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Social media widely used as a customer contact channel


An increasing proportion of UK customers are turning to social media as their customer service channel of choice when dealing with companies.

We recently surveyed 1,000 UK consumers to find out their views and opinions on contact centre channels and what pleases them or frustrates them in their customer service interactions with UK businesses. The findings shows that businesses must start to take social media seriously as a customer contact channel and ensure it is joined up seamlessly with other contact channels - or risk a damaged reputation.

Our survey revealed that almost 1 in 5 consumers choose social media as their first channel of preference to voice a complaint or when a complicated problem arises that needs solving. 14% of consumers turn to social media first in a crisis situation or to make a booking, and 13% opt to use it above other available contact channels to request information.

"Our research findings demonstrate that consumers are willing to use social media for a variety of enquiries - even for complicated ones and to make a complaint. Due to the unpredictability of these customer issues and the public facing nature of social media, we believe it should be managed by the customer services function - experts in handling multi-channel customer contact day in day out, rather than an organisation's marketing department. But what's crucial is that both departments work closely together, and not in isolation."

Chris Cullen, head of sales and marketing, Echo Managed Services

Organisations must offer consistency of customer service across all contact channels, and due to the variety of enquiries coming through social media, the channel must be developed as broadly as possible, and not simply rely on stock answers to customer questions as is sometimes the case in social media channel management. Ultimately not prioritising social media as much as other contact channels is a risk, and can lead to lost customers and potentially harm to brand reputation.

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