Engaging with customers using social media

A recent post on the blog by Alistair has caused some considerable discussion online and with my colleagues and friends in the industry. Alistair explored some data published by the Economist Intelligence Unit that suggested within three years the primary customer contact channel will be social media – not voice.

Companies have long offered the level of customer service that they felt was necessary for customers to be able to interact with them, but the channels and the way the service operated was largely dictated by the brand. The company would offer a phone number or email address – and even a physical mailing address – and this is how the customer would reach them.

Now all this is changing. Customers are expecting their comments and complaints to be found and acted upon even if they are not sent to any official channels. So the customer is often determining the channels being used and the style and approach for interaction. The brand just has to listen, analyse, and engage with their customers in the same way the customer is choosing to communicate.

We have been researching and planning for these changes for a number of years now. If you have been following our blog then you will know that we were already exploring the omnichannel and the concept of multichannel service a couple of years ago. But we are also delivering genuine multichannel service for many of our clients.

To find that social becomes the primary channel for customer interaction will be quite a change for many organisations though. What do you think will be the biggest change in the industry to accommodate this shifting focus on social media?

Photo by Steven Shorrock licensed under Creative Commons

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