Digital customer care trends – part four: Social media momentum

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We can’t overstate the impact social media’s had on consumer behaviour over the last decade. Consumers are using social media platforms to share ideas, research products and services, leave reviews, check reviews, consult friends, make enquiries and even rant about companies that don’t meet their expectations.

38% of consumers now see social media as the best way to get help urgently. And that number is rising every year.  Close to half of our respondents point to social media as the fastest channel for getting feedback from organisations. I experienced this myself when flying from Bordeaux airport last summer. The flight was delayed and with a simple tweet to the airline, I was more informed than the ground staff acting on their behalf.

The power of social media is obvious. But what’s not obvious is why so many organisations are still treating it as an inferior customer contact channel. You rarely see social media sitting in equal status alongside the call centre. It’s normally less resourced than other channels, with advisors using an inferior technical set up, meaning they can’t always help customers in the best way. This results in the customer getting passed on to another channel.

Are customers who use social media more patient with organisations than those calling into the contact centre? Are their queries less urgent or less important? Of course not. It’s time to treat social media communications with the same respect as other channels.

Social media must be brought into omni-channel strategies and be treated as an equal amongst other contact mediums. Our research shows customers clearly want it. They’d like to have conversations on social media, order products and services directly through Facebook and half of them might even share their social media profile to get a better service. Social media must form an integral part of the wider customer service strategy.

We’ve been running an extensive global research programme since 2010. We want to know what digital channels and devices customers are using to communicate with companies. And if their expectations for those communications are being met. Our latest output from this research programme is ‘Chat, Tap, Talk. Eight key trends in Digital Customer Care’. Download your complimentary copy here.

Joseph Walsh

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