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Summary

The social customer service vendor Conversocial has released Crowds, a new tool that will allow businesses to manage and encourage crowdsourced answers about their products and services. With Crowds businesses can identify highly engaged customers and encourage them to respond to questions from their peers on social media. Customers are already responding to each other on social media, but Crowds provides a way to formalize this process. It will ensure that customer service managers can better utilize and understand peer-to–peer support as part of a multichannel customer service strategy.

Crowds makes sense for social businesses looking to take crowdsourcing one step further

Customers have become more confident in expressing their concerns and asking support questions on social channels. But businesses typically have little influence over who responds to posts on Twitter and Facebook (as opposed to in walled forums and communities). In addition, they may not be able to track when a query has been answered correctly. By having a mechanism in place to motivate key users to respond, businesses will be able to manage and improve peer-to-peer support.

The tool works by allowing businesses to invite key customer users into a select group that can access Conversocial’s Crowds on a mobile browser. The “Crowd Experts” are sent posts on relevant topics in their knowledge areas and can respond to queries through the tool. If they are unable to respond to a particular question, the post can be pushed to an agent. Experts can earn rewards for responding, as well as recognition of their knowledge. The application works alongside Conversocial’s social customer service platform so that activity metrics can be tracked and agents can collaborate with users to ensure accurate responses.

The application makes sense for businesses that already have a strong social brand presence and have identified knowledgeable customers who can act as brand experts. It will work well in industries where customers are easily able to provide knowledge and solve problems for one other, for example consumer technology, travel, or retail. The solution will benefit both customers and the organization: customers get faster answers from peers whom they trust, and the business is able to develop a network of power users while improving social resolution rates and customer satisfaction. Businesses are also able to better manage and understand peer behavior; they can utilize the crowdsourcing trend to develop improved customer service strategies.

Conversocial does not offer a communities product today, but Crowds replicates community-driven service in the simpler social media channels to give the vendor an edge over its competitors. However, its success will rely on businesses to maintain a motivated group of customers who will continue to provide support. It also raises the issue of trust; today’s customers are inclined to trust peers and friends, but if they know that businesses are motivating people it could affect their confidence in a brand. Businesses need to work with Conversocial to determine how they can manage marketing and customer service via social media in order to maintain customers’ trust while encouraging crowd experts to participate.

Appendix

Further reading

Social Media Trends in Telecoms, IT0024-000103 (August 2014)

Benchmarking Enterprise Maturity for Social Customer Service, IT020-000018 (April 2014)

Author

Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst, Customer Engagement

aphrodite.brinsmead@ovum.com

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