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The progress we’re making with technology has been nothing short of impressive. While many technological advancements are helping mankind in various fields, there’s a growing concern that these upgrades may eliminate the need for human involvement.

We’ve made so much headway in the field of artificial intelligence and automation that many think they pose a threat to the human workforce. With pop culture portraying AI as an antagonising entity in the form of murderous robots and scheming self-aware computer programs, it just fans the flames of fear. As far-fetched as this may seem, the fear is warranted, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Fortunately, modern applications of AI like chatbots and automation are way less sinister than Skynet’s Terminator robots. Chatbots: Where did they come from?

Current commercial applications of artificial intelligence are in the form of chatbots. They may not be life-threatening, but pessimists think they do pose a threat to the human labour force. These chatbots are commonly the AI-driven automated responses we get when we engage them on chat conversations online.

Perhaps they all blame it to Alan Turing when he came up with the Turing Test back in 1950. This was actually when the concept of artificial intelligence and robots came into being.

With the Turing Test paving the way, the first chatbot was created in the form of Eliza in an MIT laboratory back in 1966. It simulated human conversations by matching user prompts to scripted responses. Soon after, many other known chatbots followed such as Jabbarwacky in the late 80s, ALICE in the mid-90s, and virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa are now being used. But perhaps, the most widely used chatbot is the one featured on Facebook Messenger.

Will chatbots replace humans in the workplace?

Chatbots have proven to be useful in many aspects across different industries. They’re widely used in customer service and IT outsourcing support, where they engage customers and provide immediate solutions to their concerns. This fast-tracks the process and will only need human intervention when tackling more complex issues.

Virtual assistants help with basic tasks such as asking information from the internet, which could be done by Google Assistant and Siri. For more complex jobs like switching the lights on and off, and controlling the temperature of a smart home, Alexa can do all these for you.

These examples show that chatbots are not about to replace humans, but instead help us make our jobs a whole lot easier by filling in the gaps where we may have deficiencies. To put it simply, they are here to augment our capabilities.

Here are some scenarios where chatbots augment instead of replace humans in the workplace:

1. When humans are asleep, chatbots can fill in for therapists in case someone needs immediate mental health care.

Humans, as biological beings, need rest. And with mental illness a constant threat to anyone suffering from it, therapists should be available 24/7. However, this is not usually the case. And with the absence of quality healthcare to many countries across the globe, this created a need for a chatbot to help those suffering from depression.

Through cognitive behavioural therapy or C.B.T., former computer programmer Alison Darcy worked with a team of psychologists and an AI expert to create Woebot, a text-chatbot therapist that helps people suffering from depression by coaxing them to describe their moods more clearly. This may help save lives when therapists could not be reached.

Chatbots are also used in preventing suicides. Australian non-profit organisation Lifeline launched a Twitter chatbot to help the friends and family of those at risk to easily begin a conversation about suicide. And since more young people are in danger, the integration of a chatbot on social media may prove to be a lifesaver.

2. Triage chatbots as a more accurate way for patients to diagnose their symptoms vs Google search

It seems that chatbots are perceived to be useful in the healthcare industry as they play a crucial role in helping people diagnose their symptoms better than Google search.

Triage chatbots are presented as better alternatives to search engines so patients would know the appropriate steps to take once they’ve answered a set of questions based on their symptoms. This would help them know whether to rush to the ER, have themselves checked up at the nearest clinic or go to the urgent care centre.

3. Banking chatbots help customers with transactions and finance management

Handling your finances are now more accurate thanks to Kasisto’s KAI, a banking chatbot and virtual assistant that functions as a bank’s messaging, mobile and web platforms. The tool is built using industry-specific knowledge, which aims to help customers not only with their payments and transactions but also with account insights and personal finance management.

KAI uses natural language processing, AI reasoning, and speech recognition technology to deliver intelligent, human-like conversations through text and voice. It can also extract meaning and intent through its engagement with customers to provide the service they need.

