Are Firms Ignoring Social Media's Role In Customer Care?

by Sohini Bagchi    Jun 09, 2014

social media

While social media has the potential to become a preferred channel for customer-care assistance, companies often tend to ignore its importance as a result of which customers are forced to use more traditional and less effective channels of communication.

A recent report by Amdocs reveals that the current social customer care climate is not impressive or dependable While over half the respondents in the survey said they had tried to communicate with their service provider on social media, three-quarters never received a reply leaving 80% with no option but to call the call center. This shows that customers prefer to use social media over other traditional channels, but lack of encouragement  from the service provider’s part is dissuading them from using social network and retort to contact a call center.

Proactive response needed

Social media strategist Aparupa Patowary believes social media presents new opportunities and new challenges for business. “On the one hand you can now communicate with your customers more effectively than ever before. On the other hand, they have to be prepared to offer an immediate answer every time - deal with customer issues in a proactive manner,” she says.

Businesses that recognize social media’s role in customer care and respond accordingly can make a difference in their service and bottom-line. The Amdocs study for example, also shows two-thirds (64%) of customers said they would be happy to share their social identity with their service provider in return for better service. This means, the potential of social media in customer care can be tremendous.

Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president for product and solution marketing at Amdocs states, “When people take to Twitter or Facebook to ask questions or, worse yet, complain about their service provider, that’s an opportunity the service provider can take to proactively resolve that customer’s issue - if they know that customer’s real identity.”

According to an eMarketer study, 46% of customers want to solve a problem when they engage a brand on social media and 39% are looking to give feedback. Therefore, the customer service team needs to actively engage and resolves all issues mentioned on social media that are fielded by marketing.

Tremendous potential

Social media expert Whitney Kasle suggests companies to create two separate pages or accounts to serve customer queries better - one for sharing content and promotions, and another solely for customer service support.

“With this tactic, when a customer writes a comment on social that needs attention from customer service, the CS team can answer them directly from the correct account. Both engaging publically and taking it away from a social stream that is reserved for marketing messages,” she writes in her blog.

This would satisfy the unhappy customer because actions are being taken to resolve their issue while a positive tone is maintained on the company’s official social page, be it Twitter, Facebook or any other page.

Social media has tremendous significance in customer assistance. As Patowar notes those companies who will fail to recognize this important role social media plays in customer service (and there are many) have to pay the price for their ignorance.