a positive experience for the customer asking it, but it can help reduce the volume of interactions by answering it for other customers without them having to ask.”

And when a customer reaches out over their preferred social media platform with a complaint, the spotlight is on your company to resolve it quickly and professionally.

“Customers today expect issues to happen”, Kris reveals. “It's how you deal with those issues and resolve them that makes all the difference — especially in a public setting.”

Complaints voiced across social media platforms have the capacity to cause brand damage and negatively impact customer satisfaction. But social media managers, not contact centre agents, are usually tasked with managing a company’s social media channels. What can companies do to deliver better customer experiences over digital channels?

For related reading, browse our library of contact centre guides and resources.

60% of Internet users say bad customer service is a concern when making an online 

shutterstock_1413106967Technology that brings your digital contact centre together

“I will always recommend against creating silos to cater for the digital channels you support”, Kris explains. “The technology is available to queue your social media interactions with other channels, and we’d be happy to talk to you about that further. Don’t create a new application with its own reporting screen and login requirements. It will need to be monitored and managed separately and is needlessly increasing the cost to serve.”

Kris highlights how WhatsApp could be consolidated with email and SMS, for example. This would unlock new capabilities in terms of image and file sharing and improving the customer experience while simultaneously enabling contact centre agents to work on those channels.

A range of technology solutions exist today to help businesses align their service offerings with customer expectations and bring digital channels into the contact centre, but just as important as the technology you use are the processes and behaviours behind it.

Elevate the contact centre experience for your customers with Opus Engage

Social media monitoring best practices

Listen and respond

According to digital consumer intelligence company Brandwatch, 77% of customers are left feeling more positive when their social media complaint has been responded to. But some research suggests as many as 45% of brands take longer than five days to respond to messages through their Facebook pages.

“Even a simple script can help to promote empathy and consistency across digital interactions”

For example: “I'm really sorry. I can see that you've tried to call this morning. I can see that you've commented a few times on Twitter and Facebook. I can see that you've had a really horrible time. I'm sorry about that; let me sort this out for you. Let's talk through the issues now because I've got all the information on my desktop and I can offer you a discount or similar benefit to help turn your experience and your mindset into positives.”

Connect the journey

“Having a single application to monitor, manage and maintain your company’s social media presence is massive in this scenario”, Kris emphasises. “When your customer finally gets through to an agent, if that agent can't see a single view of the customer across multiple channels then the customer is going to become more and more frustrated by the time they actually get to speak to someone.”

Insights and trends

That consolidated view serves a double purpose. Having an integrated view of customer data doesn’t just help to solve for customers in the short-term. It also provides a single-pane-of-glass view that can be used to spot trends and reveal insights vital for the continued optimisation of your company’s customer service capabilities in the future.

Read more: 10 questions to ask yourself when reviewing your contact centre

Key takeaways for contact centre managers looking forward

Kris offers the following key takeaways to help improve the digital customer experience:

  • Expand your reach — in 2022, it’s vital that you’re able to communicate with customers on the channels that they want to use. Digital channels like social media and messaging apps give your customers choice.
  • Take a single view — as the number of channels you support grows, having a single view of the customer's journey is important for keeping the cost to serve down.
  • Engage the flexibility of WhatsApp — the Facebook-owned messaging app offers a great deal of customer service capabilities in terms of the voice notes, image sending, and convenience, that when a customer sees a WhatsApp logo on a website, they are already going to feel much more positive about the forthcoming interaction.
  • Set up a common knowledge base — being able to communicate on all these channels predicates the importance of consistent responses, whichever channel is used. A knowledge base enables agents to respond quickly and with the right answer. For any complex or common FAQs, consistency across platforms is key.
Forrester predicts digital customer service interactions will have increased 40% by the time 2021 is behind us. Putting in place the technology and the processes now to bring digital applications into your contact centre will set you up for success, helping you to future-proof your service operations and keep your customers happy — wherever they are.

For more information about digital contact centre solutions and how to align them with your technology roadmap, download our latest guide, ‘The Road Ahead: How to Map Your Business Technology Strategy for 2022’.

‘The Road Ahead: How to Map Your Business Technology Strategy for 2022’.


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