Conclusion

By the looks of it, chatbots are here to stay. It’s an invaluable tool in helping streamline any process by automating responses, therefore, speeding operations to reach a definitive solution. However, this doesn’t mean they are going to replace humans; they merely function to augment our skills since they work on a limited capacity.

Pretty soon, chatbots will be integrated into the workplace to elevate both employee and customer experience by providing seamless service through more precise solutions, and boosting employee skills by helping them focus on more complex tasks.

The post Will Chatbots and Automation Replace Humans in the Workplace? appeared first on transcosmos.

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When even a tech giant can’t promise the security and integrity of its data, how can small players hope to defend themselves against malicious hackers?

In September 2018, Facebook discovered that 50 million of their users had their accounts compromised. Hackers reportedly took advantage of a software bug that was introduced in a 2017 video uploading feature to gain ‘access tokens’ and take over some of the accounts.

The social media platform logged out 90 million users—including 40 million potentially at risk—and patched up the bugs to solve the problem. This controversy follows the heels of their Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year.

Understandably, this news has left both consumers and businesses upset. Facebook is one of the biggest digital companies to date, and they thrive on the information users give them. Mishandling that trust is one of the biggest errors a business can make, as we’re sure to see a lot of consequences from this issue.

The State of Cybersecurity in 2018

Facebook is just one of the millions of companies that are victims of hacking. Statistics show there are over 130 large-scale breaches in the States every year, and that number is increasing by 27% annually.

Source: 2017 Cost of Cyber Crime Study

To put it in even a larger perspective:

  • 31% of companies have experienced cyber-attacks targeting their operational infrastructure.
  • 24,400 malicious mobile apps get blocked every day.
  • Yahoo!, Uber, Google, and Under Armor’s My Fitness Pal are just some of the biggest companies attacked by a data breach within the last two years alone.

Cyber threats can take on many forms, and your business is at risk whether you are hiring IT outsourcing services or have an in-house team. The most common of these are malware, ransomware, corporate account takeovers (CATO), distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, spam, and phishing.

Read more: 11 Cyber Security Risks Every Business Should Prepare For

The year 2017 specifically saw a rise in ransomware attacks, where hackers can threaten a business to expose their confidential information unless a ransom is paid. These threats are expected to continue increasing at an alarming rate of 350% annually.

What Can We Learn from Facebook’s Latest Security Breach? Lesson #1: The more data you have, the more likely you are to be a target.

Facebook has over 2.2 billion users. The amount of data that can be mined from that platform alone will give hackers a lot of leverage to ask for ransom, steal your identity, or plot other malicious crimes. According to Symantec, phone numbers (63%) and device location (37%) are the two most often leaked information from apps.

The solution: Don’t collect data you don’t need. While data is necessary for marketing, personalization, and other business goals, it won’t do your consumers any good if you can’t build a safe space for their valuable information.

Lesson #2: As cybersecurity advances, so do cyberthreats.

The saying “set it and forget it” doesn’t work for cybersecurity. While you’re working on securing your system, hackers are also working hard to bring you down. As cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike’s advertisement says: “Yesterday’s antivirus can’t stop today’s cyber attacks.”

Getting hacked will cost a company more than continuously investing in the tech needed to keep security tight. The figures are overwhelming: The average cost of a malware attack on accompany is $2.4 million. Cybersecurity Ventures pegged global ransomware costs at $5 billion in 2017. The bigger the size of your company, the higher the price it would take to recuperate from your losses.

The solution: Always update your security protocols. Be aware that there are hackers who want to steal your data every day, especially if you’re high-profile. Facebook is a top target because of their massive standing in the industry. However, this doesn’t excuse smaller companies to slack off on security.

Lesson #3: Padding features can be your weak link.

Facebook promised other digital companies that users are likely to sign up for their platform if they have a unified login—and this is how Facebook Connect was born. While there is truth to their statement, the added convenience did come with a risk.

Besides the stolen login info, Facebook later admitted that they are unsure if the hackers were able to access other accounts linked to their profile. The Facebook security breach affected all their partner websites and caused alarm for the platforms to take extra security measures.

