How can organization embrace social channels and technologies to improve customer service?
I must’ve heard this question every day in the past 6-9 months.
The intent was not how to do twitter, how to leverage Facebook, or should we use Klout scores for customer service – it was very specifically about how customer service departments can embrace it. It was getting so ridiculous that together with my friends at Ciboodle we conducted a research report to answer those questions. We got nearly 400 responses (some of them very interesting) and you can get the report here if you want to read it.
I am not going to give you a full summary here, we do have a great executive summary if you are not interested in reading the data or the whole report, but I wanted to cover two issues that came out of this study:
- How today’s processes are faring in an increasingly social world
- What is the value to the organization of embracing social channels and tools
We asked the question of how processes used to support social channels compared to those processes used to support traditional channels. Overall, the answer was (almost) as expected: 2/3 of organizations have not created processes yet as part of their social adoption, they are more or less living day-by-day and trying to figure out how it will play out in the long run. At this early stage of the social journey that is not very surprising. We then cross-tabulated those answers against the length of time they had been supporting social channels – and this is where we got some interesting data.
The table below shows the results of that cross-tabulation. (note: we did not have sufficiently large numbers to make the conclusions final but it does indicate where the mindshare of the market is in relation to this question):
|Equally defined||Less defined||More defined|
|0-6 months ago||11||12%||32||15%||3||20%|
|6-12 months ago||21||23%||50||23%||1||7%|
|1-2 years ago||27||29%||53||25%||3||20%|
|2 years ago+||21||23%||18||8%||4||27%|
|not there yet||12||13%||61||29%||4||27%|
When using social channels, processes are less defined – almost by a ratio of 2:1. Among those that claimed their processes were less defined, the majority were those that had been doing Social for between six and twenty-four months. The ones that would be a more logical choice (those just starting out, below six months of experience) to have less defined processes are not – showing how newcomers to this set of channels and tools understand how it is no different than any other channel implemented before: it has to have a strategy, integrate well into existing processes, and don’t change the way experiences occur – rather augment them via a new set of channels. Clearly delivering similar experiences via new channels is in the mind of those that are just starting as well as those that have been doing it for a while.
The second issue we spotted was the value to the organization of embracing social channels. We asked respondents to identify what were the benefits they were seeking from embracing social. We asked them about the two most often cited reasons to adopt any channel: to meet customers’ expectations or to save money. The difference between these two reasons is a slant towards a customer-centric, efficiency view of the world (saving money) versus a customer-centric, effective view of the world. The table below shows the results:
|Deflected phone calls||13||3%||Deflected phone calls||27||7%|
|Increased customer satisfaction||95||24%||Increased customer satisfaction||55||14%|
|Increased loyalty||31||8%||Increased loyalty||45||11%|
|Increased revenue||6||2%||Increased revenue||17||4%|
|Intangible benefit||35||9%||Intangible benefit||39||10%|
|Met customer expectations||55||14%||Met customer expectations||37||9%|
|Not using social channels just yet||71||18%||Not using social channels just yet||67||17%|
|Reduced cost of customer support||20||5%||Reduced cost of customer support||22||6%|
|No Answer||74||19%||No Answer||91||23%|
It is very clear from these results that focusing on meeting customer expectations, and exceeding them, is the main driver for social channel adoption having been quoted not just as the top reason overall, but also as s secondary reason for organizations to adopt social. The reason organizations deploy these channels is not driven by outbound company-centric needs but to give customers what they want, need, and ask.
The rest of the report is actually even more interesting and proved many other things – but to know what, you will need to download it and read it.
And give us your comments.
Many thanks.(note: this post was cross-posted at Sword Ciboodle’s blog)