Getting the Big Picture on Social Customer Care

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As customers expand their use of different channels to satisfy different needs, many companies continue to build out their support capabilities across various channels, including social. As companies gain more experience with social support, many contact center leaders are trying to strike a balance between the expectations that customers have for problem resolution and response times and what's practical from a costs and resource standpoint. In doing so, it's important to look at the big picture when it comes to social support.

As customers expand their use of different channels to satisfy different needs, many companies continue to build out their support capabilities across various channels, including social. As companies gain more experience with social support, many contact center leaders are trying to strike a balance between the expectations that customers have for problem resolution and response times and what's practical from a costs and resource standpoint. In doing so, it's important to look at the big picture when it comes to social support.Various studies have found that just a fraction of all customer support interactions - roughly two to five percent - are being handled by contact centers via social. While this represents just a small portion of daily customer support inquiries that are hitting most contact centers, there are other factors for contact center leaders and other decision makers to consider when it comes to resource allocation.

According to research by The Social Habit, 42 percent of consumers who contact a brand, product, or company on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. While 25 percent of consumers in the same study they expect a response that same day, some customers are more demanding, with 20 percent expecting a response within 15 minutes.
Many companies scale back or discontinue social support at night or on weekends. Yet The Social Habit study finds that 57 percent of consumers expect the same response time during these intervals as during normal business hours.

Another piece of the puzzle for contact center leaders to consider is the level of influence that social customers wield. The 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer finds that consumers who used social media for service exert a tremendous amount of influence. They also freely share their service experiences - both good and bad -- and claim that they'd spend 21 percent more with companies that deliver great service.

Ultimately, each company must decide what makes sense for them in terms of the level of resources they're willing to commit to support in social and other channels such as chat and mobile. But as Millenials who are fervent users of social and mobile channels continue to increase their buying clout, it's important for executives to gain a deeper understanding of the customers and prospects that are using social and other channels for support and the types of issues they're looking to resolve in specific channels such as Twitter and Facebook to help ensure that they're able to meet or even exceed customer expectations.

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