The solution: Be wary when adding new features that center on convenience. Software updates and added features may expose weak spots in your security system. Gartner notes that misconfigurations account for 75-99% of all breaches, depending on the platform. It’s inevitable to add new features, but you should exercise caution while doing so.

Lesson #4: Having risk management in place can help you recover.

Your company’s next steps after getting attacked matters. Every plan of action is unique to each company, but it’s worth discussing before any hack even takes place.

Facebook was quick to admit the data breach to their users, followed with a statement that the problem has already been fixed. They had the right tools to detect how their system got compromised and logged out all the accounts affected.

Other companies don’t have it so lucky. A famous example is the data breach from Yahoo a few years ago. This severely hurt their image and revenue because the company kept the issue a secret for around two years. People lost trust in them, and the rest is history.

The solution: Prepare for the worst. Know the different types of cybersecurity threats, like compromised credentials, system vulnerabilities, and loss of data, to name a few. Have a contingency plan intact, so your business stays afloat amidst the attack.

Is cybersecurity just a joke?

The short answer is no—but it’s not perfect.

Cybersecurity isn’t foolproof, and unfortunately, it will never be. If anything, the whole Facebook issue is a reminder that it’s incredibly difficult to safeguard so much data—tech giants are vulnerable to attacks too. Hackers are smart and should never be underestimated. However, having multiple lines of defense is much better than having none at all.

Investing in network security is a no-brainer. Don’t question whether or not you need cybersecurity. Instead, assess the degree of protection you need to dodge threats and attacks successfully. Keeping your company and consumer data safe should be one of your top priorities at all times.

The post Is Cybersecurity Dead? What Facebook’s Biggest Data Breach Yet Teaches Us About Cybersecurity appeared first on transcosmos.

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We have been going through rapid technological advancements since the beginning of the last decade that resulted in massive changes in the economic, political, and societal landscapes around the world. Technology has indeed established itself as one of the largest spectrums of human activity, giving credence to the potentially limitless power of the human mind.

Each tech innovation or upgrade brings us closer to a possible utopian future where we save the planet and maybe thrive in another. These are ideal goals that we are all hoping could happen. At the rate that we’re going, we may be set to achieve them among other amazing technological upgrades and breakthroughs.

Moore’s Law dictates that advancements in technology make huge progress around every couple of years. This theory is based on the observation of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that the number of transistors in a densely integrated circuit doubles during that time, while the costs are halved.

Moore’s prediction has been accurate since its inception. As you would notice, advances in digital electronics have a lot to do with Moore’s Law: memory capacity, sensors, quality-adjusted microprocessor costs, and even the size of pixels in digital cameras. These rapid changes have made considerable contributions to economic growth across the globe, and Moore’s Law has helped describe the driving force behind our progress.

We have come a long way in our quest to become a technologically advanced civilisation. Over the past decade, we’ve made progress on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the internet of things by leaps and bounds. In the coming year, we are expecting the emergence of tech trends that may shake the IT outsourcing industry.

Blockchain: Beyond Bitcoin

Blockchain has been in the spotlight mainly due to the popularity of cryptocurrency. And since the technology has been found to have potential uses across different industries, blockchain is being integrated into various applications.

With all the amazing features blockchain offers, mainly its resistance to the modification of data, it has opened doors for better security in terms of executing transactions. While the technology hasn’t been widely applied just yet, 2019 is the year when we’re expecting it to be utilised in a number of business transactions, including, but not limited to:

Smart contracts

A smart contract is a computer program that has direct control over the transfer of digital currencies or assets between concerned parties under certain conditions. It not only defines the rules and penalties under the agreement like a traditional contract does, but it can also enforce those obligations automatically.

The potential of smart contracts can go beyond the simple transfer of assets. They can be used to execute transactions across different fields that include legal processes, insurance premiums, and crowdfunding agreements. Smart contracts have the potential to remove the intermediaries in the legal and financial fields through automation.

Authenticated voting

Blockchain has introduced mobile voting during the May 2018 West Virginia elections using a safe and tested interface that eliminates voter fraud while boosting turnout. This makes it more convenient for citizens in another country to vote regardless of time and distance.

