PR and Marketing departments have been using social media monitoring for some time, but new research shows that customer service is rapidly catching up.
In a recent Gleanster report, 73% of ‘Top Performers’ (the top 25% of those surveyed) identified Customer Service as a top reason to invest in social media monitoring – only 1% behind PR.
- Marketing – 86%
- PR – 74%
- Customer Service – 73%
- Market Research – 64%
- Sales – 31%
- Information Security – 29%
- Product Development – 21%
- Competitive Analysis – 17%
- Operations – 8%
The consequence is that the social media monitoring industry, which was once heavily research-focused and data-heavy, is evolving towards one that combines social media listening with customer engagement and social CRM. As Leon Chaddock, CEO of Sentiment Metrics, explains:
“A standard monitoring tool is great for charts and trends and understanding what’s going on, but it’s not the ideal place for customer service. As a result we’ve had to radically shift our focus.”
From a consumer perspective, it’s easy to see why this trend is occurring. Most consumers are exasperated with the call-centre process and the fact that complaints on social media are publicly visible gives them an edge over brands that are terrified of having their reputations damaged. But brands also stand to benefit. The top reasons brands are using social media as customer service channel are:
- To increase customer satisfaction and loyalty
- To reduce customer support costs
- To drive customer advocacy
To achieve this, 94% of ‘Top Performing’ brands are focusing on reducing problem resolution time. Not only does this reduce costs, but a social media user that has their complaint quickly and efficiently resolved is likely to use the company again in the future and publicly recommend them to others.
Another advantage of social media monitoring is that you can quickly identify trends. This means that you can identify and resolve recurring problems to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen to other customers. Furthermore, social media can provide an early warning when there is a specific problem with a product or service.
Clearly there is still a lot of work to be done. Only 71% of ‘Top Performers’ and 41% of ‘Everyone Else’ actively respond to consumer complaints and an estimated 25% have a closed wall on Facebook. What’s more, the average response time for enquiries through social media is over 24 hours, whereas by phone it is 2 minutes.
For now, social customer service is not the quick and easy solution that many consumers are looking for, but as the technology catches up and businesses adopt more efficient processes, it is improving.