2014 Trend Watch: Social Customer Service

by Ola Beilock on January 13, 2014

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Is the move towards providing customer service via social media – otherwise known as ‘social customer service’ – a trend that your organization is watching?

If not, it should be, and here are a few reasons why.

We know that consumer expectations for customer service are rapidly evolving. Whether you run an airline or a technology company or a bakery, businesses today are expected to be present and available on social media 24/7. In addition to changing expectations, consumers also expect consistent service experiences across all channels. The rise of the “multichannel” trend is driven by the widespread usage of social media, mobile and digital technology in business today, leaving companies across all industries struggling with the subsequent impact on customer service.

In 2014, social customer service will no longer be considered a nice-to-have, but rather a key component of any organization’s broader customer service and social media strategy. Despite the challenges, organizations are increasingly looking for solutions in order to streamline operations and cut costs. Key social customer service trends to watch include:

Putting Customer Experiences First

Customer service is an area of increasing importance, and being made an internal priority, because poor customer service experiences are expensive in terms of business impact (financial and overall reputation). In fact, according to this Forrester Research report, “Customer Service: Why It Matters – And How To Do It Right” the cost of failing to meet customer expectations is high. Seventy-five percent of consumers move to another channel when online service fails, which can cost millions of dollars in the end.

Providing Unified Customer Experiences Across All Channels

While consumers interact with companies across a range of channels, according to another Forrester Research report, “How Unified Is Your Customer Experience?” it is the sum of all of these interactions that informs customers’ perception of a brand. Say goodbye to a “touchpoint-by-touchpoint” approach and instead focus on a “journey-based” approach to understanding how to meet the needs of your customers across all interactions.

Tracking Channel Preferences

Across all demographics, channel preference is changing rapidly. Forrester Research notes that social media has seen increases in usage rates over the past three years in its report, “Communication Channel Preferences for Customer Service Are Rapidly Changing. Do You Know What Your Customers Need?” However, satisfaction remains low on social media, as companies have not yet fully invested in managing interactions. Voice (e.g. call centers) is still the primary communication channel, which 73 percent of customers use for customer service. Online chat and email follow.

What is your company doing to tackle social customer service in 2014? A great first step is investing in social media monitoring for customer service. After all, many top brands today are flocking to social media as a service channel in order to increase satisfaction and loyalty, reduce customer support costs and drive customer advocacy – building and contributing to a positive online reputation.

What can your organization gain?

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

RhenaK 01.13.14 at 7:18 pm

2014 Trend Watch: Social Customer Service http://t.co/afAcQ0mXre

TeamAffect 01.13.14 at 7:22 pm

2014 Trend Watch: Social Customer Service http://t.co/3TEpmxKeRE

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