2014 ICMI Research Released: The Normalization of Social Customer Care Research Report and Best Practice Guide

ICMI finds 68% say social media is a necessary customer service channel and only 39% are formally offering social care options.

May 29, 2014, 09:00 ET from International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has released its 2014 report, The Normalization of Social Customer Care Research Report & Best Practices Guide, comparing the preferences of contact center leaders as social media users, against their behaviors as providers of social customer service.

This new ICMI research underwritten by Five9, a pioneer and leading provider of cloud contact center software, focuses on an often-overlooked aspect of social customer care. ICMI was interested to compare the preferences of contact center leaders as social media users, against their behaviors as providers of social customer service. Where are there discrepancies? Why are there disparities? And can this knowledge be used to better convince organizations to provide the 'new minimum level of response expected' for social media?

"Social engagement for customer care will accelerate in 2014 because of the leadership of some of the top brands," says Edwin Margulies, vice president of social & mobile product management for Five9. "As senior management calls for traditional management of social channels, the natural reaction will be to set up measurements, incentives and best practices. This year is the turning point for much more of this activity. The tools are available and the trailblazers have set the stage for the next wave of practitioners to embrace social as a customer care channel."

ICMI found that while 73 percent of organizations report having a social media presence, only 39 percent formally supports social media as a customer care channel. That's not to say that 61 percent of companies NEVER respond to their customers through social channels. Rather, we see that another 20 percent are communicating socially with customers, but do so on a sporadic, emergency, or ad hoc basis.

We were interested to learn that:

  • 58% of brands see a connection of  increased customer loyalty to social care usage
  • 61% say customers are more satisfied when social support options are offered
  • Technology is still needed in many companies to reduce the challenges of providing social support

In addition:

  • 48% of social care users watched a support video in the past week, while 42% used online message or community boards to solve a problem
  • 49% of social care users reach out through Twitter or Facebook for customer service at least once a month
  • 64% of consumer respondents said they were more loyal to brands, products, or companies that they followed on social media

"The bottom line is this - don't fall into the trap of ignoring social media for customer service. Don't be socially attentive only because of a crisis, or jump in without a plan; don't abandon social when it gets hard or if a customer says something derogatory." says Sarah Stealey Reed, content director and senior analyst for ICMI. "As the contact center, you must identify the social opportunities and take control of the social customer service strategy."

Also included in the report are ICMI Spotlight accompaniments which provide insight from industry experts. Edwin Margulies explains how to get executive buy-in for social listening in his best practice article, 'Proving the Value of Listening'. And Sarah Stealey Reed wraps up the social care structure social section with her cautionary tale, 'Dangers of Ignoring Social Customer Service'.

A complete review of the study's final results can be found within the research report, The Normalization of Social Customer Care Research Report and Best Practice Guide.

In addition, ICMI offers a free whitepaper, Social Playbook to Guide Social Strategy, featuring a portion of the study results and guidelines to make your social customer service a competitive differentiator.

About ICMI

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals - from frontline agents to executives - who wish to improve customer experiences and increase efficiencies at every level of the contact center. Since 1985, ICMI has helped more than 50,000 organizations in 167 countries through training, events, certification, consulting, and informational resources. ICMI's experienced and dedicated team of industry insiders, trainers, and consultants are committed to helping you raise the strategic value of your contact center, optimize your operations and improve your customer service. For more information, visit www.icmi.com.

ICMI is a part of UBM (www.ubm.com), a global live media and B2B communications, marketing service and data provider.

SOURCE International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)