7 Steps to Determine the ROI of Your Social Customer Service Program

By: Sofie De Beule

August 11, 2016

Tags:
business result
customer interaction
customer loyalty
customer satisfaction
customer service channel
deflection rate
key performance indicators
positive customer sentiment
revenue generation
service level agreement
social customer service strategy
social media ROI

A common misconception among many business leaders is that determining the return on investment of your social customer service program (or for any other traditional customer service channel) is a tough nut to crack. Calculating the ROI is not as easy as pie, but if you follow some clear guidelines, you will see light at the end of the tunnel.

According to Constellation Research, “social customer service programs are regularly implemented without a proper baseline to measure against”. The following 7 steps will help provide you the right framework to determine ROI.

1. Educate for the right mindset. More than anything else, you need each and every employee to adopt the right mindset in order to manage expectations and get everyone on the same page. It’s critical to highlight the importance of social customer service and the impact it has on your business. Don’t underestimate this first step–you will have your work cut out. Educate on the following two principles:

  • Every customer interaction with a business affects customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
  • All eyes are turning to social media nowadays because it has become the preferred means to reach out to brands.

2. Make your business case. Once you make sure employees have the right mindset towards social customer service, it’s key to make the case for social customer service to gain buy-in for your customer service program. You can’t expect to get any return from your activities, if you aren’t able to allocate the proper resources for it. The following, next 3 steps will help make your business case for social customer service ROI more concrete.

3. Create goals & objectives. In many cases, companies bite off more than they can chew. When you create the goals of your social customer service program ask yourself what you want to achieve. “We want to improve bottom-line” or “We want to increase our efficiency” is very vague; you need to make your goals simple and concrete. Examples of good goals are to increase positive customer sentiment by x% or to use social media to set up an early warning system for brewing problems.

4. Determine your strategy. Contrary to popular belief, determining goals and objectives is not all you need to do– you still need to finalize the details of your social customer program. Beyond goals, you need to have a proper strategy in place to determine ‘how’ you are going to achieve your objectives. In your strategy, elaborate more on how you’re setting up your team, who’s going to lead the team, how you’re stimulating involvement from other departments, what your Service Level Agreements will be, etc. Once you can determine more about your ROI, you can easily identify strengths and weaknesses to your strategy.

5. Determine metrics or KPIs. There are plenty of KPIs to measure the success of your customer service strategy against. The right KPIs are different for any type of business and obviously vary based on the goals you set. When establishing metrics for your program, include both common customer service metrics (e.g. deflection rates, contact resolution rates, average handle time, etc.) as well as social metrics specific to social customer service (e.g. sentiment, conversation volume, etc.).

6. Measure business results. Once you have all the nuts and bolts in place, it’s time for the real work to get the numbers straight. Measuring the business results means comparing the revenue or gains and costs with each other. Armed with information about cost-saving elements and revenue generation, you can make the case for social customer service and continue get executive buy-in for your program.

7. Stop, start, and continue. The social landscape is always changing. When it comes to determining the ROI of your social customer service program, there’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy as these are just guidelines. The 7-step process can help as a framework, but it’s essential to sometimes be brave and cut things out of your strategy, revisit your goals or adjust metrics to make sure you’re still on track.

Go through this 7 steps process to make sure determining the ROI of your social customer service program is a well-coordinated effort. Each of these steps will simplify the process and will help you stay on top of the results of your social customer service program.

Do you want to learn more about determining the ROI of your social customer service program? Check out this latest report from Constellation Research’s Dr. Natalie Petouhoff on the Economic Imperative of ROI for Social Customer Care.

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Sofie De Beule is Content Marketing Specialist at Clarabridge. She helps establish Clarabridge as a thought leader for Social Customer Service and Customer Experience. Sofie’s an Engagor expert,  Clarabridge’s best-in-class social customer service solution, inspiring brands on how to manage and get their social customer service program off the ground. Sofie holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & International Marketing from Artevelde University College Ghent. Read more from Sofie on Twitter @sofiedbeule.