Consumer demand for social customer service is increasing. A recent study by Sitel revealed that social media is no longer an ‘opt in’ for customer service but essential, with 15% of consumers aged 16-25 year olds now using social media to resolve an issue rather than any other method. Ovum anlyst Adam Holtby explains that for Generation Y, this is now the primary communication channel for them and ultimately a need rather than a must.
More and more organisations are beginning to see the benefits of social and creating specific communities to start engaging with their customers. Conversocial founder Joshua March has worked with numerous companies throughout the evolutionary stages of social service adoption and explains that early take-up typically begins with a fan page, logging customer complaints in Excel.
Social media could one day oust call centers as the place for consumers to go to air their grievances towards a company, according to a new consumer survey by Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research.
Being stuck in a queue telephoning a call centre could soon become a thing of the past. More consumers are turning to social media to get answers to their questions, foundresearch in the UK by Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research.
In the past eight months, the number of consumers using social media to 'talk' to companies has almost doubled from 19% to 36% in April 2012. In the UK, 18 million are already using social media for customer services purposes.
Of those who have interacted with a company via social media for their customer service needs, two-thirds (68%) say it allows them to find their voice and 65% say it's a better way to interact with companies than a call centre.
Eva Keogan, head of innovation at Fishburn Hedges, believes that while consumers using social media are currently getting the VIP treatment from companies on social media, as the numbers that do so increase the challenge will be to keep up the current levels of service.
The increase in use of social media to field complaints could generate a need for more staff specifically trained in such matters, Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium told the BBC.
"If you are actively engaging in social media you are setting up an expectation amongst customers that they will receive a response, so you have to be geared up to fulfill those expectations," he said.
Other findings from the survey include:
- Just 7% think call centers are better than social media;
- 40% believe social media will improve customer service;
- 49.5% of 18-24 year olds have dealt with a brand via social media compared with 27.4% of those aged 55+.
Data sourced from BizReport.com