A Primer on Conversation Status

Overview

VSocial Community Manager offers a fairly flexible Status methodology. Realizing that for a given Conversation, there may be many different queries that each will need to be handled. (Example, the originator of the Conversation, the Fan posting on a Fan Page's Timeline, originally asked about 3G service. Another Fan may reply to that post and ask another question about signal strength in a specific area of town.)

This situation is very common in Social Media due to it's free-form nature. Given this fact, it was determined that Conversation-level Status was not sufficient. You wouldn't want to mark the entire conversation as Closed if there are still 3 distinctly different queries bundled in the Conversation. likewise, you'd like to be able to close the original Query if it was handled for reporting purposes.

For this reason, VSocial Community Manager thinks of each and every Conversation Post as a separate Conversation when it comes to Status.

Available Status

VSocial Community Manager comes with 10 built-in status types. These are:

  1. New
  2. Open
  3. Reopened
  4. Accepted
  5. Responded
  6. Verified
  7. Closed
  8. Ignored
  9. Outgoing
  10. Outgoing-Ext

Some of these statuses have special meaning to VSocial (for reporting and other built-in workflow functionality). The rest are available to the user. It is up to the user to use them or not.

Reserved Statuses

Statuses are defined as "Reserved" because they have special functionality in VSocial Community Manager. At this time, there are 4 such statuses, and it is important that the user understand the implications of each.

  1. New
  2. Open
  3. Closed
  4. Ignored

New

All new incoming Conversations (Tweets, Wall posts, Photos, Direct Messages, etc.) will automatically be set to this status. The user can be assured that Conversations in the "New" status have not yet been handled by any other users. A Conversation will loose the status when it is changed in some way - that is, if it is replied to, tagged, assigned, or it's status was explicitly changed by a user.

Open

When a Conversation is changed in any way - that is, if it is replied to, tagged, or assigned, VSocial will automatically change it's status to "Open"

Closed

VSocial will not automatically "Close" Conversations - this is the responsibility of the user. The user should actively "Close" Conversations that the user feels no longer need to be handled. Conversations that are closed will not appear in the default Conversation listing view - unless the "Close" filter is selected, or if there is a new reply by the fan. It is good practice to actively Close conversations to keep the Conversation listing view clean. VSocial uses this status in the Community Manager reports. This is an incredibly important status and the users should actively make a habit of using it.

Ignored

The user may want to "Ignore" a Conversation if the user feels the Conversation is not relevant to the Brand (such as spam), or if the Conversation does not add value to an existing thread (such as a "Thanks!"). VSocial uses this status in the Community Manager reports. It is not a requirement this status be used, however.

 

Unreserved Statuses

The following statuses are "Unreserved" statuses, meaning, they do not have any special meaning to VSocial, and their use is completely optional.

  1. Reopened
  2. Accepted
  3. Responded
  4. Verified

Reopened

Some customers use this status to signify a Conversation that has been reopened, and thus, needs further handling.

Accepted

This is a useful status for teams of community managers - individuals can "take" or "Accept" a Conversation for handling to let others on the team know that the Conversation is being handled.

Responded

This status can be used to signify that the Conversation was "Responded" to but not yet ready to be closed. A good use case for this status is leaving an initial reply like "We'll get back to you", while waiting on other input to fully handle the request from outside teams.

Verified

This status can be used by teams where a clear Community Manager -> Supervisor hierarchy is in place, and where responses by Community Managers are to be verified by their supervisors.

 

System Statuses

The following two statuses cannot explicitly be selected by the user; instead, they are "system statuses" that are set by the system:

  1. Outgoing
  2. Outgoing-Ext

Outgoing

Messages that are set to the status of "Outgoing" reference messages that are authored by the Page or Twitter account managed by VSocial, and authored from inside of VSocial.

Outgoing-Ext

Messages that are set to the status of "Outgoing-Ext" reference messages that are authored by the Page or Twitter account managed by VSocial, but authored from outside of VSocial.

 

Changing Status - Humans, Not Machines

It is important to note that in order for VSocial Community Manager to be a flexible product to meet the needs of a diverse user base, Conversation Status are never automatically set by the system. Conversation Status needs to be manually set by the Community Manager/Agents.

There are several reasons for this. The primary two reasons are:

  1. Conversations need to be and can only be interpreted by humans, not machines. How can the application know when to "close" a conversation? Just by replying to a query, doesn't necessarily mean the query has been handled to a satisfactory level. Often, replies are seeking additional information. So in these common cases, the Conversation should still be marked as Open!
  2. Every organization has their own workflow for getting work done. Some are complicated, some are simple. In order to accommodate the diverse nature of our clients, the VSocial Community Manager does not force status cause and effect. Some organizations may have several steps. Some organizations may require another team to verify that the query was resolved before closing. Some organizations may have a single agent working on all queries, and as such, a simple workflow is needed (open -> close).

 

Setting the Status of a Conversation

Setting status is quick, and setting Status can be done independently from the other actions in the Edit Conversation Pane. First, click on the Conversation to activate the Edit Conversation Pane.

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All you need to do is find the Status dropdown, click it, and select the Status you wish to set the Conversation as.

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Select the Status you want, and then click Save Changes. You're all set!

 

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