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Goal

Upgrade to a powerful and scalable social listening and engagement platform to better address the ever-increasing volume of customers seeking support via social media.

Solution

Replace prior vendor with Lithium Response (formerly Lithium Social Web) so that agents could respond and resolve issues more efficiently and care managers could better track the analytical components needed to report on progress and monitor agents' performance.

“We give customers the opportunity to use the channel that they best prefer, and in the process, we direct volume away from the call center and reduce queues and wait times.”

Phil Blum
Social Media Customer Care Manager

Business Challenge

When Phil Blum was selected to lead the social media arm of TWC's customer care operations in 2010, the company was unsure of the value of assigning customer service agents to monitor Facebook and Twitter. With 15 million residential customers, the vast majority of whom use traditional support channels like voice and chat, social media felt like a mere drop in the bucket. But Blum, who came from an extensive call center background, was determined to bring high-quality service experience to customers on the Web. “We understand that there are a lot of people that come to us via social media because that's the way they like to interact,” says Blum. “We also understand that it's a highly visible support channel, unlike voice or chat.” Blum's team was given increased latitude and empowered to reach out to customers in the social sphere and ensure their needs were met.

Blum started with a three-person team, using Radian6 to engage with customers on Twitter and Facebook. “Radian6 is a great listening tool, but it's not the most efficient engagement tool,” he says. Radian6 also lacked the tracking and analytical components Blum needed to report on his team's progress and monitor his agents' performance, which were critical to ensuring his team could scale to address the ever-increasing volume of TWC customers seeking support via social media.

Blum shared his concerns with Carter Calle, who manages TWC's alternative care strategies. Together, they made the decision to switch to Lithium Response. “We really liked the product, we really liked the team, and we really liked the culture at Lithium,” says Calle.

Solution

After only a few months using Lithium Response, Blum grew his team to 10 agents and saw noticeable increases in their productivity and ability to respond to customers. Instead of using a patchwork of Radian6, Excel spreadsheets, e-mail, Facebook, and Post-It notes, the social customer care team now has one streamlined platform in which to identify messages that need a response, manage social conversations to resolution, and gather data on their performance. “Bringing Lithium Response to bear on the problem helped us to very quickly organize our efforts: we turned tweets into cases, the cases could be assigned and tracked and reported on, and that gave us insight into how many people it takes to manage the volume effectively,” says Calle.

The integrated nature of Lithium Response has also allowed agents to tackle cases more quickly, saving the time and hassle of switching between tools. Instead of asking customers on Facebook to e-mail them directly, the customer care team is able to seamlessly integrate private Facebook messages into their conversations with customers. Lithium Response also allows ad-hoc workgroups to be set up to accommodate spikes in specific service issues. TWC enters negotiations with various broadcasters to address retransmission rights and carriage fees, which at times results in a channel or channels being blacked out in various markets until agreements are reached. Lithium Response reallocates those posts to be moved to a separate workgroup where multiple customers can be replied to at once, allowing the team to not lose focus on other customer service issues.

The Results

Within weeks of rollout, TWC successfully used Lithium Response to respond to customer inquiries, field complaints, and log tickets for service issues. For the first time, supervisors and managers had detailed metrics and analytics on post dispositions, agent handle times and response times.

Lithium Response also proved critical in sustaining TWC's customer relationships in the midst of one of the worst storms in recent history. As Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast in the fall of 2012, closing businesses and knocking out power in multiple states, customers were anxious to learn when their Internet and television service would return. With cellular towers overwhelmed, many of them turned to their only remaining avenue of contact with the company: accessing Facebook and Twitter via their smartphones.

The hurricane was a crucial test for the team. With only ten agents and an overwhelming increase in posts, the team was able to step up to the plate and received kudos from grateful customers for their timely response.

Building a Social Content Hub

After finding success with Social Web, Calle and the Alternative Care Strategies team are now working with Lithium to launch a community platform. “We quickly discovered that offering a community is a critical way to ensure customers get support,” says Calle. “We want to bring the conversations that are already happening about us onto the Time Warner Cable domain so that we can engender goodwill, provide more transparency, and weigh in on those conversations where appropriate.” The community will be fully integrated with the Social Web product, allowing Blum's agents to respond directly to forum posts, create and escalate cases, and direct Facebook and Twitter users to relevant posts within the community.

Time Warner Cable’s community

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