Love it or hate it, ignoring social media is next to impossible. A large percentage of customers are now turning to social media sites for recommendations, reviews and choosing businesses. Managing an online social media profile has become a means of survival for numerous businesses.
Not all businesses are equipped to handle the work scope involved in maintaining an online profile. This income generating avenue, once the forte of small advisory firms, is moving into the realm of Business Process Outsourcing firms.
Contact centers to become mainstream communication channels
Voice contact centers that have hitherto served the purpose of contact centers between customers and companies is now a thing of the past. The idea of calling to register opinions and thoughts is now too tedious for the online community of customers. It is much easier and preferable to rely on social media websites as contact centers for both clients and companies.
Maintaining online reputation is not an easy task with thousands if not lakhs of entries about the company going live every half hour. Social media forums are very similar to double edged knives. Social media entries can be immensely helpful in creating and maintaining a bond with direct customers but they can also ruin reputations through negative comments and feedback.
The work scope often includes scanning for keywords online, reputation management services and maintaining online social media forums where customers can initiate contact with companies.
Combatting product criticism, generating sales leads and monitoring social media websites are what companies like Aditya Birla Minacs, Aegis and FirstSource are now offering. The potential for India to lead the sector of monitoring multi-channel communication is stark and ready to be utilized.
The industry body Nasscom realizing the potential of social media is looking into setting up a dedicated center of excellence in the realm of social media profile management. Industry experts point out that the social media revenue is likely going to exceed expectations and touch around 50 billion dollars by the year 2020.
Relevance of social media profile management centers
Aditya Birla Minacs’ chief executive officer claimed that the company invested nearly 11 million dollars in services related to the social media realm. When confronted with million dollar investments, questions about the relevance and usefulness of the avenue do crop up.
Smita Gaikwad, the global head of marketing at FirstSource was quoted as saying, “These offerings help you move up the value chain. Plus, the sales cycle and adoption time us short. Where a typical contact center contract could take 18 months, something like this takes about six months.”
With the existing voice contact centers losing relevance, BPOs are looking for new avenues of revenue. Outsourcing companies like Aegis believe in social media profile management as a means to get a whole new client base. Although the deals are made on smaller scales, the profit margins on such services are much larger and more lucrative than the traditional contact center business process.
Daisy Chittilapilly, Cisco India’s Vice President summed up the social media profile’s relevance when she said, “Everything is becoming more proactive. Companies can’t dictate the way they talk to customers. They have to adapt to the way the customer wants to be served and contact centers are now reflecting that.”
With the number of customers for BPOs increasing every month, the companies that manufacture or sell specialized software for social media profile management are also cashing in on the trend. Aspect Social software was launched by Aspect Software, offers solutions to tie social media into contact centers. The software is being lapped up by Indian BPOs eager to get on the fast track to customers. Online contact centers are being redefined through social media profile management and BPOs are the current trendsetters.