Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, chat and other social networks offer companies unprecedented opportunities for both internal and external collaboration to create, share, publish and mine data. But data in and of itself – without a structure and strategy around it – isn’t of any true value.
Organisations, especially those that are customer facing, need tools to help them strategically tap into and manage social data to derive business value from it. They need the means to transform their ‘big’ social data into actionable ‘big’ knowledge that can be used to improve operational performance.
The Social Status Quo
Creating and leveraging social data for business value (building big knowledge) is both an opportunity and challenge to the customer facing enterprise. Social networks provide fresh, cost-effective forums with which organisations can measure, manage, and drive customer interactions, ranging from prospecting to service to sales.
It’s a rich, new source for data creation and collaboration that, managed properly, can harness the expertise of an entire enterprise for problem solving. Yet the very pervasiveness of social data can be daunting to organisations that want to tap into it.
External and internal communities – customers, partners, and employees – are using social to discuss, collaborate, inform, and question, and are doing so across the full range of mediums, all in real time. There isn’t a single entity or person creating, curating or disseminating all the data on social, often making it maddeningly difficult to know where information originated or resides. Social networks have raised the responsiveness bar to new heights.
Accustomed to social’s fast pace, its diverse communications options, and rich information, customers are demanding that companies respond more rapidly and accurately across social and traditional channels – essentially expecting large organisation resources delivered with small organisation agility. Clearly, contact centre and other customer service staff don’t have all the answers, and when they don’t, they need time to source them.
In fact according to a ThinkJar study, nearly 26% of customer inquiries require contact centre staff to escalate an issue in order to find the resolution. Organisations need the means to go beyond information silos and tap into the collective expertise of the entire enterprise to find answers. Once information is located, companies need the tools to validate it before it goes public, lest they risk customer ill-well, regulatory non-compliance or worse.
Harnessing Social To Create Knowledge
So how can organisations grapple with the momentous tasks of capturing, organising and validating social data, quickly and knowledgably? Organisations that want to transform their social data into big knowledge should consider the following tools and methodologies:
- Discover subject matter expertise and leverage it through internal social communities. Find, attract, and retain SMEs by rewarding them
- Create, enhance and publish content using internal and external platforms such as blogs and micro-blogs, wikis, internal discussion forums, and customer communities
- Use other tools such as expertise locators, information ratings, and reputation mechanisms to identify, develop and vet content
- Consider and act on feedback gleaned from taking part in customer conversations. Combine customer insights, with employees’ to gain a complete full circle view. Use these insights to develop rich knowledgebases and content repositories with tools for authoring and editorial workflows
- Once content has been created, verify and certify it using workflow and approval tools. This can be very important from a regulatory and compliance point of view
- Employ search and indexing capabilities that allow queries to be run against internal knowledgebases and external content
- Help agents and customers rapidly resolve issues with resolution workflow tools such as decision trees and wizards. Social networks pose challenges but also provide rich opportunities for organisations to enhance customer interactions and drive business value. The full range of data gleaned from social, both within and outside of a company, needs to harnessed, optimised, and redistributed to be truly valuable. By applying the right strategies, tools and methodologies companies can create value, thereby transforming ‘big’ social data into big knowledge.