Only a short couple of years ago, social media was squarely the domain of marketing and public relations. But consumers changed the rules. They didn’t want to use social media purely for engagement; they wanted to talk to someone behind the brand to get support and share their experiences.
eBusinesses have responded. According to a recent study from Booz & Company, 75% of marketers using social media identify customer service as a primary use of their social media platform.
Unfortunately, there is a gap between objective and performance. A large reason for this gap is the role of customer support in social media leadership. According to the same Booz & Company survey, only 26% of respondents describe customer service as a department responsible for contributing leadership to social media strategies. This doesn’t surprise me. I speak frequently with organizations that describe customer support’s role as more involved than a year or two ago – typically support provides manpower to assist in support-related social content – but they are not deeply involved in driving strategy.
I believe consumer behavior will continue to push eBusinesses to re-evaluate their approach to social media and move to more strategic integration between marketing, branding, and customer service. Why? Consumer adoption of both direct social support and peer-to-peer support has exploded in the last two years. See “Understanding Customer Service Satisfaction To Inform Your 2012 eBusiness Strategy.” Further, the majority of consumers expect a reply to their positive and negative comments on Facebook and Twitter.
This will require processes being established to ensure a consistent customer experience, a blend of metrics to incorporate service and brand, and a deeper integration of social channels into CRM. Only then will social media reach its full marketing, public relations and customer support potential.
We’ve recently published a document titled “Taking Social Support To The Next Level” that addresses the key requirements of how to operationalize social support across a broader social strategy. I hope you find this document helpful.