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Business, Featured - Written by on Friday, March 19, 2010 16:57 - 3 Comments

Naumi Haque
Addressing the social media ‘support gap’

The a growing sense that amount of serious attention—and dollars—companies commit to social media is grossly inadequate when compared to the amount of time customer, prospects, and influencers spend using social media. This deficiency in social media spending is a topic most often broached by marketers. For example, Ogilvy articulates the problem by highlighting what it calls the “Marketing Confidence Gap” (see the chart after the break). The graphic reflects the fact that marketing spend on social media channels lags far behind customer attention to social media.

But a much bigger gap exists, often unnoticed by companies: The amount of money contact centers and support organizations spend on social media is nominal compared to the percentage of customers’ queries that hit these emerging channels. This is the “support gap.”

Social media has become a new service and support channel that customers employ to raise concerns about products and services, describe their experiences, seek help from others, post new product insights, and consult for advice on features and functions. For companies, this is not trivial. It means that conversations about your products that would traditionally have occurred in your customer contact center are now occurring in public places. The Consortium for Service Innovation estimates that fully 90% of customer conversations about a company never touch the organization. What’s more, a mere 1% of all customer conversations are assimilated as organizational knowledge.

nGenera’s own Customer Interaction Management solution recently added social media support for its contact center product, but many companies have yet to consider this option. In most cases, if a social media strategy is being implemented by the support organization, it’s on an ad hoc basis with a few employees manually monitoring Twitter and branded Web spaces and responding to customers where appropriate. These interactions, though helpful, are not strategic in that they are not integrated with enterprise systems or contact center processes. Building processes and accountability around these activities is the first step that companies can take today—connecting to CRM systems in a robust and meaningful way will be the next horizon.

The plight of marketing and the plight of the support organization are linked and the two organizations need to work together, using shared information, on a common platform. Traditionally, marketing has been about communicating brand messaging, while the customer service department deals with problems and complaints. But a customer that you’ve engaged through social media for marketing purposes doesn’t see the separation – and customer service is becoming a key aspect of managing customer relationships online (I’ve talked before about how “customer service is the new marketing“). This is not trivial. It means matching the tremendous amount of time and energy spent on other official support channels such as e-mail and phone in order to meet customer expectations for social media and deliver a consistent and authentic customer experience. Those companies that think social media is just a cost-effective way to get the message out are in for a surprise. By marketing on social media you inadvertently open a new support channel as well—get ready!


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Storytelling Social Media Marketing PR Technology & Business Curated Stories Mar. 21, 2010
Mar 21, 2010 17:18

[...] Addressing the social media ‘support gap’ Published: March 19, 2010 Source: Wikinomics The a growing sense that amount of serious attention—and dollars—companies commit to social media is grossly inadequate when compared to the amount of time customer, prospects, and influencers spend using s… [...]

Nikhil Govindaraj
Mar 22, 2010 17:45

Great topic Naumi and very timely for us at nGenera Customer Interaction Management. With CIM 9.0 we are introducing the ability to treat Social Media as another channel, just as you may with email, chat, phone, cobrowse etc. Social Media is a challenge for the Contact Center as for the first time the customer is not coming to you but is out there talking about you. This new dynamic is core to what we are addressing with the new release…the ability to Listen to what is being said out there in the social world (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.), the ability to Analyse the content for sentiment, the ability to pull these feeds into the contact center and then Engage with the particular user, and finally the ability to Measure how well you perform.

David Begum
May 2, 2010 13:43

i have tried social media marketing for getting our new products to be known on the market. it seems to work well specially if the audience is targeted .;

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