Why social media is the future of customer service

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Why social media is the future of customer service

By Gina Acosta - 01/18/2018

Could social media be realizing its true calling as the ultimate customer service channel? 

According to a new J.D. Power survey, overall satisfaction is highest when customers ask questions or make requests via social media.

"Personalized feedback, rapid-fire response time and interaction with live humans are some of the primary factors driving the highest levels of customer satisfaction with wireless carrier customer service and, increasingly, customers appear to be finding that formula through alternative channels such as social media," said Peter Cunningham, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Practice Lead at J.D. Power. "That doesn't mean call centers and brick-and-mortar stores are no longer relevant; in fact, personalized assistance via phone, app and face-to-face are still critical to customer satisfaction."

Following are key findings of the survey:

  • Social channels become front line for customer service: Among customers who ask a question or make a request, overall satisfaction is highest in the social media channel (838 on a 1,000-point scale) and the app channel (835). By contrast, overall satisfaction scores average just 797 among customers who handle these requests on the phone with a representative.
  • The human touch still matters: Satisfaction tends to be much higher when customers use a channel that provides personalized feedback. For example, assisted care satisfaction is 26 points higher than unassisted care satisfaction (819 vs. 793, respectively), and satisfaction is 824 among customers who ask their question in the store channel vs. 797 among those who speak with a rep over the phone. Additionally, among customers who ask a question or make a request through an app, overall satisfaction is 845 when they think they are interacting with an actual person vs. 800 when they think the system is automated.
  • Video plays a key role: The channels with the highest first-contact resolution incidences are online videos (92%) and mobile app to research information (90%). 
  • Not-so-immediate gratification via email: While social, app-based and face-to-face customer support are prized by consumers for their personalized, rapid response, the average customer service response time via email is 32 hours.