Social Media Used for Customer Service; Transaction Costs Ignored

May 2, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Customer Service & Experience | Data-driven | PR | Social Media

sword-ciboodle-tracking-social-media-transaction-costs-may2012.jpgAdoption of social media by customer service practitioners is high and has its benefits, but most are not tracking the transaction costs for the channels they are using, details Sword Ciboodle in survey results released in May 2012. In terms of social service channels currently supported by respondents, Facebook leads, with 60% indicating support, just ahead of Twitter (59%). Even so, just 13% say they track the cost of Facebook for customer service, and just 15% track Twitter’s cost for this activity. Similarly, less than 1 in 10 track the transaction costs of other activities on these channels, including technical support, service with sales, and proactive service.

Most Believe Social has Benefits

Data from “We Are Social: The State of Social Customer Service” indicates that 91% of respondents believe that providing customer service over social channels is a good thing for their customers, and 89% think it is a good thing for their organization. In terms of the primary benefits experienced when using social channels, increased customer satisfaction topped the list, cited by 24% of the total sample, ahead of meeting customer expectations (14%).

New Solutions are Team-Driven Decisions

Interestingly, when choosing to implement service using social channels, 80% of respondents report the main driver to be an internal team decision, with just 35% relying on end-users via surveys and market research projects.

Customers are more of a focus when deciding whether to offer any new support channel: 65% of respondents said that customer requests impact their decision. 56% said that their competition’s adoption of the channel impacts their decision, matched by the proportion who said that research and analyst reports have an impact.

Other Findings:

  • The most common service channels supported by respondents’ organizations are phone (93%), email (92%), and internet self-service (75%). Just 45% supported face-to-face service channels. Practitioners looking to score better with elderly customers might want to consider providing face-to-face channels: according to a McKinsey survey released in April, for every industry surveyed, Americans 65 and older were more satisfied with their customer experiences than either middle-aged (aged 45-65) or even younger consumers, and a key reason they gave was enjoying the face-to-face interactions that characterized their transactions.
  • 42% of the Sword Ciboodle survey respondents currently have a closed branded community and 24% an open branded community.
  • 54% said that the benefits of deployment of their last channel matched their expectations, while 40% were unsure.

About the Data: The study was conducted jointly between Sword Ciboodle and thinkJar from November 7-30, 2011. The survey was produced and hosted on an online site (open to everyone) and panelists were asked to self-qualify as practitioners of customer service. The total number of responses was 399, of which 376 were analyzed and found to be complete and sufficient to be included in the report. Respondents came from all over the world, with significant representation from North America, the UK, and Australia.

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