Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Consumers Using Social Media for Customer Service

Call centers must address their customer's changing channel preferences and improve first contact resolution on the web -- in both emerging and developed countries -- according to the latest market study by Ovum.

To help understand how adoption of social media and smartphones is evolving, Ovum conducted a survey of over 4,000 consumers across four developed countries (the US, the UK, France, and Germany) and four emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China).

In a new report the market research firm outlined the survey results, including the ways in which consumers are using social media for customer service across these regions.

"Web savvy consumers in emerging markets, such as China and India, are more inclined to use social media for customer service as opposed to consumers in developed countries, said Aphrodite Brinsmead, Customer Interaction Analyst at Ovum.

They are using social media to ask and respond to questions in communities, as well as to complain about or promote products and services.

According to the Ovum study, 32 percent of the respondents from emerging countries have used social media for customer service, compared to just 10 percent from developed countries.

Although the results from emerging countries do not entirely represent the behavior of those countries' populations, given that the respondents are more web savvy than the average individual, Ovum believes that this trend is still compelling.

It demonstrates that those consumers with greater purchasing power in emerging countries have a preference for using social media for customer service. But while social media is widely talked about today, it has a long way to go before it can be used effectively by consumers and enterprises.

Brinsmead added, "Relatively few customers, across both emerging and developed countries, are able to resolve their issues using social media tools because enterprises are not yet doing enough to encourage or support them."

Although social media is not yet a mainstream tool for customer service, vendors must help enterprises integrate it within their contact center operations.

It makes sense for those in emerging economies to develop better social media and web self-service capabilities in order to target those consumers who are readily adopting these channels.