In recent years social customer service has endured crises and successes in equal measure. Here’s a quick evaluation of where we are today, with some pointers for the future.
For an increasing number of people, social media is the first place they turn when they experience a problem.
Fewer than 50% of companies are actively responding to these enquiries and many of those are using cost-cutting copy and paste tactics, which is exactly what call centres were criticised for.
We need to invest in finding ways of supporting customers more effectively on the channel of their choice and ensuring a consistent customer service experience across all service channels.
Once again we round up six of the best infographics we've seen this week.
The topics include the mobile path to purchase, how to thrive in the booming mobile market, customer service, and the structure of social media teams.
Once again we round up six of the best stats-packed digital marketing infographics we've seen this week.
The topics include mobile optimisation, how social shares boost email, bad customer service, and how colours affect conversions...
Customer service online is all important, and businesses should be making it easy for customers to contact them to resolve any issues.
However, some sites seem determined to prevent, or least make it difficult for you to contact them. Whether through missing or hard to find contact details, charging for customer service calls, or taking weeks to reply to emails.
Perhaps these firms think they are saving money or easing pressure on customer service staff by doing this, but I fear they are just annoying the hell out of their customers, which is rarely a good idea.
The immediate nature of Twitter means that it is both a blessing and a curse for brands, as it gives them an excellent opportunity for having conversations with users but also puts pressure on them to respond quickly to customer complaints.
To give themselves some breathing space and ensure that marketing messages don’t get drowned out by consumer queries, many brands operate separate Twitter feeds for marketing and customer service.
In a recent series of posts looking at how major brands use social I noted that Tesco and ASOS have dedicated Twitter feeds for customer service, and we’ve also investigated whether Twitter is creating a VIP customer service channel.
And new research from Simply Measured shows that 30 of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands currently operate a dedicated customer service Twitter feed, a number that has increased from 23 since December 2012.
With countless consumers around the world using social media, it's no surprise that companies have flocked to services like Facebook and Twitter.
In many cases, companies are using these services to market to consumers, but in the past couple of years, a growing number of them have started using social as a customer service channel too.
Almost half (49%) of UK consumers think personalisation is important, however there are conflicting views as to what actually constitutes a personalised service.
The Oracle report, which surveyed 538 UK adults, asked respondents what they define as good and bad service, with reference to both online and offline retail.
It also asked how respondents define personalisation, with 40% saying it meant receiving offers/discounts to their smartphone based on their preferences while not in-store, while just over a third (36%) said it meant receiving the same type of offers while in-store.
A further 29% said they thought it meant being able to access a single shopping basket across channels.
I have previously investigated which of the top UK retailers offer a single shopping basket across different channels and found that only Amazon, M&S and Tesco currently join up their mobile apps and desktop sites in this way.
Minter Dial is co-author of a new report published by Econsultancy entitled The Sales Organization of the Future.
The report, which is free to registered Econsultancy users, explores how product-oriented companies need to evolve into value-added services organizations to meet the changing expectations of customers in a business environment which is fundamentally changing.
I asked Minter some questions about the report and the imperative for business change.
As e-commerce becomes an increasingly overcrowded marketplace dominated by a handful of major brands, businesses are having to think of new ways to stand out from the crowd and attract new customers.
Previously it was commonly assumed that price was the best way to beat the competition, but that just results in a self-defeating race to the bottom.
Instead, businesses are now focusing on the customer experience as a way of differentiating themselves. It's a subject our CEO Ashely Friedlein recently debated in a post looking at whether CMOs should actually be aspiring to become chief experience officers.
And a new survey from Oracle adds weight to the argument that the customer experience is of paramount importance online.
Call it delight, caring, innovation or service, some companies set themselves apart by earning the durable preference of their customers.
If your view is that "life is too short for standard results" then here is what I've learned from business leaders who know how to earn the involvement and loyalty of great customers.
These loved firms grow faster, maintain stronger margins, and navigate downturns better than those firms with customer relationships based on toleration and transaction. And, it turns out, there are patterns to how companies become loved.