British businesses are anti-social – fact

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UK consumers that flock to social channels for customer support are likely to be left disappointed, according to new research.

A survey from Aspect Software indicates that British businesses freely admit that they don’t engage with customers on social media.

But despite this, the majority of them still believe that social media will surpass the telephone as a customer communication channel by the end of the decade.

A study of 100 businesses and IT professionals found that almost three-quarters of businesses (72%) use social media within their organisation, with a further 8% implementing it over the next 12 months. However, only a minority (40%) use it as a two-way conversational tool, with most instead using networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn as a mass broadcast tool.

“60% of those we asked prioritised pushing out messages and company updates as the primary function of social media, and 32% admit that they do take customer queries, but it is not a one way channel,” ,” says  Mark King, senior VP Europe and Africa at Aspect. “With 52% of professionals admitting that they see social media as surpassing the telephone as the main method of customer engagement by 2020, there is this disconnect that needs to be addressed by shifting from broadcast to a dialogue. This will only be achieved by aligning social media with existing metrics and processes proven to work in the contact centre infrastructure in terms of business culture, strategy and technical integration.”

King continues: “The customer conversation is changing; no more are we restricted to using the telephone when we speak with companies we buy from,” says  Mark King, senior VP Europe and Africa at Aspect. “Although it is fair to say that most organisations now recognise that being present on the most popular social media networks is a necessity, as that is where their customers are, it should be much more than just another way of talking about how great your brand is and not developing that conversation.”

Businesses also remain confused about where social media should sit in the organisation and who should take ownership of it. 40% of respondents felt that responsibility for social media within the organisation lay with the marketing department, but a quarter said it should be the job of senior management. Meanwhile, 20% said that social media is, or will be, owned by the contact centre.

Over 60% of respondents said that social media does or will have some form of integration with other business processes and communication channels. But a third of these have manually-driven integration, compared to 29% boasting full technical integration. Meanwhile, 28% admitted that it is not integrated, and is unlikely to be, and stands alone.

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