For companies serious about social media customer care - there is nothing quite like Sparkcentral.
January 23, 2015

For companies serious about social media customer care - there is nothing quite like Sparkcentral.

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Sparkcentral

In late 2013, we embarked on a mission to split our social publishing in half. Our existing setup was to have our customer care team, and our social media marketing team both work within Hootsuite. While Hootsuite performs very well, it is not the best option for either of our needs; publishing or customer care.

Within our company, we offer 24/7/365 customer care in social media using a team of 20 trained agents. Our main issues in Hootsuite for customer care were the lack of a good workflow management, weak customer interaction history and lack of basics like locking customer cards to prevent duplicated replies. We also experienced agents who would sometimes pick and chose which customers to reply to, sometimes delaying replies to inquiries that need some extra work. Additionally, we could not always determine which agent was responsible for a reply.
  • The biggest advantage of the Sparkcentral platform is its "inbox zero" philosophy. With this, our customer support requests are queued within the app, and agents need to work down the queue to keep it empty.
  • The app is designed from the ground up for customer care - instead of taking a generic social platform, and sprinkling in some customer care tools. Everything about Sparkcental is designed for helping our customers.
  • Sparkcentral allows us to do much better CRM. We can make customer notes, see recent interactions, determine who helped the customer (and when).
  • Mobile is lacking entirely. While the site is responsive, it is not possible to use Sparkcentral on the go with a mobile device smaller than a tablet.
  • The most important positive impact Sparkcentral had was immediately visible - our response time dropped 90%. We used to have interactions wait for over an hour to be handled, but we're now down to an 8 minute average.
  • The quality of our responses has improved - we're able to provide our agents with the tools they need to create well written replies, and have basics like automatically splitting of messages to send longer replies on Twitter.
  • Our customer support in social improved so much, that we actually won an award just 6 months after implementation.
Sparkcentral is in an excellent place - they are the only true stand-alone social media customer care platform. We also provide support through Oracle RightNow (Chat/email), but the social add-on for that appeared to be weak. Hootsuite works fine for small teams of low volume customer care, but for a dedicated social care platform, we could not find anything else worth considering.
Put simply - Sparkcentral is not designed for true social publishing. Since the platform is developed solely for customer care, it is actually a GOOD thing that agents are unable to publish new content. We only ask them to reply to customers, and it is not in their requirements to post new content to our social channels.
This is by far the strongest feature of Sparkcentral - agents are immediately pinged when a customer enters the queue, and with a well trained agent, you can bring response times down to several minutes. Agents take automatic ownership of issues as soon as they click on it they can assign to different agents. Analytics are constantly improving, and we can easily and quickly pull up the latest performance reports.

Data collection is all based on your own skills in setting the app up. "Out of the box", it pulls in your own branded mentions, but can also pull in a variety of other phrases or keywords. There are powerful rules in the app to filter out spam, remove contest entry mentions or other irrelevant content you don't want to send to the agent. For requests that enter the queue and do not need a response, one click can send the entry into the archives, ready to move on to the next item.
Analytics, while relatively basic are able to provide everything a customer care center manager needs to report on performance both on a brand level, and an agent level. The analytics section focuses purely on customer care performance, and does not have additional features to do brand analytics or other keyword metrics. Reports can be exported in CSV format only.
Sparkcentral really shines in a team environment - its workflow features make it ideal for true collaboration. It is currently limited to Twitter and Facebook, so companies who provide customer support on other channels may need additional tools.