There are so many misconceptions in the market about using social media for customer service, many of which are due to the newness of the solutions. We all have seen and read vendor claims that make their solutions sound too good to be true, and, more often than not, the promises don't match up with the actual performance. These solutions may one day help organizations efficiently deliver customer service using social media, but today, most are too immature. Just as important, the best practices that are essential to facilitate the process do not yet exist.
To separate fact from fiction, DMG Consulting conducted a worldwide study on using social networking for customer service. Among the findings, we discovered that more than two-thirds (67 percent) of enterprises are already using social media for a variety of activities that often include some form of customer service. The study found that despite the widely recognized potential power of social media, few organizations have figured out how to use it effectively to achieve their enterprise goals.
How Are Enterprises Using Social Media?
The benchmark study asked participants questions regarding their use of social networking, and drilled down into areas that were customer service–oriented. Figure 1 shows how respondents answered the question "What business activities does your company use social media for?" (Participants were invited to select all areas that applied.)
Figure 2 shows the specific types of information that organizations are hoping to collect from social media interactions. This list supports the belief that organizations are using social media to protect their brand and for crisis management, but it also shows that companies are extending its use to help them identify operational and product issues, to sell products and services, and for a variety of customer service–related activities.
Setting Social Media Goals
Figure 2 shows that organizations all over the world are either interested in or already trying to use social media to help them provide sales and service support and address customer service issues. This is a great goal, particularly if they also take the initiative to use it on a proactive basis.
What is troubling is that, although customer service is a primary use of social media, customer service departments and contact centers are not actively involved in setting the social media strategy for most organizations.
Getting Customer Service Involved in Setting Social Media Strategy
The fact that customer service and contact center departments are not generally involved in setting the social media strategy is a costly disconnect that is going to hurt companies. Read the complete study, available free at DMG's Web site, to see what others are doing in this area, and to learn best practices that will help you do it right the first time.
Donna Fluss (firstname.lastname@example.org) is founder and president of DMG Consulting, a leading provider of contact center and analytics research, market analysis, and consulting.