2010: Dollars pouring into Social Service

Yesterday I participated in a TSIA webcast with Lithium and Baynote, with an amazing presentation by Brooke Molinaroli, Head of Digital Care Design with BT (British Telecom) Retail Customer Service. This was our third social service focused webcast this year, and another record crowd–this is the topic of the year. And, viewing my preliminary 2010 spending data (which I will release at TSW next month!), companies are putting their wallets on the table–BIG spending planned on social service and other areas. If you missed yesterday’s webcast you can register to view the OnDemand version here: http://webcasts.tsia.com/event/pe30e09f8q57m9

At lunch today I’m making a presentation to the Bay Area Business Executives Meetup Group entitled, “Effectively Leveraging Social Media as a Support Channel.” (If you’d like to come, here’s the link to register.) Why are so many people interested in this topic? Here’s what I think.

It took a dozen years for CRM to become established, highly adopted, with lots of documented best practices. Social media, which includes customer communities, micro-blogs and social networks, have reached high adoption in just a couple of years, so now everyone has their toes in the water but no one knows how to swim…and there appears to be a tidal wave coming. Customers continue to jump on the social bandwagon, the younger folks who crave online social interaction continue to age into the target demographic of more companies.

So this time the thirst for information isn’t about, “Should we do this?”  They are already doing it, and want to be successful The cost to engage in Twitter, for example, seems desperately cheap compared to starting up, say, a Web chat support team–little technology, few specialized skills needed (or are there?), and a more ‘devil may care’ attitude than with traditional support channels.  The issue, in the eyes of enterprise customers and forward-looking consumer companies, is this: today customers view these channels as a fun way to interact with the company and other customers. But with each use, relying on these channels becomes ingrained to customers.  It is very worrisome then, that according to our 2009 TSIA Member Social Media Survey:

  • Only 17% of members have integrated social media channels into the corporate website. Accessing an online community requires a different logon and password, and uses a different UI than the corporate website.
  • Only 8% of members have integrated the new channels into their CRM/incident management system. After a decade of trying to build the “360 degree view of the customer,” none of the social media interactions are being tracked.
  • Only 8% of members include social media channels in performance dashboards. So if you suddenly start neglecting a social media channel, no alarms or notifications exist.
  • Only 3% of members address social media channels in SLAs. If you aren’t setting customer expectations for service levels, achieving high customer satisfaction will be challenging as traffic via these channels increases.

We will continue to write on this topic and share best practices as they emerge. Luckily we have members with hugely successful social service practices who are willing to share their lessons learned…and judging from the STAR Award applications for Best Online Community, there are lots of great stories to share. Hope to see some of you in Mountain View today for my lunch talk! Thanks for reading.

Explore posts in the same categories: Best Practices, Consumer Support, Enterprise Support, social media, Technology

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4 Comments on “2010: Dollars pouring into Social Service”

  1. John,

    Great post, especially the info on your member data. I am really looking forward to seeing the spending data.


  2. Dbkayanda Says:

    Sorry I’m out of town! I really would have liked to have attended. I’m looking forward to hearing your data at TSW.


  3. […] communication tool at such an early stage.  Based on some of the areas which John is currently researching, there is going to be huge push this year from corporate America to invest in social support […]

  4. […] standard for social media. Or as John Ragsdale from TSIA said, when it comes to social media  “everyone has their toes in the water but no one knows how to swim.”  Fully 92 percent of members reported that they neither included social media tools in […]

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