We have customer service, and we have since the dawn of mankind. (No doubt since the day when one cave person first sold another cave person a used club.) We have social media, which – despite not having been around for very long – has permeated our communications landscape to an astonishing degree. Today, people not only keep in touch with each other via social media, they read news stories, listen to music, shop, read reviews, share photos and videos, invite others to events, date and more.
It’s only been relatively recently since customer support and social media have merged. It’s nothing that companies did, but it’s a phenomenon that has originated with customers, who expect to receive attention from companies they attempt to engage with on social media. Companies have been scrambling in recent years to catch up, monitoring social media posts and communications and attempting to resolve problems and issues over these channels.
According to recent research, most companies haven’t been doing such a good job of it.
A new Forrester (News - Alert) study has uncovered what it calls a serious lack of ownership and understanding of social media within organizations that could see brands fall behind in the overall customer service stakes, according to Conversocial, which commissioned the study. More than two-thirds (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 U.K. However, only one-third 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.
In the earliest days of social media, many companies drew the conclusion that marketing should own the channel. It made some sense in the beginning: social media is great way to gather intelligence about a company’s marketing effectiveness. When customers began to make it clear they expected resolution via social media, and not just someone to listen, forward-thinking companies were quick to move social media to the contact center, where it belongs.
“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,” according to Conversocial. “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.”
Many contact centers have turned to integrated, on-demand contact center platforms that allow them to include social media communications in the mix of channels they employ to service customers. This way, social media posts can be treated just like phone calls, emails or chat sessions, even put into the contact center’s queues and tracked, recorded and stored in order to preserve a complete picture of the customer.
If your company’s social media program is still languishing in the marketing department, it’s likely that you’re falling behind – way behind – in providing the robust customer experience you might be seeking to offer. To move forward, it’s time to put social customer support where it belongs: with the customer support experts.