Which Department Should Own Social Customer Service?

By: Sofie De Beule

October 8, 2015

It’s a common held debate across many organizations which department should take the lead on social customer service. Whose responsibility is it? Is it the marketing, customer service, or the communications department?

Based on our experience in the industry, we have noticed that a number of companies have the marketing team take ownership of social customer service. As companies are still using their social media channels for marketing purposes (e.g. scheduling and publishing content), it often seems like a logical decision to have that team take on social customer service as well.

However, when things start getting more complex and the inflow of social media messages rises, the social media team within marketing often lacks the resources or expertise to swiftly handle a growing number of queries coming through social channels.

When companies start realizing the majority of time on social media is dedicated to replying to customers, there’s often a shift. The contact center, which is usually part of the customer service department, may start taking ownership of responding to customers.

As your social customer service efforts become more mature, you need to know which department is designed to deal with social comments, queries, and issues on a large scale.

Whether it’s the contact center or the social media team that should claim responsibility, there is not one clear answer as to who should take ownership. Each company is organized differently. The important thing is that the social customer service leader is able to provide a process and technology to stay ahead of the game.

To determine which company should own social media in your organization, you need to first answer the following questions for your brand:

  • How do you organize and streamline all your customer service channels (e.g. email, telephone, chat, social media)? Do you consider social media simply as one of the many channels customers use to reach out to your brand with questions? If so, consider making social customer service your contact center’s responsibility.
  • Who has control over your social media engagement strategy? If your communication department has full control over this, consider making social customer service part of your social media team’s responsibility.

It’s the Customer Who Owns Social Media

The real truth behind who should own social media is that it’s actually the customer’s territory. At the end of the day, the voice of the customer is so powerful that the customer decides how they want to be helped out and how they want to engage with your brand. A customer doesn’t care how an organization is structured– they just want to be helped.

So, who is the most knowledgeable team to answer questions? Decide on who owns social customer service based on what’s best for your customer, not on what’s most convenient to your brand.