You Care, I Care, We All Care About Social Care

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When organizations are thinking about social, they often confuse the notion of social customer care with social presence. A visible and active social presence is typically accomplished by an active Twitter account or two, a Facebook page, maybe a blog – all very visible on the corporate website. Having a visible and active social presence, however, doesn’t translate to an organization’s ability to provide customer service through the social channel.

For example, CIO magazine recently published results of “The Great Social Customer Service Race” conducted by Software Advice where 280 tweets over 26 days were sent to some of the leading global brands. These tweets incorporated requests for help, requests for information, and the kinds of posts that a typical customer would be expecting an answer to. What the race revealed is that even those brands who seem to be everywhere within the social sphere may not be there to deliver service – they may be using the social sphere to see what the social sphere is saying, and are definitely keen on generating some additional sales – but they aren’t necessarily thinking about delivering social customer care. Even those that did respond weren’t responding as frequently as best customer service practices would dictate.

Can you imagine if you only responded to 10% of your customer service calls? In fact, according to CIO, 70% of the tweets sent out to brands go unanswered. The brands in the report here aren’t necessarily doing a “bad job” with social media, given what most other companies are doing. It’s just that for those brands – social media may not be a service channel – at least not yet.

Research consistently shows though that the status quo isn’t enough however. In fact, a New York University Study found that 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from those companies who ignore their complaints on Twitter. Responding to social requests – actually providing support to the social customer – has measurable results. Not only do customers who are socially engaged and are able to get their requests satisfied by the brand via social media spend more, social care costs significantly less than the traditional channels – and is increasingly the one channel that the customer prefers to use for their interactions.

It is not uncommon to find that companies cede social care to marketing. After all, marketing has been looking to social media as an engagement channel since social media came on the scene. And clearly social marketing is important, but we can’t rely on marketing exclusively to manage the social experience. If we look at what matters to marketing, we see that managing the brand at a high level is a top priority. But it marketing does intercept a request for help, they are more than likely not equipped to handle it. Plus, they are not measuring their response based on service level guidelines. In fact, they may not be aware such metrics exist or recognize the importance of those metrics.

As the Aspect-Forrester study found, the time has come to go beyond listening and start having conversations that produce resolutions. The most effective way to do this is have social customer service fully integrated in the contact center.

Our own research shows that the contact center is seen by contact center decision makers as the cornerstone of the organization’s customer experience strategy. The contact center has the know-how, the established processes, the right people, and the customer service discipline to take constructive social action. However, today contact centers do not have the tools to manage a social dialogue in the context of contact center strategies.

In our next post, we’ll look at what a contact center needs to have in order to provide the contact center with the ability to take a disciplined, measured approach to their social engagement efforts.


Jane Hendricks, Senior Product Marketing Manager, oversees the linkage between customer value and Aspect technologies, with a focus on workforce optimization and enhanced customer service enabled through unified contact strategies. Jane has more than 15 years of experience in applying predictive, behavioral, and attitudinal analytics to understanding customers, employees and the technologies that help organizations maximize the results of their customer engagement strategies.

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