Incorporating Social CRM Into Virtual Agent Technology

by Jessica Cody, Marketing Manager

Maximizing your company’s social media presence and delivering an excellent customer experience go hand in hand. When deciding whether to go with a certain product or company, individuals are much more likely to listen to the opinion of a fellow customer than to a company advertisement. For this reason, it makes sense to combine social media with a company’s customer relationship management system.

Social media is a simple, yet cost-effective, way for customers to engage with your brand, and to listen to what people are saying about your company and/or product. Social media presence can come not only from social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, but also online product reviews and a company’s online community, which can be a very useful resource for support.

Creative Virtual and Lithium Community Software have partnered to provide an advancedask tina intuit strategy for combining Virtual Agent technology with online customer communities for clients such as Intuit and Verizon. When a customer asks a question, Intuit’s Ask Tina is able to respond with not only knowledgebase answers, but answers provided from Intuit’s online community, along with links back to the community where many customers engage. Go to Quickbooks Canada and click “Chat with Tina Now” under “Ask Intuit” along the right side; inquire about “Working with your upgraded company file in Quickbooks 2010”, and the Intuit Community page is offered as a clickable link option in the bottom right corner of the pop-up. Incorporating community discussion into the Virtual Agent experience reduces customer service costs because many problems can be easily solved peer-to-peer, saving a call to the call center.

Verizon’s online community also serves as a keen resource for the company’s Virtual Agent, Ask Verizon. Launch the Virtual Agent, select the FiOS TV tab and ask “Why won’t my Media Manager function properly?” The Virtual Agent answers with a notification that a peer-to-peer forum answer has been found for that question, with a link to the forum post. Click on the link and a screen pops up with several helpful questions and answers from other users on the topic.

Content promoted from the community drives down the cost of knowledge creation, and helps keep current information available to customers. Any product issues that multiple customers have posted about are identified by Creative Virtual’s system and used to update the knowledgebase with current information that will assist users experiencing that issue. This allows them to stay on top of any pressing support needs, and integrate community conversations into everyday customer support.

From a sales perspective, this integration is also effective because community entries can influence customers to purchase a particular product, or present new, innovative ideas to the company. Whether you realize it or not, your customers are actually advertising for you. Why not take advantage of it?

Twitter is another great tool for listening to what your customers think about your company and/or product.The Virtual Zone has created an excellent Twitter tool that allows companies to listen to customers’ particular tweets about their company or product, using sentiment analysis (an application of natural language processing). The tweets are sorted by sentiment (positive, negative, question or comment) and subject. Response tweets can be automated or done manually. For more information, visit The Virtual Zone blog.

Below is a video demonstration of Creative Virtual and Lithium’s strategy: