Telcos that view social media as “just another marketing channel” will be “social customer experience laggards” by 2015, warned a social experience firm.
A recent global Lithium study found that only 44% of telcos engage in social customer care, leading the social customer experience software firm to brand communication service providers (CSPs) socially immature.
Lyle Fong, chief strategist and co-founder of Lithium, told B&T that telcos have been quick to adopt social media their efforts are still largely siloed.
“Too often, social is considered just another marketing channel as opposed to a new paradigm for doing business,” Fong said on a recent trip to Australia.
“For companies to truly gain the benefits of social, and to really integrate the customer mindset into the organisation, social needs to be more strategic and integrated deeper into the day-to-day workflows of the organisation.”
The number of CSPs using social media as a customer service tool is set to hit 64% in two years, the study found.
For telcos planning to use their Facebook page or Twitter handle as their customer service hotline, Lithium’s chief customer officer, Misha Logvinov said speed is key.
“83% of Twitter users and 71% of Facebook users expect a response on the same day, and yet a study by Martiz Research shows more than 70% of complaints on Twitter go unanswered,” Logvinov said.
“Companies must define a service level agreement on social response and recognise this needs to be in minutes, not hours or days.”
When done correctly, social represents a unique opportunity for challenger brands to get a leg up on their dominant competitors, according to Fong.
“It’s a big opportunity, especially for the telecos that are not leaders in their markets, to differentiate amongst their competitors and asymmetrically disrupt the entrenched landscape in which they compete,” he explained.
Key findings from the study:
- The most common use of social media by telcos today is to engage with consumers. By 2015 83% of CSPs are expected to do this.
- The second most common use of social platforms was “customer-centric innovation” or using ideas and taking onboard suggestions from customers. By 2015 86% of telecos are set to use social in this way.
- Currently 44% of CSPs enable existing customers to help and answer other customers questions. By 2015 this figure is set to hit 64%
- Only 27% of telcos globally allow existing customers to provide new customers with purchase advice, but in two years this is set to rocket to 59%.
Telco giant Telstra has allowed customers to help customers with its Crowd Support forum, resulting in reduced costs due to call deflection.
Commonwealth Bank is another local brand which has embraced the social customer support theory with its new social community, MyWealth.
MyWealth features advice from experts, analysis tools and news and encourages users to engage with each other.
The study also found that “socially mature telecoms enjoy significantly lower call center volume and support costs”.
“Companies need to hold social accountable to the same goals and standards that they apply to any other area of business, like reduced costs, greater satisfaction and increased revenue,” Logvinov added.
For more on the combination of social media and customer service see B&T’s feature ‘Customer Care Evolution' by clicking here.