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Chicago and Glasgow – Sword Ciboodle, a global provider of customer solutions, and customer experience advisory thinkJar, released the results of a research survey targeting US and UK companies with medium- to large-sized contact centers on their use of social media specifically for customer service.
With nearly 400 responses from around the globe, and representation from more than 10 industry verticals, the research helped to reveal insights into how organizations are leveraging social channels for customer service. The analysis covers topics such as the longevity and maturity of the social customer service practice, the integration of social channels with traditional channels, and the decision and selection criteria used to determine social customer service programs.
Survey results indicated that social channels have been strongly embraced, with 59 percent of organizations having adopted Twitter and 60% adopting Facebook, and almost 85 percent of those who have adopted one, have adopted both together. However, while social channels are widely used, participants showed that justification and validation of social customer service is proving to be a challenge.
There are a variety of differences in how social channels are used, and factors such as an organization’s size, industry and geography also play an important role. Integration of data, as well as finding the right balance between social customer service and more “traditional” channels, is an important part of what companies are wrestling with.
The size of the company is an additional factor in the maturity of its social customer program. For example, 40 percent of respondents in companies with 1000 or more contact center agents say that their social customer service initiatives have been in place for at least two years. In contrast, 53 percent of companies with smaller contact centers say that current programs were implemented within the past year to two years.
The reasons behind the move of all companies, regardless of size, to social customer service is customer driven, with 56 percent of respondents implementing social customer service due to customer request, compared with 40 percent that put the programs in place to keep up with competitors.
“The direction social channels is headed when it comes to customer service is fascinating and a true ‘game-changer’ for businesses,” said Esteban Kolsky, principal and founder of thinkJar. “The trick is to truly understand how to navigate this hyped-up, yet semi-mysterious ‘customer service frontier.’ This research report is a must-have for all organizations who want to really know where to go with social in customer service.”
“What’s important for every organization to realize is, while social channels are constantly evolving, they are not new anymore,” said Mitch Lieberman, Vice President of Market Strategy at Sword Ciboodle. “The most successful customer service program will happen for businesses who incorporate social into their overall customer engagement practices, and really keep pace with the way their customers are communicating with them in all areas.”
To download a full copy of the research “We Are Social: The State of Social Customer Service”, which includes full survey research findings and conclusions, visit: www.sword-ciboodle.com/socialcustomerservice.