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Siemens Adds Social Media to Contact Center

As discussed in a June blog by fellow No-Jitter contributor Brian Riggs, integration of social media interactions into contact center solutions is hot, hot, hot. But how do media stories translate into actionable steps for companies trying to decide how best to handle social media? To help answer this question, Siemens Enterprise commissioned the Yankee Group to conduct an online survey of 750 consumers and employees in March and April 2010 to identify their opinions and needs related to social media usage and their interactions with businesses.

The findings indicate that social media adoption is already changing the behaviors of consumers and employees, and that businesses need to take their social media strategies seriously. Respondents (81%) indicate that they are interested in tools that could help them, "Easily filter through social posts to find issues relevant to my interests." Seventy-five percent want to, "Receive an alert if a customer posts something about my company on any social site."

Following up on a demo done by SVP Mark Straton during his keynote at VoiceCon Orlando 2010, yesterday Siemens Enterprise issued a press release announcing availability of OpenScape Fusion Social Media Integrations to help companies wanting to integrate social media both into the contact center and into Unified Communications applications. Some of the specific tasks that Siemens outlined that can be accomplished using the new OpenScape Fusion integrations include:

* Monitor and Filter Target Social Media: In addition to integrating with third party filtering applications like Radian6 and Lithium, SEN has created its own application for Twitter monitoring, TwitterScraper

* Categorize and Route Interactions based on attributes such as keyword analysis, response keys, to/from, sentiment rating, etc.

* Agent Handling and Response Tools: Leveraging existing OpenScape Contact Center capabilities and tools, provide screen pop, scripting, templated responses, and callback capability for social media interactions.

* Tracking and Reporting: Integration with contact center reports/monitoring.

One of the key tenets of the Siemens approach is to map existing technologies to the new media--not re-invent the wheel. The approach of beginning with a professional services-led engagement, as opposed to a fully-baked productized offering, is a smart one. Much as social media is hot, it is still difficult for companies to assess how exactly to monetize this interest, for example with increased sales or more targeted marketing campaigns.

Note: The Avaya approach to contact center-social media integration discussed by Brian in his June blog is similar to Siemens'--available today via professional services engagement.