Using Social Media for Customer Service – Best Practices for Doing it Right


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There are so many misconceptions in the market about using social media for customer service, many of which are due to the newness and immaturity of the solutions. We all have seen and read vendor claims that make their solutions sound too good to be true, and more often than not, the promises don’t match up with the actual performance. These solutions may one day help organizations efficiently deliver customer service using social media, but today, most are too immature and, as importantly, the best practices that are essential to facilitate the process do not yet exist.

In order to separate fact from fiction, DMG Consulting LLC conducted a worldwide benchmark study on using social networking for customer service. Among the findings, we discovered that 67.4% of enterprises are already using social media for a variety of activities that often include some form of customer service. The study found that despite the widely recognized potential power of social media, few organizations have figured out how to use it effectively to achieve their enterprise goals.

How are Enterprises Using Social Media?

The benchmark study asked participants a variety of questions regarding how their use of social networking, and drilled down into areas that were customer service-oriented. Figure 1 shows how respondents answered the question: What business activities does your company use social media for? (Participants were invited to select all areas that applied.)

Figure 2 graphically shows the specific types of information that organizations are hoping to collect from social media interactions. This list supports the belief that organizations are using social media to protect their brand and for crisis management, but it also shows that companies are extending its use to help them identify operational and product issues, to sell products and services, and for a variety of customer service-related activities.

Setting Social Media Goals

Figure 2 shows that organizations all over the world are either interested in or already trying to use social media to help them provide sales and service support and address customer service issues. This is a great goal, particularly if they also take the initiative to use it on a proactive basis.

What is troubling is that, although customer service is a primary use of social media, customer service organizations and contact centers are not actively involved in setting the social media strategy for most organizations. See Figure 3.

Getting Customer Service Involved in Setting Social Media Strategy

The fact that customer service and contact center organizations are not generally involved in setting the social media strategy is a costly disconnect that is going to hurt companies. DMG recommends that you read the complete study, which is available free at DMG’s website, to see what others are doing in this area, and to learn best practices that will help you do it right the first time.

Donna Fluss
Donna Fluss is founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, a firm specializing in customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology consulting. DMG helps companies build world-class contact centers and vendors develop and deliver high-value solutions to market. Fluss is a recognized authority and thought leader on customer experience, contact center, workforce optimization, speech technology and real-time analytics. She is the author of The Real-Time Contact Center and many leading industry reports.


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