Contacting enterprises on social media is a last resort, not the preferred engagement method, for disgruntled customers, according to predictive customer service company 7's CEO PV Kannan.
7 offers cloud-based customer service, and manages more than 2.5 billion customer interactions annually for enterprise companies. It uses data analytics to improve customer service.
Social media has become a popular customer service tool for many Australian organisations. Telcos, in particular, are increasing their presence on Twitter and Facebook, answering a torrent of customer queries through those channels.
But this is not indicative of consumers preferring social media over calling up companies for customer support, Kannan said.
"There is actually no proof customers want to engage through social media; it's just that existing channels suck," he said. "Say, if I'm in front of a branch, I have no interest in shouting outside about how much it sucks unless I can't get into the branch.
"You really don't want to handle this conversation in public."
Kannan noted that successful companies don't rely on social media, because existing communication channels for customers, such as online portals or call centres, are already effective enough. He recommended that enterprises improve their existing customer service resources first, before addressing it on social media.
He also recommended against having numerous customer service channels to minimise confusion.
Optus and Lenovo recently adopted 7's Assist live chat offering, which uses big-data analytics to predict customer intent in real time. Both are long-time customers of the vendor.
Optus is weaving the offering into its online sales platform.