The technology is also a beneficial tool in maintaining transparency in the electoral process, lessen the cost of conducting an election, streamline the counting of votes, and make sure all votes are counted.

Stock trading

Distribution ledger technology utilises computers to record, share, and synchronise transactions in appropriate ledgers as opposed to keeping data centralised like in a traditional ledger. Blockchain then organises the data into blocks which are chained together in ‘add only’ mode. This will help the transparency in the securities exchange industry.

AI Battles

Artificial intelligence is evolving at breakneck speeds. Machine learning allows AI devices to become smarter by having them duke it out against each other in a given arena. One AI attempts to outsmart the other with both trying to produce algorithms that help one AI be on top. This concept is called general adversarial networks, and could put us a step closer to realising the goals of SkyNet from the Terminator films.

2019 will also be the year when AI assistants will be developed to be powerful tools beyond smart speakers. They are set to be integrated into cars, too.

Cybersecurity

As our technology progresses, threats to our security are also becoming more malicious. Cybercriminals are continuously coming up with more ways to hack into systems and steal sensitive data. They have shifted their attention to ransomware, where they threaten to publish their victims’ data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid. This makes it all the more important to provide better security for all your devices.

When it comes to safeguarding data, the General Data Protection Regulation, which was implemented in May of 2018, applies to all organisations regardless of location. It offers a robust framework that protects data, which includes amplified responsibilities and obligations for organisations. Failure to comply with this change involves fines that can reach €20 million or 4% of an organisation’s annual turnover, whichever is higher.

One of the most disturbing of all is the rise of national-level cyber attacks, where criminals go beyond financial gain and are motivated by political agendas. They can obtain intelligence and data to defeat the objectives of any political figure through a sophisticated, targeted, and well-funded attack. This will convince governments to be more protective of their internal networks by isolating their internet connection and conducting extensive security checks on all their staff members.

3D Printing

3D printing technology has been around for quite some time now, but current printers have only been able to print objects made of plastic and basic materials. But now, 3D printing is set to break new ground by introducing 3D metal printing in 2019.

Big-name brands such as Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, and Nike are already on board in revolutionising 3D metal printing technology. HP is planning to launch its first 3D metal printer, the Jet Fusion model, which it hopes to make a difference in the manufacturing sector. Both GE and Nike have also been printing metal fuel nozzles for jet engines and metal cleats respectively.

Virtual / Augmented Reality

VR / AR devices are starting to take off, particularly in the mobile market, with the popularity of games like Pokemon Go. Apple even secured its AR market leadership when it revealed their ARKit 2.0, with advances that placed mobile AR in the same category (if not above) as headset-based AR devices such as the Google Glass. Apart from predictable tracking, measuring and rendering upgrades, ARKit now has 3D object detection, which is a big leap for the practical use of the program in mobile technology.

These advances have placed an air of uncertainty in the headset variety, despite having a lot of them show much potential. There is no established leader in the niche that even tech giant Microsoft has issues with its HoloLens, involving the convenience of use and its price tag.

Despite this hiccup, the upgrades in the development of VR / AR technology have been fantastic. There are improved gesture recognition and more natural controls, making the product more convenient for its user. You can look at an object, and it will be instantly detected, which is much like in real life where the need to turn your head is no longer essential. There are also other prototypes that have been developed which features gesture-triggered animation of the virtual objects a user is looking at.

Cloud

The simplicity provided by cloud technology is a huge factor in driving the SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) sectors to get an increasing demand. The cloud infrastructure is expected to become the default web server environment for both local and international companies, turning it into a game changer for their business processes.

Open source developers are close to creating tools that can run platforms in the cloud, so expect to see a large number of apps and projects adding more to the total cloud revenues.

When IBM introduced the first quantum computer a couple of years ago, all the tech giants such as Google, Intel, and Microsoft have been finding ways to run much-needed industry improvements smoothly. This includes seamless data encryption, improvised AI predictions in solving complex medical problems, and weather predictions, which quantum computing is needed to achieve.

