6 interesting social customer service statistics for 2015

Social only makes up 10-15% of customer enquiries for most companies, but in terms of the wider business impact it punches way above its weight.

Social Customer Service Expectations

The recent Social Customer Service infographic from Conversocial contained some surprising findings. Here’s my take on what it all means…

1) Only 26% of companies say their staff take social seriously as a customer service tool

In terms of pure volume, this makes sense. Social still only makes up perhaps 10-15% of incoming enquiries for most companies so isn’t statistically that important. But in terms of the wider business impact – on customer experience, brand perception, reputation etc. – social punches way above its weight.

Sounds like there’s internal education work to be done.

2) 43% of customers expect social channels to be integrated with other customer service channels

Consumers are tough taskmasters, but given our annoyance at having to explain our issue to multiple customer service agents, it’s not surprising that integration is high on our agenda. It’s actually surprising that the percentage of consumers expecting integration isn’t higher.

Most social customer service platforms are either ‘stand-alone‘ or offer only basic data integration with traditional channels – voice, email, webchat – at a CRM level. The more sophisticated (ergo costly) tools do enable seamless channel switching, though there are lower cost work-arounds; Citibank famously jumps customers straight from public Tweets into private chat windows, keeping the same agent throughout.

3) 33% of companies say their key priority for social customer service in 2015 is to create a full omni-channel experience.

Omni-channel has been high on the agenda for retailers and consumer brands for a couple of years, but as Martin Hill-Wilson wrote last year, getting it right is far from easy: “the larger an organisation, the more fragmented its approach to channels can become. Its need for control takes over. Thus some channels are managed in house, others with outsourcers. Some are owned by Customer Service, some with Marketing or e-commerce.

Some companies, such as General Motors, have centralised their teams to offer a multi-channel experience across multiple social media channels (we’ll be running a session on this at SCSS15 next month), but tight integration of social with mobile, web and phone channels is a way down the road for most.

4) 30% of companies say their key priority for social customer service in 2015 is integrating social customer service data within CRM systems.

This finding suggests that the survey respondents were mainly large organisations, as the majority of SMEs are happy to use light-touch social media dashboards – which allow for limited data capture and manipulation. Larger companies and brands focused on delivering an ‘omni-channel customer experience’ will need to integrate social data into their existing CRM, with all the challenges and expenses that entails.

5) 30% of companies cite a lack of business intelligence (i.e. accurate metrics) as the biggest challenge for social customer service in 2015.

The lack of business intelligence really surprises me given that every worthwhile social customer service technology platform today offers quite detailed analytics. As the survey says, more companies (56%) complain about a lack of resources and budget, but that’s always going to be the case.

Measurement is the perennial challenge in social media. I’ve hosted webinars on the topic and blogged about social customer service measurement – and we’ll have a session dedicated to it at SCSS15 in London next month – but I don’t suppose this is an issue we can fix overnight.

6) 78% of companies say measuring the impact of social customer service takes up the majority of their time.

This is rather confusing given the ‘business intelligence’ challenge cited above. Once a team has identified the metrics and tied these (albeit perhaps loosely in some cases) to business goals, churning out the data shouldn’t be overly time consuming – especially if they work for a large company with a decent social customer service platform.

Most of the social customer service solution vendors offer consultancy around measurement frameworks and data capture precisely because measurement has always been a massive issue in customer service, so this really shouldn’t be such a big issue. Am I missing something?

See the full infographic below. For more insights on this topic, join me at Social Customer Service Summit 2015 (London) on 30 April. Speakers include senior executives from Sky, BT, Microsoft, Barclays and AIB. 

State of Social Customer Service

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