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I have been exploring for a while to see if a link between our customer service agents on Yammer and our customers on Twitter exists. Is there a point at which the two platforms could come together in the provision of customer service? 

Happily there is. It's a bit clunky but it works. And the answer is '#yam'. 

Let me set the scene. Every day via Twitter our customers ask us any number of questions covering a wide range of topics. Many of these I simply don't know the answer to and until we get our customer service agents working directly on Twitter (which will happen) I will email these queries through to either our customer service agents or to our knowledge experts.

This whole process got me thinking: could we simply tweet these queries through to the relevant person/team internally and for them in turn to respond directly to the customer?

And then one day last week I had a breakthrough moment. I am not sure what triggered it, but I thought about the '#yam' hashtag.

Let me digress for a moment and switch my attention to Yammer. We have been using Yammer internally for a few months now. We have about 305 members who have sent out 2,963 messages. It's still growing and we have let membership grow organically. There are individual and teams from across the business and located in different offices around the UK and Europe.

What we have found with Yammer is that it has hugely sped up either the identification of the relevant knowledge owner or the actual solution itself. In the past we would have had to find the relevant knowledge owner. Now we simply post the question on Yammer and an answer will come back to us within minutes.

Fast forward now to this blog post and my breakthrough moment. A customer had tweeted about their order and the fact that it was for a birthday present. There was a real sense of urgency from the customer. I also knew there was very little I could add to the process, I simply needed to put the customer in touch with one of our customer service agents and quickly. 

Not sure why, but I thought to myself what would happen if I added the '#yam' tag at the end of my tweet, as well as mentioning the customers Twitter id. So this is what I tweeted:

Customer query: Could FSE pls help @[TwitterId] with a missing order asap on Thu. Probs w/ order no. It's a birthday present. Thx #yam

(FSE = Fanatical Support, our customer service agents).

The customer first tweeted about the issue at 22:50pm on Thursday evening. I sent out the above tweet a little after midnight on Friday and it was picked up on Yammer and responded to by one of our customer service agents at 9.03 Friday morning. The issue was finally resolved at 13:34 on Friday. Obviously part of this took place out of office hours, but it showed that it could work. Twitter and Yammer could work together using the '#yam' tag.

Whilst this is by no means revolutionary, I would like to think that there is an element of the evolutionary about it in terms of how we provide customer service. The '#yam' tag has shown us how we can bring our customers and customer service agents closer together. Firstline issues can be identified and therefore resolved potentially more quickly without a customer having to call through to the contact centre; a win-win situation for all.

Perhaps another piece of the customer service jigsaw has been put in place through the use of social media; the very medium that is forcing businesses to re-examine and re-engineer how customer service is provided.

Guy Stephens

Published 6 July, 2009 by Guy Stephens

Guy Stephens is a Social Business Consultant at IBM and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter (@guy1067) and check out his blog

7 more posts from this author

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Eric Matas

Yammer is a Twitter-like microblog. It aggregates by email address: you can be "friends" with or "follow" only those people with the same email extension as you (e.g. @ibm.com).

Businesses like it because they feel secure knowing that not just anybody can see the posts.

about 7 years ago

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twitooters

micro blogs like twitter.com yammer.com and microtalks.com are a grate way to comunicate on line i thing we are just tipping the ice berg

about 7 years ago

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Mike

Another idea: Try importing into Yammer a Twitter search for your company name or Twitter ID.  You can then subscribe to that feed within Yammer and then re-post relevant message with Yammer hashtags or user names.  The biggest advantage of this approach is that your forwarding message will be private to Yammer, rather than a public tweet.  [More menu -> RSS Feeds -> Add an RSS Feed -> Twitter search term]

about 7 years ago

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Keith McCarty

Guy Stephens,

First, thanks for the Yammer mention in your article. You point out a great use case for Twitter and Yammer by outlining your use of Twitter for external communication and Yammer for internal communication. We actully use Twitter and Yammer the same way.

As @Mike mentions in the comment above, importing a Twitter RSS feed into Yammer is another great way to incorporate external and internal communication. For example, we import the Twitter RSS feed for the keyword "Yammer", which is our company's name. This enables us to read and have internal discussions around the things people are tweeting about our brand.

If you haven't already, import an RSS feed for a search term based on your company's name, here:

https://www.yammer.com/rss_feeds/select_type

We'd love to hear if it helps integrate and align your internal and external communication, like it has ours.

Once again, tahnks for the wonderful article and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you,

Keith McCarty

The Yammer Team

about 7 years ago

Guy Stephens

Guy Stephens, Social Customer Care Consultant at IBM Interactive Experience/GBS/MobileEnterprise

Hi Keith

Thanks for the comments. I will look into the RSS feeds (thanks Mike also for that suggestion) and I think that functionality will become more relevant as we get our customer service agents dealing directly with customers rather than goign through me at the moment. The fact that it all happens within Yammer makes it much easier. What would be great is the ability to respond to a customer tweet directly from Yammer, but for now happy to keep the two systems separate.

Just to let you know we also used Yammer and Twitter to let both our customers and employees keep updated with what was being said at our recent internal One Team conference. This is a conference where over 1200 managers from across the business attended, including directors, CEO and Chairman. Perhaps one of the first instances of a company tweeting and using Yammer to let the outside world in and keep employees updated. It was very really well received by the 400 or so employees currently on Yammer. We are continuing the use of Yammer at different events and weekly meetings to ensure all employees across the business are kept in touch with what is going on. And our hope is that more and more of our employees will subscribe to it as they hear about it.

It's a great system, so will be watching how it develops closely. Thanks

guy

about 7 years ago

Guy Stephens

Guy Stephens, Social Customer Care Consultant at IBM Interactive Experience/GBS/MobileEnterprise

Hi Keith

Meant to add, you can see what happened at the conference at @cpw1team or use the hashtag #cpw1t. What you see is what went out both via Twitter and Yammer.

guy

about 7 years ago

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s

I think you fail to include WHY adding that has tag works - it's because you have to link your accounts. You also fail to mention you can do that with Facebook, Identica, IRC, etc etc. It's nothing special with Yammer.

about 7 years ago

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