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Social Dynamx Social Software Targets Call Centers

Social customer care tool aims at large-scale contact center operations, claims big customers like Dish Networks and Time Warner Cable.

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While many CRM and contact center software products now claim to manage social media as another channel alongside email, chat, and phone, the startup Social Dynamx is staking a claim to being the first to make managing social interactions a scalable operation.

"We're the first built for high volume," Social Dynamx COO Jan Ryan said in an interview, citing large customers like Dish Networks and Time Warner Cable as early adopters of the software-as-a-service product, which offers role-specific user interfaces for agents, managers, and supervisors. "We'll be announcing two or three very big household brands later this spring."

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Social Dynamx does not necessarily replace other social media monitoring tools. Although it offers its own "listener" software, it can also integrate with other products like Radian6--an important tactic, since many large companies have already bought into one or more of those products and might not be inclined to change.

Instead, Social Dynamx concentrates on the requirements of contact center operations. "What we're seeing in the first generation of products is that they were built for marketing," Ryan said.

Social Dynamx concentrates on more efficient handling of social media contacts that require a response from a company--identifying them, routing them to the right group of agents, and allowing agents to "check out" and handle specific social posts.

That last item--making sure that multiple agents aren't responding to the same tweet, just as you wouldn't have multiple call center agents picking up the same phone call-- is not necessarily addressed in competing solutions, Ryan said, but it's essential to keep members of a large team from stumbling over each other.

Mark Cohen, director of operations at Dish Network, said that is one of the reasons he became an early Social Dynamx customer. "Social media is a growing communications channel for our customers, and it's grown to the point where we thought we could benefit from a more robust tool than we had in the past," Cohen said. "Other tools don't actually let you get ownership of an issue. Unless the tool checks the issue out to someone, you end up with double posts--and if you're working directly through Twitter or Facebook, it's chaos."

Dish was willing to take a chance on the startup partly because of the strength of the Social Dynamx leadership team and also because it liked the tool, Cohen said. "I think one of the important things you should do when you pick a tool is pick one you like," he said. The tool's ability to integrate with the social media listening tool favored by the Dish marketing department also simplified its adoption, he said.

Most companies with ambitious social media service and support programs are working with "multiple products duct-taped together," according to Ryan. Established contact center software makers are working to build support for social media into their products, but they are not moving as fast as customer expectations are, she said.

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