Back before big pharmaceutical companies, you’d go to the druggist and get your powdered medicine. And it tasted terrible. So they’d have a soda fountain – a drugstore counter – where you could get syrup and ice cream and candies on top with your medicine. Coke was just that – a syrup-ed medicine, initially. And, now 100 years later we have two completely different businesses – beverage and pharmaceutical.
It strikes me that the same is happening with Social Media. It was a hard pill to swallow – and companies just didn’t see the point in it. So, advocates point out that it’s not so scary, companies already talk to customers – in fact they talk to them all the time on the 800 number. Hey, you can use this channel to efficiently handle Customer Service! And, a flurry of articles and blogs and studies erupt citing how poor customer service is in this country and how Social Media is the savior. This is now the darling concept of the industry.
Yes, Social Media can deliver the medicine, but have we ignored the marketing potential of bottling the syrup-y sweet caffeinated goodness that is just branding?
While almost three-quarters (71.2 percent) of companies use social media for customer support, and 87.5 percent have seen a positive impact from these channels, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are still a small part of the total customer support structure for business leaders worldwide, reveals a new study.
Sixty percent of companies handle less than 10 percent of customer service issues via social media, with less than one in five (17.7 percent) handling a quarter or more of all support inquiries via these networks.
Another interesting note is all the anecdotal stories about the cable company tweeting and focus on twitter might be missing something. The same study also revealed that Facebook (86.2 percent) and Twitter (78.8 percent) are the social networks of choice for customer help, with less than one in four (24.9 percent) utilizing a branded online community.
Not anything earth shattering, but just context for you. Don’t get lost because all anyone seems to be writing about now (myself included) is how to provide customer service in Twitter. Don’t forget the branding opportunities. It doesn’t hurt to send out a silly wine meme once in a while, or a photo of your tasting crew. Social media should be fun, even if it is a powerful business tool.
These findings come courtesy of SAP and Social Media Today’s The Social Customer Engagement Index 2012: Results, Analysis And Perspectives report.