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Social Is Still a Small Part of Customer Service

Few companies receive a high share of customer service queries on social sites

November 7, 2012

Most businesses have realized that social media users often expect to get responses to customer service queries and complaints through that channel, and according to research released in October by SAP and Social Media Today, 71.2% of companies worldwide provided customer support on social media.

But it’s still a small piece of the customer service picture, according to the survey. The bulk of companies, 41.2% of the total, said they handled only up to 5% of customer service issues on social channels. Just 17.7% handled at least one-quarter of all customer service issues this way.

Percent of Customer Service Issues Handled via Social Media According to Business Leaders Worldwide, 2012 (% of total)

The most common social channel for providing customer service was Facebook, which was also rated the most effective such channel by 42.5%. Twitter, the second-most-used social channel, was No. 2 in effectiveness, cited by 27.6% of respondents.

Social Media Channels Used to Provide Customer Service According to Business Leaders Worldwide, 2012 (% of respondents)

Companies that provide customer service on social sites have customer satisfaction and loyalty in mind, though 16.9% said their primary goal in using social media for this purpose was to meet customer expectations. Certainly, some consumers expect that they will be able to voice a complaint on Twitter and get a response, or write on a brand’s Facebook wall and have their issue resolved. Companies have moved to offer these services, but must remember they remain just one channel among many through which they must serve customers.

September research carried out in Great Britain, which has a highly social online population, found that most people would rather use traditional channels for customer service, including phone and email. Only 3% of internet users in the country preferred social media to communicate problems or complaints.

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Check out today’s other articles, “National Brands Find Local Affiliates Lacking in Search, Mobile Marketing” and “China's Ecommerce Market Joins the Majors.”


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