How you could be keeping customers happy and service costs low

9th Jun 2014

It seems many brands are missing out on the chance to up their customer service game and reduce call centre expenditure.

At last week’s TM Forum Live!, Amdocs revealed the results of its recent investigation into social media’s role in customer service. The customer experience solution provider suggested that social could be a contact centre saviour, allowing issues to be solved quickly and efficiently before the customer even reaches for their phone. 

There were two surveys involved in this project: one was conducted by Ovum and investigated organisations’ ability to conduct customer support via social media, while another was carried out by Coleman Parkes to explore how customers themselves feel about social media as a channel for customer care.  

By looking at the social customer service picture from both viewpoints, this project identified some interesting discrepancies. For instance, 68% of service providers thought that social media was a plan B for customers who weren’t able to get hold of the company by phone. However, half of consumer respondents reported that they actually prefer contacting companies via social media – as opposed to phone – when in need of customer support.

Response time is another issue which both brands and their customers have very different ideas about. Over half of consumers (52%) expect an organisation to respond to their query on social media within half an hour. However, brands tend to set themselves lower standards, with only 24% reporting a response time of 30 minutes or less.

However, sometimes customers are simply glad to get any response at all – of the 50% of customers who have posted a support query on social media, three quarters never received a response or found the company unable to resolve the issue for them through this channel. This means that 80% have had to resort to calling the organisation in question after their attempts at contact through social media had failed.  

Amdoc suggested that identifying customers’ individual social media profiles and integrating them with the corresponding CRM records can help organisations offer a better customer service. It could allow then to anticipate calls and queries, and even resolve issues before the customer calls. Most consumers agreed that this would be a good idea, with 64% saying they are happy to share their social media identity with their service provider so long as it means they get a better service. 

Shagun Bali, an Ovum analyst, commented: “Subscribers are increasingly reaching out to their service provider across social media for customer care but due to lack of customer insights service providers are only able to provide generic responses, leaving the customer feeling more frustrated. However, if service providers link their customer’s social identity to the customer profile already stored in their CRM systems they can gain contextual knowledge of the customer, and as a result deliver a consistent response while improving customer satisfaction and cutting costs by increasing first call resolution (FCR).”

Meanwhile, Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president for product and solution marketing at Amdocs, was keen to point out the great potential social media has in the customer service sphere. “The research shows a huge opportunity to deflect customer care to lower-cost social media channels and to increase Net Promoter Score (NPS) and positive word-of-mouth visibility. 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.”

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