Customer Experience News & Trends

Should you allow social media use in the contact center? Research says …

You probably use social media to connect with customers. But should you let contact center employees use it for personal reasons at work, too? Researchers might have the answer for you.

It’s a debatable question these days: Is social media a distraction or productivity booster?

On one hand, employees use social media to get updated on friends and family and learn new information — all things that boost morale, and thus, productivity. On the other hand, some employees check every alert that something new has been posted and lose their focus.

What researchers found

Recent research could have the answer for you. In separate studies, researchers at Evolv and Warwick School of Business found correlations between social media usage at work and rises in retention and productivity.

That’s right: When people can get their Facebook fix and Pinterest pins, they actually do more work. In fact, the Evolv researchers looked at nearly 40,000 contact center staff members specifically. Agents who were on one of four social network sites at least weekly stayed at their jobs longer than those who stayed Facebook-free. Researchers also found in a smaller study that those who regularly used more than five social networks had more sales in less time.

And it might not just be front-line reps who should get a daily dose of social media. In the Warwick study, people in management who were regularly on social media were more creative and collaborative at work. The online time actually made their personal interaction time more effective.

The question to ask, the guide to use

So perhaps the question isn’t: “Should we allow social media use at work or not?” Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, “How can we manage social media use in the contact center?”

These tips on balancing productivity with social media use can help:

  • Create a policy. More than 80% of companies have plans that show employees what’s acceptable to do and share at work, as opposed to banning social media altogether.
  • Make your policy easy to find (on the company intranet, posted in communal areas such as break rooms, etc.) and ask them to sign-off on having read and agreed to abide by at it yearly, or as often as it changes.
  • Be ready to evolve. Because social media changes often, and lawsuits change how it affects employer-employee relationships, your policy will likely have to evolve with time. Regularly review to be sure it’s in line with what’s going on in the social and legal world.
  • Use it. Social media allows employees to collaborate more quickly than ever. If you can, create your own social spots (on your Intranet or through applications like Google+, Wikis and Yammer, among others).

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