Social has long seemed a natural fit for marketing. Still, in many cases, social media sits outside of the marketing department, while studies indicate that deeper integration makes social media teams more useful.
Joshua March, co-founder and CEO of customer relationship management platform Conversocial, noticed a similar challenge with the rise in social customer service.
“Social needs to be deeply integrated into relevant business units in order to deliver the best experience to customers and get the most efficiency in value for the company,” March says.
Indeed, customers are turning to social media with their customer service requests, but brands simply aren’t meeting the demand. According to a Forrester study commissioned by Conversocial, nearly 70 percent of businesses see social customer service as a pressing concern. But marketing since marketing owns social, marketing usually selects a tool best suited for social media marketing and management.
“Obviously for marketing, social needs to be integrated with marketing,” March says. “But from a customer service perspective, [social] needs to be deeply integrated into the customer service technologies and how you do customer service, the processes and workflows.”
Bottom line: The social media management suites are often great for marketing, but don’t fit the needs of the customer service teams. March recommends a stand-alone social solution such as Conversocial, specifically optimized to achieve the objectives of customer service teams. In fact, the Forrester report indicates that companies that invest in a dedicated social customer service platform are able to measure, optimize and standardize customer service delivery for an improved customer experience.
This debate belies what March calls three stages of social customer service maturity:
Stage No. 1: Social starts purely as a marketing activity
Stage No. 2: Customer service is helping but social is still owned by marketing
Stage No. 3: The call center takes responsibility for social customer service
“When companies reach [the third] stage, they’re able to respond faster to customers, deliver a much better level of service, and it’s an all around better world for everyone,” March says. He adds that while customer care teams need some level of communication with marketing teams, the two teams have very different objectives within the business and they interact very little on a day-to-day basis.
Ultimately, having a dedicated social customer service tool enables the customer service team respond faster, resolve issues and empowers the team to manage the social channels based on the departmental priorities. March notes that while marketing teams are great at general engagement, customer service teams are the ones that actually resolve problems.
“When someone has a genuine issue, they don’t want someone to say sorry,” March says.