The changes happening in the technology sector is clearly running at a pace where futuristic science fiction is now turning into reality. And with Moore’s Law telling us technology is going to exponentially advance in the coming years, it won’t be surprising that we will achieve more innovations set to change the way we do business and live our lives. There are definitely a lot of things to look forward to in 2019.

The post 6 IT Trends That Will Bring Breakthrough Changes in 2019 appeared first on transcosmos.

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The digital terrain is perpetually changing so everybody involved must have the resiliency to adapt to new technology. And with data playing a crucial role, knowing what to do with it can spell the difference between a profit-earning campaign and a strategy that’s headed straight down the drain.

The business environment across different industries is increasingly becoming data-driven, so companies must depend on metrics such as campaign measurements, consumer statistics and real-time data collected from customer interactions to keep up and stay relevant with the competition. For this reason, creating a data management strategy that collects, links and processes data across available channels in a secure manner is key to a business’ success.

It is crystal clear that effective data management is needed to help your company gain profit. Improper handling of data may result to the distribution and analysis of incorrect data. As a result, valuable revenue is lost. According to a quality data research report, a mere 10% of commercial companies claimed that none of their resources is wasted by poor data quality and 83% claim that inaccurate prospect or customer data impact their revenue.

As it goes with any business move to help the company realise its goals, there is always a right way to manage data even if means getting help from IT outsourcing companies. When customers put a great deal of faith in you every time they give their personal information, you have a huge responsibility of taking care of it.

You have to understand that a relationship built on trust is crucial in establishing a loyal customer base and gaining a business advantage. So, before you start planning how to manage their data, you will need to ask yourself these important questions first.

1. Should I be spending the time to collect data from customers instead of just finding ways of earning from them?

Having a significant understanding of your customer base is key to growing your business effectively, so collecting data about them gives you the much-needed insight in steering your business in the right direction. This will provide you with the ability to come up with more effective marketing strategies that involve a more targeted approach.

2. What kind of data should I be collecting?

A good start is focusing on the basics since you will need that information to get in contact with your customers in the future. This includes their name, phone number, email and mailing address. You can also go deeper into their personal information, which will help you streamline your strategies. Demographic tidbits such as age, gender and profession can be useful.

Customers may not want to share all these information at first, but as their trust in you grows they may be more inclined to give you more personal facts about their lifestyle and personality. You can go as deep as asking about their marital status, children and among others as soon as trust has been established.

Aside from personal information, a record of their transactions from past purchases can give you an in-depth look into their buying habits. This information can help your marketing strategy by pre-emptively promoting to them, particularly when they are due to make a purchase. This is also an opportunity for you to recommend a better version or send a sample to nudge them in the right direction.

3. How can I effectively collect customer data?

An opportunity will always present itself each time a customer interacts with your company. You can collect valuable data by asking how they heard about you and if they can be added to your mailing list. After making a purchase, you can send them an email of a feedback survey that contains questions about their buying experience including questions about their demographics.

It is important to note that according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, it is illegal to procure an email address from specific online sources that include blogs and internet chat rooms without the explicit permission of site users and owners.

4. How do I organise and store customer data?

All the data you collect won’t do you much good if you don’t have an efficient method to organise and store them, and a basic Excel spreadsheet isn’t one of them. The best, quickest and most cost-effective way to store, track, organise and analyse customer data is to use an all-in-one customer relationship management solution.

5. How do I keep my customers’ personal and financial data protected?

The first step in safeguarding all the valuable customer data in your possession is through encryption. This includes their names, both email and mailing addresses, credit card information, spending habits and other sensitive data in your system.

When it comes to protecting data, investing in a cybersecurity plan will always be a prudent move. You might consider acquiring the services of a data security specialist to help you with the task. Makes sure they use the highest encryption standards available for a robust security system in place.

6. How often do I need to update the records to correct errors and complete the missing details?

Customer data is perpetually changing. Many switch numbers, move to another place of residence, and there are also those who even legally change their names on a yearly basis. This makes it impossible for traditional customer relationship and data management systems to keep up with the rapid changes, resulting in gaps and inconsistencies in your records. You will need a system in place that updates and validates your customer records at least daily to avoid wasting time and money in targeting the wrong audience using the wrong message.

