Social media gains ground in customer service

Close to 60 percent of companies running substantial contact centers have used either Twitter or Facebook -- or both -- to surface customer issues for almost two years.

If your company isn't using Twitter or Facebook as a customer service tool, it is now officially in the minority, according to a sponsored survey of companies in the United States and United Kingdom running medium to large contact centers.

Approximately 60 percent of the businesses surveyed by social CRM vendor Sword Ciboodle were using either Twitter or Facebook as a tool for unearthing and addressing customer issues. What's more, 85 percent of the companies that were using one of these social networks were using both of them, the data showed.

The survey covered 400 companies with substantial contact centers, and it was conducted in tandem with consulting company thinkJar. More than half of the responding companies (53 percent) said their decision to embrace social customer service processes and policies was customer-driven.

In addition, most of these initiatives aren't exactly new -- they have been in place for at least two years, according to the research.

"What's important for every organization to realize is, while social channels are constantly evolving, they are not new anymore," said Mitch Lieberman, vice president of market strategy for Sword Ciboodle, which develops customer engagement software.

The jury is out on the actual return on investment organizations drive out of identifying and addressing issues that crop up in places like Twitter or Facebook. But clearly research such as this suggests that having a pulse on what customers are saying and thinking via social networks is definitely something everything company of a certain size should consider.

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