While social customer service – problem and issue resolution over social media such as Twitter and Facebook (News - Alert) – is the hot new thing in customer contact media, becoming more popular and more prominent, many companies are wondering whether it will ultimately replace more traditional contact media.
While it’s true that companies hoping to stay in business need to maintain a strong social customer contact presence (customers expect it and competitors are already offering it) it’s critical that companies take the pulse of their customers and understand that social customer service may only be a supplement to more traditional methods…not a replacement.
Last year, American Express (News - Alert) produced its 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer and found that a majority of customers in the U.S. still prefer to resolve issues by speaking to a live agent on the telephone. American Express asked respondents to the study if they were “very or somewhat interested in resolving customer service issues,” using a range of customer contact media.
About 90 percent of U.S. survey respondents said “speaking with a real person on the phone” was still their preferred method, according to an article by Nellie Akalp, CEO at CorpNet, on SmallBizTrends.
In other words, when customers offer social customer service, it cannot divert any resources from traditional call centers. In the survey, just 22 percent of customers showed interest in handling a support issue via a social networking site.
While this 22 percent figure may grow as social media becomes even more pervasive in our culture, it may be a long time – or never – before social customer service replaces traditional live call center support. So while it’s important to have the resources in place to handle social media, it’s equally important to cut nothing from budgets that cover live, one-on-one customer support.
“Is social customer service replacing live call center agent support?” Nope.
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Edited by Braden Becker