Low Cost Customer Service Toolkit for Social Media “listening”

Your customers ARE talking!

You have two choices: either join the conversation or ignore it. I am convinced that it’s better to participate than hang out on the sidelines. This point is driven home by a customer service presentation given by Christine Timmins Barry, Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Convergys.

Over the last couple of months, I have led a project to incorporate Social Media into our Customer Service efforts. Like many start-up efforts, we have a minimal budget available at the onset. Therefore, we have focused on building a low-cost Social Media toolkit that allows us to “get into the game”. After listening for a couple of months, we found that the vast majority of our “hits” happen on Twitter, blogs and our company’s Facebook page which seems to be typical for many companies.  

While we are still in the pilot phase of this project, we have made significant headway in refining our toolkit. Most of these tools are free and effective – just what you need to get started on your Social Media listening efforts!

Our toolkit includes:

  • RSS feeds of Twitter Search results – We have found RSS feeds to be very reliable in finding all mentions of specific keywords or keyword phrases. We have set up RSS feeds for each of several keyword and keyword phrases. (Free)
  • Yahoo! Pipes –  We have found Pipes to be fairly reliable but they sometimes yield incomplete results. This is especially true when we try to use more than one keyword across multiple Social Media platforms. For this reason, we keep our Pipes simple and make a separate Pipe for each keyword or keyword phrase. (Free)
  • Tweetdeck –  Great tool for getting real-time results on specific keyword searches. We use Tweetdeck primarily to alert us for customer-service related tweets coming to our official Marketing twitter account. (Free)
  • Google Blog Search – Invaluable tool for searching blogs. When people are really mad, it seems their Social Media platform of choice is Twitter and/or blogs. For the major customer service issue, blogs will light up! Google Blog Search will find it for you. (Free)
  • Addictomatic – Useful Social Media dashboard listening tool that  searches across multiple Social Media platforms including ones that do not normally come to mind. e.g.: Twingly Blog Search. (Free)
  • socialmention – While not one of our primary tools, we do check this regularly. There have been a few times when socialmention’s website was not accessible which is the major reason why we do not rely on it as a primary tool. (Free)
  • Yammer – You found a mention, now you need to track who is handling it and how you ultimately responded to it. We use Yammer as a “poor man’s CRM” tool. Tracking mentions and responses  is easy using their FaceBook style interface. (Free for basic functions, low-cost option on a per-user basis for reporting and advance Admin features)

So there you have it! Don’t let cost get in your way – start listening now!

Are you using these tools? Have you found other effective tools for low-cost monitoring? I’d love to hear what you think!

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2 Responses to “Low Cost Customer Service Toolkit for Social Media “listening””

  1. homeloan_ninja Says:

    Great post once again. love these “cheap tech tools” type posts! bookmarking, will probably come back and digg, reddit, stumble, etc.

    anyone who doesn’t see the opportunity SoMe provides to not just manage, but OWN brand reputation and image, is certifiably “out there” (in my professional medical opinion l-)

    i see at least one example every week or two of a company using SoMe to address a grievance in a positive way. also, the opportunities to answer ??s is incomprehensible.

    thanks for sharing the “toolkit”!

    • servicerox Says:

      Thanks – it’s still a hard-sell to convince some biz people of the value of SoMe. They want hard ROI and don’t understand the soft benefits that engaging customers this way provides.

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