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Social customer service is contact centre’s biggest challenge

29th Sep 2015
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The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) and InContact’s latest research report, ‘Smarter Service for the Connected Customer: Delivering Customer Experience Excellence in the Contact Center’, reveals that contact centre leaders are struggling to meet the needs of their customers via social media.

The study of over 500 executive leaders states social customer service is a contact centre’s biggest challenge, and that contact centres continue to primarily support phone (97%) and email (87%) as a priority for customer support, with channels including social (41%), text-based online chat (36%), and SMS (12%) consistently given less attention.

Data from Social Bakers in August stated that brands answered fewer than 30% of seven million questions asked of them on Twitter in the second quarter of 2015.

This prompted Twitter announced it was “making it easier for brands to provide better customer service” by releasing a Customer Service ‘Playbook’ to help guide professionals through delivering customer support via the social network.

And while average response times on Twitter dropped from 8 hours 37 minutes in 2014 to 5 hours 27 minutes in 2015, consumer expectations are  for this to drop further still.

Social media is clearly a customer service channel of choice, with recent Institute of Customer Service (ICS) stating  that a quarter of UK complaints are now seeded through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+, and that  one-tenth of traditional channel complaints that were considered ‘ineffective’ were now being escalated via social networks.

The ICMI report says the rapid shift in consumer expectations was evidence that contact centres were due to become an ever-increasingly vital asset to businesses in the near future:

“Respect, value, and a place of honour in the organisation has been a long time coming for the contact centre.

“Customer service leaders can rejoice in knowing that their time to shine is coming, if not already here. The customer is now in control of their experiences and they’re demanding that customer service caters to their needs. If organisations don’t get on board with meeting customer expectations, they’ll soon discover that they may not have many customers left around to serve.

“This transformation will take organizations time, cross-functional collaboration, universal buy-in and, above all else, courageous patience. Shifting customer service from a necessity to a strategic asset will demand organizations to reconsider their tools, technologies, people, processes, and perspectives.”

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