Good social customer service – the next big challenge


Yesterday we attended The Social Customer 2012 here in Paris, a bilingual bootcamp/conference about social customer service hosted by leading social media services firm and blog, Our Social Times. Although smaller in size, The Social Customer punched well above its weight with prominent, engaging speakers such as customer service guru Frank Eliason, as well as useful, practical insights on how companies can leverage social media more effectively to improve the customer service experience.  Not surprisingly, one key takeaway was that while the bulk of companies are now present on social media to some degree, very few truly know how to use it to build productive relationships with their customers. Check-out this great presentation from Richard Hughes, Director of Social Strategy at Broadvision called ‘The Social Facade’ that gives some great illustrations of some big missteps as well as how to approach this the right way.
While executing a disjointed, misguided social media strategy may, in fact, be doing many companies more harm than good, they have no choice but to figure this dilemma out as consumers are increasingly comfortable with (honestly) expressing their opinions on social media.  Interestingly, one of the best examples of this situation is in France.  Prior to yesterday’s conference, Our Social Times released an handy infographic about the state of social customer service in France based on a recent survey conducted by Eptica.  The study found that 31% of French consumers are complaining more now that they can do so via social media (vs 26% in the UK), but, unfortunately, their complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears.  Although after expressing their complaint, most consumers did receive a response (17.5% received no response).  However, a whopping 83% were unhappy with the response they received.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the biggest complaints from French consumers were directed at banks, mobiles companies, and retailers.  One interesting piece of info that did surprise me was that France’s best example of social media done right is Air France/KLM who have a 92% response rate to questions asked on Facebook and a first response time of only 24 minutes.
There’s lots of other interesting info from the study on France as well the UK and Spain, so make sure to check-out the infographic here or download the study here.  In addition, Our Social Times will be back to Paris in June with their Social Marketing conference, which you can get more info about soon on their blog.