Why social customer service is so hard.


Social media is full of opportunity for the customer service industry.  The opportunity to provide customers with a new and for some, a more convenient way to get help.

Yet, according to econsultancy, only 11% of retailers are offering social customer service. So why aren’t more organisations making use of it?

In my experience, there are two reasons. Fear of opening Pandora’s Box is one – a tidal wave of new and hard to handle customer interactions. The other is difficulty convincing senior management to spend money on it. Yes, social media isn’t free – it needs investment.

Struggling to make the business case

So the customer service industry, like marketing, needs to show the ROI of social media. They need arguments that the finance director, COO or CEO find compelling.  These arguments exist – social customer service can save money and generate revenue. There are also some non-financial benefits – such as helping brands differentiate from their competitors. And of course there is unstoppable force of multi-channel expectation. Increasingly customers will want support through channels that are convenient to them, not the brand.

Avoiding the hidden costs

Anyone thinking of rolling out social customer service needs to avoid hidden costs. It’s hard to quantify what you are getting involved with. How much resource will be needed to handle queries through social media? Will call centre staff need more training and how should social technology be integrated into legacy call centre systems?

We have created this infographic to capture what we think are the main costs and benefits.

social customer service infographic

There is a lot more detail in our new guide to help assess the business case for social customer service . It includes advice, some interesting methodologies and lots of supportive statistics.

It gives practical advice to help with some of the following:

  • Calculate the commercial returns
  • Avoid any hidden social media costs
  • Predict exposure to customers interactions in social media
  • Work out the resource requirementh
  • Understand the skills your team will need

You can get hold of your free copy of our social customer service guide here.

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