Study: Brands Failing on Social Media as Customer Service Tool

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Study: Brands Failing on Social Media as Customer Service Tool

07/01/2014
A commissioned study*, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of social customer service platform Conversocial, reveals a lack of ownership and understanding of social media within organizations that could see brands fall behind in the overall customer service stakes.

More than half (67 percent) of companies interviewed believe that social customer service is growing in importance and is the most pressing short-term priority for contact centers in the U.S. and UK. However, only 33 percent of the social customer service solutions being used by those interviewed were actually selected by the customer service team, with the rest being obtained solely for marketing purposes.

Today's social media users are more demanding than ever of the brands they know and love when it comes to customer service over channels such as Facebook and Twitter. As the social landscape evolves, customers are moving away from traditional communications methods such as email and phone, and expecting more from the conversations they are having on social networks. However, the power struggle between the marketing and customer service departments means that there is currently a disconnect: businesses are failing to put the right technology in place to support the complex needs of social customer service.

Here's what the social customer landscape currently looks like:
  • Between 2009 and 2012 the number of customers using Twitter for customer service has doubled to 22 percent
  • However, people still rate their experiences via phone, websites, emails, IM/ SMS over using social channels such as Twitter and Facebook as a result of poor social media management
  • People are more satisfied with their experiences on the phone, via email, or even going to the FAQ section of a brand's website than through Twitter or Facebook
  • More than one third (35 percent) of social customer service agents have to restart the conversation with a customer for every single interaction because they don't have a record of conversation history
Conversocial Founder and CEO, Joshua March noted, "Businesses need to realize that social doesn't just sit with your marketing team anymore. Social media is a primary customer service channel alongside email, phone and chat. Our platform alone handles more than 200 requests per minute and 275,000 requests a day, so brands cannot neglect these channels. We believe that marketing and customer service departments should work more closely together. But this comes through real human relationship – not by siloing social media into a single tool that doesn't allow customer service to reach its full potential."

Delving further into the key differences between all-in-one social media management tools and dedicated customer service platforms, the report found that 45 percent of users of dedicated customer service solutions (such as Conversocial) rated the productivity and efficiency of their agents as 'Excellent.' This compared to those using free solutions (10 percent) and more general social media management solutions (8 percent) where customer service effectiveness was much lower.

Clare Wilkerson, head of multichannel strategy at Direct Line stated: "There are many aspects of social media that make it different from traditional service channels, the biggest being that it's so public! However, when a customer reaches out for help they don't care about the channel, they just want a great service experience. Dedicated solutions allow customer service teams to do what they do best…serve the customer."

*On behalf of Conversocial, Forrester Consulting administered a survey to 159 senior contact center executives with headcounts ranging from 100 – 5000+ agents to better understand how dedicated social customer service solutions compare to marketing's social media management solutions (SMMS). The survey was distributed across retail, travel, consumer finance, telecom and utility companies.