Major growth anticipated for social contact centres

4th Sep 2014

According to a recent Frost & Sullivan report, 80% of retail companies now use social media for customer services, yet only 38% have taken the necessary steps to deliver this through their contact centres// via @mycustomer

However, research from Interactive Intelligence Group states that this is likely to change dramatically in the next 18 months, with social media expected to feature as a customer services channel in as many as 63% of contact centres by 2016.

Part of the proliferation lies in the hands of the consumer – a recent survey from Our Social Times stated that 42% of social media users now expect a response from brands on Twitter within 1 hour, yet only 9% of brands were currently able to succeed in delivering this.

Response time is seemingly critical for those social media users posting customer services queries, too: the Our Social Times study revealed that posting responses for the “remaining 91%” was “effectively fuelling customer dissatisfaction”, making the need for contact centre involvement all the more vital as the number of queries continues to increase.   

“By integrating social media in their customer contact strategies, companies will gain a competitive advantage by being closer to their customers’ needs and answering client inquiries faster than through other channels”, says Marcin Grygielski, territory manager for Eastern Europe, Interactive Intelligence.

“Retail is one of the most dynamic industries, where companies have to listen carefully to their customer demands and react promptly in order to provide an excellent customer experience. That is why more and more companies will invest in social media capabilities in the near future and will fully integrate this channel in the overall customer contact strategy.”

The UK is set to see the highest increase in companies switching to social media contact centre support in Europe in the coming 18 months, according to the Interactive Intelligence Group research. // via @mycustomer

Within UK industries, the retail, finance and healthcare sectors are expected to increase their social customer support levels quickest, while overall the use of multiple capabilities with social media customer contact strategies is expected to increase in all segments.

The aviation industry is currently heralded by many as the most innovative, with airlines such as KLM regularly experimenting with how they deliver support on a number of different social platforms.  

One of the main barriers currently standing in the way of delivering better social customer support appears to be resources and expertise, however a number of outsourcing specialists are jumping on the opportunity by offering 24/7 customer support services to brands, and analyst house Ovum also recently reported the growing necessity for small-to-medium sized businesses to offer a more effective customer support service through social channels, and the likely increase in personnel expertise in the coming few years, as a result.     

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