National Customer Service Week One: harnessing the power of real-time customer insight

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James Brooks 7th October 2019 5 minute read

National Customer Service Week One: harnessing the power of real-time customer insight

From the 7th-11th October we’re celebrating the Institute of Customer Service’s (ICS) National Customer Service Week 2019. Every day focusses on a different theme to recognise and celebrate customer service success.

Day one of National Customer Service Week is all about ‘Insight: Knowing your customer and how to deliver to them.’ Last year Capita launched Socia-Live, an award-winning* social insight platform, which measures and analyses conversations between the customer and a company’s brand in real-time. One year on from its launch, James Brooks, Innovation Principal at Capita Customer Management explains how the tool is generating interesting insight and a breadth of benefits that can help shape better experiences and outcomes for customers.

What does Socia-Live do?

Essentially it is a data and insight tool that integrates with social media to identify key themes and topics as well as overall sentiment in order to rank and compare a brand’s performance against competitors, across the entire customer journey.  

How does it help the customer services industry specifically?

There are lots of social media analytics tools, but Socia-Live has been designed specifically for the customer services industry. For example, it accounts for and accurately records the nuances of each sector, to ensure that conversations are categorised appropriately, customer journey steps are reflected correctly and the sentiment analysis is reliable. This means agents and organisations can use the insight more effectively to shape their strategy – this may be from simple customer journey improvements to finding new opportunities to boost sales.

What are some of the findings that Socia-Live has generated since its inception?

Socia-Live became a really powerful tool around the last Black Friday campaign. With 1 in 6 people splashing the cash and a total predicted spend of over £200million, Black Friday is now a major milestone in the retail calendar – but a potential strain on resources and the customer experience. We ran Socia-Live during the full week leading up to Black Friday. Not surprisingly the volume of customer contacts spiked massively, by over 80 per cent. But more interestingly we also found that customer sentiment fell significantly from a neutral pre-Black Friday score.

For two leading high street retailers, the insight highlighted some key issues in particular. The first suffered an online checkout issue that led to a severe spike in customer dissatisfaction, worsening sentiment by 50%. The second retailer experienced a social media backlash to an advert that aired that week, causing a 38% drop in sentiment.

The implications from this type of insight are many. Organisations can rapidly react to customer trends, prepare more effectively for peaks and not least, more accurately forecast the amount of resource they will need to manage customer interactions via social media channels.

How can it help the end user?

An interesting example is how insight generated through Socia-Live  can be used to help protect vulnerable customers from fraud. Earlier this year, we used the tool to understand the root cause for why there was a sharp rise in vulnerable customers within the telecommunications industry.  We found that a large number of customers had been the victims of an SMS scam, receiving a text message claiming to be from their mobile provider and stating that their most recent payment had not been collected. Individuals who clicked on the link within the SMS message were directed to a rogue site to provide their bank details to complete the missed payment – and ultimately fell victim to fraud.

By tracking such data like this, brands can gain valuable insight into customers that are likely to be targeted, which they can then use to pre-emptively brief consumers and advisors alike to alert them to potential scammers.

How do you think organisations can maximise the use of insight in the future?

Organisations should be harnessing the power of real-time customer insight to adapt to sudden events which might cause increased contact volumes or negative sentiment.

Strategically organisations can also use social media insight to develop more well- informed customer interactions.

It’s all about enabling personalised and relevant experiences, at the right time.


*In April 2019, Capita Customer Management’s Innovation Team received an award from The Forum for Innovation in Customer Insight, for the development and use of Socia-Live, which was credited for ‘listening to customers and helping business leaders understand the customer experience.’

To find out more about Socia-Live, visit

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