Social Media Meets Tech Support: By the Numbers

The top attended session at October’s Technology Services World Conference was from Shawn Santos, TSIA’s Director of Programs & Community, entitled “Change is the Only Constant: How Social Media is Transforming Customer Service.” The content for the presentation was from the first TSIA member survey on social media, and I will be highlighting some of those results in Thursday’s Webcast, “Join the Conversation: How to Integrate the Social Web into Customer Service & Support.”

I plan to provide data to give insight on the top questions I receive regarding online communities and social media:

  • Who should own social media initiatives?
  • How do we staff social media projects?
  • What social media channels should we use/leverage?
  • What is the ROI story for social media?
  • How to select which social media channels to pay attention to, or provide service to customers via?

We will also hear from Kyle Christensen, Director, Product Marketing,, about the Service Cloud. The Service Cloud 2 announcement from Salesforce included knowledge management, crowd sourcing, Twitter integrations, contact center integrations, and other features, along with core CRM capabilities, allowing companies to bring social media channels into the 360 degree view of the customer automatically.

The ROI issue continues to thwart member companies. In fact, when asked what the barriers are for industry adoption of social media to support customers, the number one answer was “unable to measure ROI.”


Barriers to Social Media Adoption

There are a lot of opinions on this subject, from those clinging to call deflection as a means of cost justifying communities to those who say embracing social media shouldn’t be viewed in terms of ROI. I think everything should be viewed in terms of ROI, but that doesn’t mean anything without 100% ROI is a bad investment. We are beginning to see success stories about communities and adoption of social media channels from members, particularly in STAR Award applications, and I look forward to bringing you more case studies on measuring cost and effectiveness of social media in the months to come.

Thanks for reading, and please join in for Thursday webcast!

Explore posts in the same categories: Consumer Support, customer support, Enterprise Support, social media, Technology

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7 Comments on “Social Media Meets Tech Support: By the Numbers”

  1. David Kay Says:

    I think the biggest problem with thinking about social media for support is defining what we’re talking about–how can we lump support forums together with notifying customers of hotfixes via Twitter?

    First, a proposed definition: Social Support comprises “service and support offerings where voluntary customer actions meaningfully change the customer experience, for those and other customers–either in support, or indirectly in the rest of the whole product.”

    As a working way of thinking about the range of applications for social support, I’m using:

    1. Peer support (forums, third-party blogs)
    2. Customer-generated content (visible feedback, customer edited docs / KB)
    3. Ratings and reputation (for people and content)
    4. Social networks as a channel (e.g., updates via Twitter, company blogs)
    5. Voice of the Customer (ideation, product ratings, “CGM” analysis)

    Anyhow, by using this imperfect way of segmenting social support, I’ve found that I’ve gotten more clarity in discussing the different business benefits and ROI they can bring.

    Anyhow, stay tuned for more at TSW Santa Clara, I hope, and I really wish I hadn’t had a conflict with Shawn’s session! dbk

  2. guy1067 Says:

    Great post. Unfortunately I missed the webinar on Thursday, but this is an area that I am following closely and have actually started a LinkedIn group about it – where customer service meets online customer service. I’ve seen Jeremiah Owyang refer to it as ‘Social Support’, so perhaps the more people that use it the more it will enter our everyday language. I think the whole question around ROI is an interesting one. Although I’m not sure if it is more to do with the fact that this area is still evolving and our thinking around it likewise, than with whether the tools to place an ROI on it exist or not. If we come at it from a customer service (‘social support’) perspective, is it about customer service, or is it about brand, or sentiment… Perhaps like all things metrics, the tools exist to measure ‘anything’, we just can’t decide what that ‘anything’ is.

  3. John Says:

    I have just found some great posts on your blog after doing some research for social media.

    I have learned some new ideas on how to benefit from social media I will try. I have bookmarked your site and will check for new posts.

  4. Krassi Genov Says:

    John, terrific posts! Unfortunately I tuned in late to make the webinar. I hope I could partake in future ones. On the topic of social media meeting tech support, I have heard that some companies are going to the extreme of going peer-to-peer customer or C2C support. I was wondering if you have noticed any similar trends? I’d think such a solution would inherently bear the risk of losing control over the brand. Instead, companies need to invest in monitoring the social conversation and making sure that they address any customer concerns or acknowledge their contribution to solving a technical issue.

    • dbkayanda Says:

      “bear the risk of losing control over the brand?”

      That ship, my good colleagues, has sailed. Your customers and their experiences are the definition of the brand. It’s what they say, not what we say, that defines our brand.

      Your suggestion that “companies need to invest in monitoring the social conversation and making sure that they address any customer concerns or acknowledge their contribution to solving a technical issue” is right on — and and important part of making that happen is guiding those customers to our communities to continue the conversation in the right place.

      We can create the space and the environment, but our customers own our brand.


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