The Big Disconnect in Social Media

Marketing needs to understand how Social Media can make Customer Service a business driver
Richard McCrossan, Strategic Business Director at Genesys, explores how social media is making customer service a critical differentiator that improves customer retention and builds loyalty, and discusses the need for companies to adopt an integrated approach when managing new communication channels to improve the strategic value of customer service operations. 

On average, companies spend around $500 billion on advertising, $50 billion on CRM spend, but just $9 billion on the contact centre.

Despite this massive advertising spend, a recent survey by the American Marketing Association indicates that just 14% of consumers trust traditional advertising. A massive 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust peer reviews posted online.

The new social media communications channels now have a big part to play in marketing. 

The disconnect explained
So here’s the disconnect – Genesys research conducted in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit found that while marketing has dominated the use of new communication channels – 60% of respondents said that marketing is the main function of the new social media channels – companies predominantly use social media to broadcast highly targeted, personalised sales and marketing messages to "push" the company brand message, rather than for broader public engagement campaigns that focus on customer service and customer retention – and creating brand advocates.

Finger on the pulse – power of customer service to create brand advocates
Just 6% of respondents in our research regarded customer support/service as the main purpose of new social media communication channels. Yet customer service staff are the people who have a direct 1:1 relationship with the consumer and are perfectly poised to help build brand advocates and exploit the power of social media. Customers impressed with a product or service are more likely to let their social media friends know, acting as unpaid brand advocates. 
An integrated approach provides the best all round customer experience 

By using social media monitoring tools, customer service and the organisation at large, can 'hear' their consumers, provide timely responses, determine the appropriate action and manage other issues that may arise. By adopting a method of intelligent distribution of tasks, by using a solution such as the Genesys Intelligent Workload Distribution (iWD) back office software, a business can create an enterprise-wide task list sorted by business value, and prioritise and distribute these tasks to the right resource in real time. Defining priorities and service levels based on the business value of each task ensures that the highest value tasks get completed first, and that right resources are proactively dealing with the most critical tasks. 

As most customers are users of social media, effectively and efficiently managing customer interactions to provide the best customer experience, allows customer service delivery to become part of the consumer dialogue.

Who manages what
This integrated approach means that businesses need to sort out formal methods to manage their response to the new social media communication channels. Our research showed businesses are beginning to understand this with 47% using a team and 27% using an individual to manage social media. The team should certainly be across all departments, not just marketing, because the skills to manage and exploit consumer opportunities always involves different departments.

At the point of service, a company becomes "real" to its prospects and buyers. These conversations, which engage directly with the consumer, can deliver important insights to allow the company to better manage and build its brand. By producing instant appropriate responses from whichever department is involved they can also create valuable brand advocates whose online reviews are trusted by 70% of consumers and whose recommendations are trusted by 90%.
 
Richard McCrossan is Strategic Business Director and can be contacted at Genesysprint

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