A recent survey of companies in the US and UK showed that 59% have now adopted Twitter as a customer service channel and 60% have adopted Facebook.
It is interesting to note that most social customer service adoption is customer driven, with 56% of respondents saying that the customer has asked them to modify their contact centre service to include social media.
So customers are increasingly asking their customer experience providers to provide a social customer service channel, but many are not finding it easy to integrate this into their contact centre service.
There are various reasons for this, but in my opinion the most simple is that social media is not just a bolt-on channel – it is not like going from a voice-only contact centre and then adding email capabilities.
Because social media and these social interactions with customers are entirely transparent, good service is visible to the entire world. Conversely everyone can also see poor service, and anything can be retweeted or forwarded to friends – it is an entirely new way of working with customers.
All these issues around transparency and the ability to amplify examples of service mean that there is now a marketing angle to customer service. If you do it well then the online community will appreciate what you do and examples will be shared with friends. Do something poorly and the online community will all be laughing about your terrible service.
So now the corporate communications and marketing people need to be involved in your customer strategy, but customer care can’t be too locked down and scripted – every customer has a different problem. So this does become tricky.
We have been thinking for a long time about the evolution of customer service in this direction and so we do have a framework in place called ePerformance. It is something that needs to be modified for each customer, but there is a broad toolkit that helps you to include a social element within your customer service strategy without making the mistake of thinking that it’s just simply another channel that can be easily added to the existing service.
Photo by Dell licensed under Creative Commons