Embracing Social Customer Service

Joshua March of  Conversocial points out that social customer service is  moving to the adopter stage with businesses increasingly benefiting from online customer service delivery, but he asks asks how many companies are actually practicing the delivery of exceptional social customer service.

The Ideal

 Research by SAP, Social Media Today and Pivot titled The Social Customer Service Conflict, examines the ideals and realities of social customer service in practice. Their research, based on The Social Customer Engagement Index, finds strong market enthusiasm:

  • 71% of businesses use social media for customer service
  • 88% report a positive impact on their business.

The Reality

Insufficient Resources: Still, while many companies are interested, most don’t yet believe that the social channels are a serious customer service route, on a par with email and phone, and fail to allocate significant resources to social customer care.

Of those surveyed:

  • 77.6% invested less than $50,000.

Joshua reminds us that first contact resolution is the key to customer satisfaction, but, without the right people in place to pick up social inquiries and deal with them to completion on the front line of social communication, the experience can just become more time consuming and frustrating for all involved.

Insufficient Process  (Poor Integration): Companies using social customer service seldom use it to its full potential.

  • Only 17.7% solve at least 25% of customer service issues online.
  • Almost 40% respond on an ad-hoc basis, but haven’t put a process in place.

Poor Response Times: The lack of investment and process show up in poor response times:

  • 32.5% of businesses response times take around 4 hours.
  • 30% of customers on Twitter expect an answer within 30 minutes.
  • 29% of customers on FB expect an answer in under 2 hours.

The results?

Like many initiatives that get implemented today, the implementation of customer service on social channels can become yet another “also ran” service that companies do because everyone else is doing it.  However, this approach gravely underestimates the risks. Adding a weak customer service channel can undermine your brand’s reputation.  Businesses have become far more customer-led than ever before.

The full Social Customer Service Conflict Infographic is available to view in full here.

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