We asked Sid Banerjee, Founder and Vice Chairman of Clarabridge all “the things” around the social media management industry.
Here’s his take:
1. What do you believe are the key ingredients for a brand to engage successfully with their customers on social media?
Listen everywhere—don’t depend on a single channel, or a narrow slice of the internet. Engage often—use technology to understand a sincere interest in engagement, and engage. But also take the time to process all interactions, suggestions, ideas, market trends, competitive insights, and build an always-on view of your customers by tracking, trending, alerting, and acting on insights even for those customers you don’t engage with.
2. As an industry insider what are you most excited about concerning innovation in the field?
I’m very excited by the application of deep learning and AI technologies to understand not just what people are saying on the internet, but to understand how questions get answered. How problems are solved. How best to react and respond to threats and challenges. These learning technologies are making increasingly possible to not just find and engage with customers via social media, but to predict how best to respond, and to optimize the timing, and content of responses to ensure your customers feel listened to, and responded to. In time I expect more and more conversations via social media will be man (or woman) to machine, and if the machines are smart, empathetic, and responsive, they will create efficiencies and better engagement outcomes for more organizations who use them.
3. Can you share your thoughts around social customer service and how it differs (or parallels) social media management?
Social Media Management is really about curating your brand, understanding the equity, attachment, and loyalty your customers have to your brand, and tracking these concepts with metrics, reports, and models that identity who, why, and how customers respond to your brand. It’s market research, and customer insights applied to social media.
Social Customer Service is the next evolution of the traditional telephone/call center. Customer service is no longer just about picking up a phone and calling an agent to have an issue resolved. Today companies use social media, messaging, self service forums, knowledge bases, email, chat, chatbots, and telephone calls to support customer service. Customer Service is multichannel endeavor, and Social Customer Service is an important, public facing channel for helping connect customers to companies to answer questions, solve problems, and help drive positive outcomes. It’s about not just listening, but engaging with customers on this important channel.
4. Name that trend: Can you share what industry trend you are most excited about at the moment as well as what’s hot but probably not worth the hype?
Excited—Smart voice appliances like Alexa and Google Home. These gadgets are showing up in homes, in phones, in cars, and pretty much are going to be disruptive to many modes of communication that today require a keyboard. I predict in the next decade we will be talking to round objects everywhere, and relying a lot less on things with screens and keyboards. Even social media will be interactive and audible, not just text. And social customer service will move to these devices.
Hyped—typewritten chatbots. I expect audiobots will be huge, but chatbots are just an intermediate step on the way to audible man/machine interfaces. Chatbots are temporary.
5. Tell us the most rewarding interaction you have ever had with a brand on social and why it has stuck with you.
A few years ago I was traveling on a Virgin Trains train north out of London for a meeting with a customer, and as I left the train and walked down the platform I realized I’d left my backpack which contained my computer and passport, above my seat. I had a flight home later that day and realized without my backpack I was stranded. I ran back to the train just as it departed the station. At the station I found a Virgin Trains station manager, Mick, who communicated to the train engineer, who passed my backpack at the next station to a train heading back south, and I retrieved my pack when I returned to the station after my meeting. I offered to tip the stationmaster, but he said, “No worries, it’s my job. Just tweet about it!”
And I did: