When you read that just 11% of retailers respond to negative comments on Facebook, while 81% of businesses use social media for marketing, it’s clear that something has gone drastically wrong in the world of social customer services.

But what, exactly?

After reading the shocking statistics in Vikki Chowney’s social customer service post on Econsultancy a few weeks ago, I asked several of Our Social Times‘ largest clients why their customer services teams hadn’t fully adopted social media yet.

Here’s what they said, with added notes and suggestions.

1. Training

Traditional contact centre staff don’t have the skills to engage with customers via social media. While they can manage one-to-one phone-calls and emails, social media is a public environment, so requires a completely different skill set.

2. Culture

Many organisations are still struggling to implement an internal culture that allows staff to engage with customers via social media. 30% of UK companies still ban their staff from using social networks at work.

3. Legal

Many industries, such as banking, health and accountancy, have tight legal and industry restrictions on data they can reveal online. Banks, for example, cannot publicly acknowledge that you are a customer. This makes social customer services very tricky.

4. Legacy

Lots of legacy CRM solutions don’t offer effective social media integration and lack the social media monitoring, engagement and social CRM (sCRM) features that customer service teams really need.

5. Interoperability

Conversely, many of the newly emerging social CRM systems don’t integrate effectively with legacy systems which they are competing against for market share.

6. Access

Much of Facebook’s data is restricted, Twitter has very little user data to offer and most review sites/forums, such as Tripadvisor, restrict the user data they share and limit API access. None of this is conducive to end-to-end social customer services.

7. Ownership

In many companies, because Customer Services has been slow to wake up to social media, it has lost ground to other departments, such as Marketing and Communications. These now control the corporate Twitter/Facebook accounts.

8. Desire

Customer Service teams are frequently measured according to the number of queries they answer and the time they spend on them. Adding a new channel which (a) doesn’t suit their existing processes and (b) makes it difficult to close off issues, may not be something they really want to take on. New methods of measurement are needed.

9. Fear

Nobody wants their problems aired in public. Many Customer Service teams are ignoring customer queries on social media for fear of opening a can of worms, or having criticisms snowball into crises. All the evidence indicates that the opposite is more likely to be the truth, but fear is pervasive.

10. Leadership

While many of the pioneers of social media, such as David Meerman Scott, and Seth Godin, have come from Marketing or PR, Customer Services has remarkably few social media pin-ups. Beyond Frank Eliason, it’s hard to name names. Thought leadership is greatly needed.

Join me at The Social Customer (London, 29th March) where Frank Eliason, plus brands such as Citibank, BT, First Direct, British Gas, Marks & Spencer, Expedia and Everything Everywhere will be discussing social customer service.