Ryan Rutan

Can "Social" fully replace tradtional customer service channels?

Discussion created by Ryan Rutan on Feb 6, 2012
Latest reply on Feb 16, 2012 by John Schwiller

Meeting your customers where "they are", such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, appears to be a common thread in the mandates for corporate success in 2012.  But as I scan through the media, I see articles proposing a wide range of recommendations on how best to adopt these growing paradigms.  So it begs the question,


How has your company leveraged "Social" as part of its customer service endeavors?  Any Successes?  Any failures?  What are your thoughts on how companies can best leverage "Social" and take away the most value?

My personal thoughts are pretty straight forward,


In order for a company to embrace "Social" they need to do it for realz, (yo?).  That doesn't mean abandoning existing traditional means, but it does mean making an official investment.  Growth in social is exponential.  Asking someone to dedicate 10 minutes or an hour "when they have time" is not going to cut it.  You need to provide official resources/allocation to this effort.  It cannot be seen as a one-off directive with no backing.  That being said, I'm not suggesting that every company go out and hire an entire team or organization to support it, but be conscious of the resources you have and your commitment to both your customers and yourself. 

Your next step should be to define a monitoring strategy that can be successful with the resources you have allocated.  This could mean adjusting some factors, such as the number of social sites you monitor and/or modifying SLA expectations with a specific site.  In addition, to achieve the best results, I'd also recommend that you disclose to customers the "best practices" on how to engage you for support on each site.  Whether it's @mentioning a Twitter account, posting to a Facebook page, or joining a group on LinkedIn...this initial step matters!  It reduces the size of the social funnel 10x and makes supporting each channel more scalable...and opens the doors for future automation!  You can also make a disclaimer that says you will provide a best effort to look for organic posts; however, that's a bonus, unless you have tools that make this cost effective.

In summary,

  • Officially allocate/budget for resource(s) and tools.
  • Define a monitoring strategy that can be successful with your allocated resource(s) and tools
  • Share your monitoring strategy with customers, help them not just play the game, but play the game to win!



Updated: 02/06/2012

To be clear, I am not suggesting a full replacement of traditional systems, but rather equal return-justified investment into social to complement traditional investments.