Organisations are increasingly looking to add value by harnessing the vast information network that is Twitter. Twitter connects businesses to customers in real-time and the fact that it is free and built on open-source software is even more compelling a reason to use it as an effective customer services tool to gather feedback on products and services, and build relationships with customers.
A client recently conducted a survey amongst its customers and found that a large number of them are frequent Twitter users. The client already had a contact centre in place and wanted to enable its contact centre agents to monitor relevant tweets (i.e. those mentioning its Twitter ID) so they could respond accordingly.
The client was using SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and SAP CRM Interaction Centre.
The prototype that Bluefin Solutions developed based on the requirements
The design is simple. The contact centre agent would be able to see all tweets mentioning the client's Twitter account in the SAP CRM Interaction Centre without having to log on to Twitter. Information displayed includes the customer's tweet, date and time of the tweet and username. If the customer's username is linked to an existing account in SAP CRM, the account ID will also be displayed.
The agent can then reply to the tweet or send a direct message (if they are following one another) to the customer. At the discretion of the agent, a service request can be created for follow-up processing. The content of the tweet will be automatically copied to the service request.
The solution allows the client to add social media as another form of communication channel to their existing customer engagement strategy and can be easily implemented on top of their existing SAP CRM solution with minimal cost.
What is required to build the integration between SAP CRM and Twitter?
We started by registering our application on the Twitter Developers site in order to obtain the authentication details required for when we tweet a reply from SAP CRM. Next, we created a Business Server Page (BSP) application to display and manage tweets in the CRM Web UI. The BSP Component Workbench is a tool provided by SAP to help with the development of the UI components.
Twitter already has an API called Twitter REST API that allows external parties to retrieve and reply to tweets, and send direct messages. The Twitter REST API passes data in the form of Web services. ABAP development is required to establish a HTTP request to connect to the Twitter REST API and handle the user authentication that is required when we tweet a reply or send a direct message. This requires time and effort.
The good news is that we were able to install an ABAP Twitter API available from the SAP Community Network (SCN) that handles the connection to Twitter, parsing of the response and user authentication. All we had to do was to add the ABAP code to structure the data to be sent back to Twitter and manipulate the data retrieved from Twitter.
Finally, we used standard SAP CRM configuration to add the BSP component as a work center to the navigation bar in the CRM Web UI.
We were able to develop the solution within a very short time frame. In addition to the standard SAP CRM toolset, we also made use of reusable ABAP code from our own internal, as well as external, knowledge base. This saved a lot of development time and effort.
SAP provides the ability to integrate social media tools. It isn't absolutely out of the box but it's pretty easy to setup if you know how and very flexible in the way you want to manage various social media feeds.