7. What benefits can I get from the data I collect?

The biggest advantage you can get out of collecting data is the way it adds value to your customers. It also helps you have a deeper understanding of your target customers, giving you a clearer picture of how to communicate and market to them. This will effectively streamline your strategies for a more successful marketing campaign that boosts sales.

8. Is it legal to collect customer data?

All you have to do to legally collect customer information is to create a customer information privacy policy that is accessible to read by your customers. This should make everything clear, including information on who is collecting the data, what it will be used for and if you have plans on sharing it with others.

9. Can I sell customer information to third-party marketers?

The choice is entirely yours. Like many companies, customer information is sold to turn in a profit, but be warned: doing so could alienate your customers. When this happens, many of them don’t come back once they leave.

If businesses use customer data like a mailing list, what usually happens is they just spam them with emails. But if they use it to engage in an intelligent conversation and include relevant offers, they are likely to turn into a preferred partner. It should be noted that if you ever decide to sell customer data to third parties, you should clearly make it known in your privacy policy.

10. What are the most common mistakes to avoid?

The most common mistake businesses make thus far is doing everything too fast. The right thing to do is not to force your way into them but instead, ease yourself in and let them build a foundation of trust with you. Getting in too deep and too fast when asking for your customers’ personal information can be off-putting and drive them away the moment you engage them.

Conclusion

Asking the right questions when managing data will indeed point you in the right direction. This will help you refine your whole process and create a more effective marketing strategy. Keep in mind that the main focus here is establishing trust and not breaking that trust since you will be handling their personal information, so use their data wisely. Pretty soon you will be able to reap the wonderful benefits of managing their data responsibly, which include growing your customer base, building trust with your customers and ultimately boosting your profit.

The post 10 Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Managing Customer Data appeared first on transcosmos.

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During ancient times when the internet was but a fledgeling piece of technology, man relied on archaic ways like the reliable word-of-mouth when looking for reviews about certain consumer products or services before procuring them. If you need to purchase a new television, you ask a relative, a friend or a co-worker to help you make that decision.

These days, things are done differently. There are now a variety of sources where you can look for information to help you make a sound buying decision. But despite this new shopping behaviour, the old word-of-mouth method still lives on albeit taking a more modern approach: through the continuously evolving world of social media.

With people spending a lot of time on the internet, social media has changed human behaviour in such a way that word-of-mouth marketing still lives on through posts that have gained considerable engagement. The difference is the scope has grown massive in size, so it’s not just people we know who influence us in making informed decisions, but also Facebook posts, tweets and online reviews from strangers on social media that tell us where and what to eat, what to buy and even who to vote for.

Internet users spend an average of up to 135 minutes on social media per day, and Facebook still reigns supreme as the most widely used social media platform, at 2.23 billion active users with 1.47 billion of them logging in every day.

This has drawn businesses to utilise the service to their advantage, and at the same time consumers flock to the social networking site to find useful information before making a purchase. Now, social media has turned into a place for business, too. As such, marketers are encouraged to provide an efficient customer care service to help grow their business. Here’s how:

Planning

Every business endeavour regardless of function has a higher chance of success if approached with a concrete plan. Having one when establishing social media customer support is critical in making it efficient.

A. Know where your customers are

The first step in creating a social media customer service strategy is to know precisely where across different social media platforms your customers are trying to reach out to you and in what context. The way you can do this is to run a comprehensive audit.

Through this, you will be able to find if more of your customers post questions and complaints on Twitter while sharing photos and tagging your brand on Instagram. Running an audit can help you figure out how to formulate your strategy, which may include hiring a social media customer service professional who can handle all your customer communications.

B. Setting up tools

Once you’ve determined where your customers are connecting with your brand on social media, you will need to figure out how to communicate with them quickly and efficiently when they do it in the future. You can do this with the help of tools like TweetDeck and Conversations to help you customise streams and lists according to your preferred segments and respond to them accordingly.

