London based Econsultancy recently published research which looks at the extent to which companies are gearing up internally to deal with the paradigm shift brought about by social media and the ever increasing power of the customer. The research was based on a survey of more than 1000 companies and agencies. It shows how social media is more than just a marketing tactic -and that it has far reaching implications on internal organisational structures, processes and communication as they support customer service.
Headline findings from the Online Customer Engagement Report show:
- The presence of companies on social networks has almost doubled from 23% to 44% since last year.
- The use of Twitter to boost customer engagement has grown five-fold from 7% to 35%.
- 61% of companies surveyed said that they expect customers to become less tolerant of poor service - almost double the previous year.
- The growth of specialist online reputation management companies - helping brands understand and manage what customers are saying about them online.
- How companies will need to integrate traditional research with social media measurement to gain insight and proactively manage their brands online.
Social media is creating ever increasing transparency and the customer voice is getting louder as they have an instant outlet to vent their frustration about poor service. This could become a headache for companies wanting to hide product faults and poses challenges in terms of dealing with a myriad of real time inquiries and complaints. However there are opportunities too - companies that develop an understanding of social media can use it as a powerful marketing weapon by tapping into customer needs, engaging with customers to enhance products and use immediate feedback to improve their value propositions and overall customer service levels. In the land of social media the customer is definitely king!