Which industries lead the way in social customer service?

At #SCSS15 on 30th April Dr Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist at BT, will be analysing the social customer service performance of various industries. Here's a quick taster...

Dr Nicola Millard

At #SCSS15 on 30th April Dr Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist at BT, will be analysing the social customer service performance of various industries. Here’s a quick taster of her insights…

Dr Nicola Millard

1. Is social CS a challenge or an opportunity for brands?

It is both. The challenge is how brands appropriately use what I term the “social dance floor”. Too much sales talk or blatant attempts to control communication can lead to corporates dancing by themselves. Ignoring the social dance floor or trying to control it can get them a slap in the face. The challenge and opportunity for corporates is to allow customers to interact and participate with them in order to influence trust, reputation, loyalty and propensity to buy. Social media also potentially provide a cost effective channel for customer service alongside more established (and less public) channels like the phone, webchat and email.

Social media’s real value, and its challenge, is around the immediacy of engagement. Customers seem to believe that they will get a faster response on social media than through other more traditional channels like the phone or email – with recent BT research suggesting that 70% expect a response within 15 minutes of posting.

2. What seem to be the essential elements of a successful social CS strategy?

Figure out where your dancefloors are – Facebook, Twitter, forums, Pinterest? – what customers are talking about and figure out a strategy for engagement. This needs to be part of a wider “omni-channel” customer experience strategy and will probably need you to blur silos like marketing, sales, service and PR. Signpost to customers which channels are likely to get them to their goal and tell them how long it is likely to take.

3. Who’s leading the way in social CS, and why? 

Retailers and travel sectors are leading – for different reasons. There is a lot of desire to engage with retail brands because they have the brands we love and travel companies (particularly airlines and train companies) have a set of grumpy travellers armed with smart phones and social media.

4. Are there still areas of common failure? 

The biggest area of failure is listening to customers and not just saying sorry but fixing the problem – and this inevitably requires joined up comms across multiple departments (and sometimes across multiple organisations). The other challenge is that customers tend to leap around channels, which can result in inconsistent answers and multiple handling of the same problem with sometimes very different results.

5. Is social CS taken seriously yet in the board room? 

Largely no – mainly because channel strategies as a whole aren’t necessarily taken seriously in the boardroom. More measurement of efficacy, over and above cost to serve, are required – including links to loyalty, trust and propensity to buy.

To book your ticket for the Social Customer Service Summit 2015 in London, featuring speakers from Microsoft, Sky, The Royal Mail, AIB and BT, visit the website here.

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