Building a System

Now that you have a solid strategy, it’s time to execute it through an effective system that’s going to help you achieve your goals of delivering outstanding customer service across social media platforms and boost your brand’s value.

A. Set up monitoring streams

Your streams are going to be crucial in your social listening efforts, so you will need to customise them according to your needs. This allows you to cover all comments, feedback and questions that you need to address.

B. Look for positive and negative comments

A stream that is set up to include a mention of your brand with positive and negative comments can help you know in which areas you are doing well and which ones you need to improve on. Quick tip: include common misspellings of your brand name to cover them in your streams.

C. Respond to questions as soon as possible

Customers who are trying to contact you on social media with a question would want an answer sooner rather than later, so you should also set up a stream that can help you focus on responding to messages quickly.

Majority of Twitter users (72%) expect answers to complaints within an hour, so it would be best to get on with it without delay. Facebook has attempted to speed up response rate by adding a badge on top of profiles as an indication that users are responding promptly to direct messages.

You should set up your stream to include messages that contain your brand name, a question mark and your website URL to help you get to your customers’ queries faster and provide outstanding customer service.

D. Share content regularly

Sharing content on the regular on the company’s blog page boosts the likelihood of your social followers to engage with you about what you are writing about on social media. This may be the responsibility of your content marketing team, but if you’ve been getting a lot of responses on your posts, it would be best to assign a dedicated individual to engage your customers and keep the conversation going.

E. Set up a dedicated channel for support

If you have come to a point where you are addressing a large volume of customer questions and complaints on social media, it may be prudent to create a dedicated social media channel focused on customer support. This is an effective way to separate all the customer service requests from your social media marketing efforts.

Best Social Media Customer Support Practices

In setting a standard that’s going to help you handle all your customers’ concerns, building the best practices is the way to go. Once you’ve firmly ingrained these into your process, you will be able to solve their problems straightaway, while cultivating a positive attitude towards your brand.

A. Stay positive

Always keep things light and positive when engaging customers on social media, unless they make it palpable that they’re joking around with you. In which case, you should avoid sarcasm or humour at least until the issue has been addressed. But despite the tension you may experience, don’t hesitate to show your personality when engaging customers on social media. And once you’ve solved the problem, don’t be afraid to use emojis to let your personality shine and make your customers smile.

B. Be honest

There will be times that you will encounter tough customer complaints that you don’t know how to resolve. While you don’t have to know the answer to everything during your initial response, you need to be is honest about the time it will take to solve the problem.

If you need to go as far as filing a ticket with your production team or you honestly don’t know how long it will take until your service is back up and running, be truthful about it. Your customers will appreciate the honesty more than having to get back to you for the nth time until their issue is resolved.

C. Know when to take it ‘offline’

Some customer issues can be addressed with a quick exchange, but there are times when you will have to take the conversation ‘offline’ to solve them effectively. You may ask your customers to send you a direct message or email if personal information needs to be shared or if the conversation is increasingly getting tense. This takes the discussion out of the public eye and can potentially solve the problem faster.

Reporting and Measuring Success

It is always important to keep track of your engagements and implement ways to measure the number of conversations, the topics you talk about and the sentiment analysis, if possible. All these indicators can help you determine the success rate of your social media customer service strategy.

1. Document tracking of comments and feedback

It is ideal to keep results of qualitative feedback on hand after tracking frequently occurring comments—both positive and negative—in a document. This allows you to determine which aspects of your social media customer support strategy needs to be retained or improved.

2. Quantify your efforts through customer satisfaction surveys

To follow through on your results measuring efforts, you can send a customer satisfaction survey via email and find out if they were happy with the service you have delivered through social media. The data you collect can be used to determine if you need more resources so you can provide more assistance to your customers across different platforms.

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Delivering topnotch social media customer service doesn’t seem to be daunting when armed with the fundamentals. When successfully integrated with your social media strategy, you won’t have to seek outsourcing services to achieve your goals. You will now be able to handle all your customers’ concerns in such a way that you not only address them but also leave an impression that will leave them delighted to a point where they even recommend your brand to others. It’s customer service and marketing at its finest.

