Between 2009 and 2012 the number of consumers using Twitter for customer support climbed to 22 percent, highlighting the increasing popularity of social customer service. Yet, while consumer demand continues to indicate an uptick in usage, companies across industries lag behind the trend as they allow marketing to retain control of the brand's social efforts.
Conversocial's recent social customer service study explores the great divide between customer service and marketing by emphasizing the effectiveness of dedicated social customer service solutions versus the more common social media management solutions (SMMS) that marketing budgets traditionally employ. Conducted by Forrester, the survey polled 159 senior contact center executives in the U.S. and the U.K. with headcounts ranging from 100 to5,000+ agents throughout the retail, travel, consumer finance, telecom, and utility industries. The study largely aims to prove that, if perpetuated, this power struggle between the conflicting departments will only hinder progress, as social media moves beyond the marketing realm to stand alone as its own primary customer service channel.
The following statistics demonstrate the current state of social customer service and the benefits dedicated solutions bring to the contact center and the organization overall:
- While 67 percent of respondents believe that social customer service will continue to grow in importance, and that it's their most pressing short-term priority, only 33 percent of the social customer service solutions used by those polled were chosen by the customer service team itself.
- Sixty-two percent of those surveyed believe they will limit their ability to gain the competitive advantage if they don't adopt and integrate social customer service technology with their current customer service operations throughout the next year.
- Thirty-five percent of social customer service agents claim that they must restart each customer conversation from scratch for every single interaction because their current social service system doesn't offer any way to record and save conversation histories.
- While 45 percent of dedicated social customer service solution users rated their ability to measure and optimize agent productivity as excellent, free solution (10 percent) and SMMS (8 percent) users trailed far behind.
- Though 36 percent of dedicated social customer service solution users rated their ability to use the same SLA metrics as traditional channels as excellent, only 10 percent or free solution and 17 percent of SMMS users reported the same results.
- Thirty-six percent of dedicated social customer service solution users also rated their standardization of delivery of social customer service across agents as excellent. However, free solution (25 percent) and SMMS (25 percent) users lag behind once again.
Key takeaway: While marketers constantly work to increase reach, build brand awareness, and acquire new customers, contact center agents are committed to serving the individual. However, most marketing teams own the bulk of their brand's social media budgets, giving them the authority to determine how to invest. But, as consumer demand gravitates toward social customer service, companies must conquer the divide by moving beyond the siloed technologies of yesteryear. Today, both marketing and customer service must work together, for each department complements and supports the other's success. Thus, the right technology must be in place-technology that can deliver an excellent experience-in order to support the increasingly complex needs of social customer service.