Social Media Meets Good Old-Fashioned Service

In a recent briefing from RightNow Technologies, the SaaS (Software as a Service) CRM provider showcased it’s new functionality called Cloud Monitor. The vendor can now search social networking sites for comments about a company, identify the sentiment of the comment (very negative to very positive), and enable reps to respond to the comments using their normal CRM tools.

Here’s a screen shot (courtesy of RightNow) showing how the tool can be used to respond to tweets:

RightNow Cloud Monitor
RightNow Technologies' Cloud Monitor Functionality

My take: This new offering from RightNow is a great example of an important voice of the customer (VoC) trend: The integration of social media monitoring into broader VoC efforts. There’s no reason for social media efforts to look substantially different from how companies handle other forms of feedback.

And this becomes even more important when companies decide to respond. Why should reps have different (and less integrated) tools for responding to Tweets than they do when responding to emails? They shouldn’t. RightNow’s type of solution allows companies to utilize existing knowledge bases, efficiently deal with correspondences, and maintain a centralized record of customer contacts.

While this initial functionality from RightNow is a good starting point, it certainly needs some more enhancements before it matches up with pure brand monitoring tools. Here are some of the areas where it should (and likely will) make improvements: A broader set of sites that it monitors, classification (and agent routing) of comments by topic, identification of the influence level of the commenter, inference of customer details (like is it a customer or not), and tailored text mining tools.

So, for the time being, companies need to make a trade-off between comprehensive brand monitoring tools and integration with CRM applications. But it won’t be long until social media is just another channel that companies interact with through their existing CRM applications.

The bottom line: Everything new that survives becomes mainstream. 

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

4 thoughts on “Social Media Meets Good Old-Fashioned Service”

  1. Good stuff. Would be interesting to see how competition picks up.

    Nevertheless one addition to the functionalities it should have (or maybe already has): stick case to rep (agent/CSR’s) in order to prevent multiple reps to deal with one customer on same case (worst case: providing different solutions too).

    Just wondering: is this the new money-maker for outsourcers? they have been “suffering” from volume reduction initiatives (on top of the down-turn) and now comes along this great tool that actually searches for contacts.. I would be thrilled..

    1. Hi Wim: I think the social media contacts can be managed like any other queue of contacts. But for many of them, the system won’t be able to tell who the people are. So it would be nearly impossible to coordinate contacts if that person contacted the company through another channel. Over time, however, I think that improved analytics will be able to discover the identity of more of these social media contacts.

      And, I was just with an outsourcer today who is looking into this area…

  2. It was nice catching up with you Bruce. I agree it is still all about the positive customer experience. Social media is just another service channel that companies interact with customers and if the end customer experience is bad, no matter what the channel- web, phone, email, or Twitter, they won’t do business with a company again.”

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