The post A Starter’s Guide to Providing an Efficient Social Media Customer Support appeared first on transcosmos.

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The internet has transformed the way humans transact and communicate, highlighting how diverse language is. Modern globalisation is the pathway that led companies to face more international clients now than before. However, language barriers still exist, and this can interfere with a buyer’s experience.

Your customers should always be at the core of your business objectives, and part of this is providing them with a seamless experience after their purchase. A multilingual help desk, whether in-house or acquired through outsourcing companies, is vital to achieving this.

Benefits of a Multilingual Customer Support 1. Builds stronger customer relations

Imagine the frustration of a customer trying to explain their concern in English or another language that they’re not fluent in. It will often result in a bad experience overall, as they may not get their message across and they will not be able to comprehend the solutions being offered to them fully. Ideally, this should not have to happen.

A report from Common Sense Advisory revealed that 74% of customers would transact with a company that offers sales support in their language. Offering multilingual support shows cultural sensitivity and inclusivity for all types of customers.

Not only that, it increases customer satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. After all, why should they subscribe to the products and services of competitors whose sales team doesn’t support their language? Customers want convenience, so if you offer them that, they will stick with you.

2. Grows your reputation overseas

If you’re building a global brand, then going multilingual is the perfect move for you. A word about your company will travel fast if foreign customers catch wind of your multilingual help desk. It will gain you new customers who are potentially dissatisfied with their old service providers, as well as the opportunity to conquer untapped markets.

3. Delivers your brand message to your customers effectively

Communication becomes less of a hassle and more natural if you can convey your message to the user accurately, and vice versa. Instead of making your customers work to understand information on your website and services, cut to the chase and offer a simple solution to them: translated information.

4. Ensures you live up to customer expectations

Customer feedback is one of the backbones of continuously improving service. Listen to the voice of your customers by giving them a chance to express themselves in their native language. You’ll know what they are thinking and what else they would like to expect from you through feedback forms, surveys, and tickets.

Plus, it’s imperative for your company to offer a service that will satisfy the whole of your market. Rise to the standards they demand and watch the loyalty of your consumers increase.

5. Boosts your sales

Kwintessential notes that there is a potential for an increase of up to 100% in sales every time you make a new language available on your website. This means you get to reach more customers and build an excellent reputation as a global brand. This method is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase your revenue without shelling out too much cash.

Costumers reportedly trust websites who offer services in their language more than those who don’t.

Ways to Implement a Multilingual Customer Support 1. Open a multi-lingual knowledge base

Using powerful translation tools like Google Translate can help your team learn the most basic words in other languages. Set up FAQs with answers that have translation options to fast-track answering the most common concerns. Get a fluent speaker of that language to proof-read your FAQ page to ensure that it uses proper grammar and spelling.

If you have team members who are fluent or have a working knowledge in a different language, encourage them to share what they know with their co-workers. Satisfy your customers while simultaneously enriching your team members with a new skill.

2. Offer multilingual chat support

Technology is smarter now more than ever. Some chatbots offer instant translation services on both ends to make sure the conversation is hassle-free. Install plug-ins on your website that caters to this service.

Besides the multi-language support, your customers will be amazed at the real-time response time from your team. It’s things like these that indeed count for your customers.

3. Outsource customer support personnel

You may also hire your customer sales representatives from other parts of the world to answer more complex queries. Examples of staff you can outsource are call centers, multilingual help desk officers, and customer relationship officers.

This is a great way to build trust with your customers, too. If they know that they can count on someone from your team to understand and tend to their queries, they will be more satisfied and comfortable with the overall post-sales experience.

Conclusion

Happy and satisfied customers result in a successful business. That’s why there’s no way you could go wrong with offering multilingual sales support for your brand. It boosts your image, reaches a broader audience, and promotes inclusivity. Get ahead of your competition by providing a better experience for your users and gain their loyalty.

The post How a Multi-Language Customer Support Empowers Your Business appeared first on transcosmos.

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