I recently came across a post on social customer service on Francisco Rosales’ excellent SocialMouths blog that contained some interesting data. Francisco posted an infographic from Our Social Times, a blog dedicated to social media marketing news and events, based on data from The Social Media Customer Service Report conducted by TNS.
Francisco had some great, realistic takeaways in his post. However, I have visited a number of sites that have talked about the data, and one of the most interesting facets of the discussion has been what people seem to have taken from the study, which is to say some good lessons with a good bit of hype sprinkled on top. From the Sitel site:
“Social media is dramatically altering the customer service landscape. With easy access to real-time information, a new generation of ‘always-on’ consumers is more empowered and demanding than ever. This trend is on the rise as social media proliferates, both online and on mobile, across all age groups and demographics,” said Lawrence Fenley, Sitel managing director for UK and Ireland.
“To build trust and brand loyalty in this rapidly changing environment, companies must develop a social media customer service strategy that is responsive, proactive and engaging in order to address customers’ needs.”
If you are a regular reader here, you probably know my feelings on social customer service. Yes, it is important and growing more important each month, but the “revolution” is premature. Most customer service still happens via other channels.
Short answer: Yes! As you can see from the infographic below, social is growing, and particularly (and not surprisingly) with younger consumers. However, even younger consumers are not flocking to social to solve their customer service problems. Traditional channels are still key. Jump to the bottom of the post for some less obvious takeaways from the data.
A quick note: As a U.S. based blog, it is important to mention that this study was done in the U.K. I would expect fairly similar data from a U.S. based survey, but that is, of course, conjecture.
So, what are the hidden gems in the data? What else can we learn besides the obvious your company should be on social, be listening, and be responsive.
And on that topic, I will close with a note to all companies: For the love of all that is holy, make your phone number easy to find!
What do you think? Has the hype about social customer service outpaced the current reality? What else do you take from the data?
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.