Research from market analyst firm Ovum has found that consumers in developing markets, namely Brazil, China, India, and Russia, are more likely to use social media for customer service than those in developed countries.
According to the research, 32 percent of consumers in the developing markets use social media for customer service, compared to just 10 percent in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
"Web savvy consumers in emerging markets, such as China and India, are more inclined to use social media for customer service as opposed to consumers in developed countries. They are using social media to ask and respond to questions in communities, as well as to complain about or promote products and services," Aphrodite Brinsmead, a customer interaction analyst at Ovum, said.
Although the results from emerging countries do not entirely represent the behaviour of those countries' populations, given that the respondents are more Web-savvy than the average individual, this trend is still compelling. It shows that consumers with greater purchasing power in emerging countries have a preference for using social media for customer service. But while social media is widely talked about in today's market, it has a long way to go before it can be used effectively by consumers and enterprises, according to the research.
"Relatively few customers, across both emerging and developed countries, are able to resolve their issues using social media tools because enterprises are not yet doing enough to encourage or support them," Brinsmead said. "Although social media is not yet a mainstream tool for customer service, vendors must help enterprises integrate it within their contact center operations. It makes sense for those in emerging economies to develop better social media and web self-service capabilities in order to target those consumers who are readily adopting these channels."