Why Companies Are Still Neglecting Social Customer Service

By: Sofie De Beule

April 13, 2016

In this day and age, social media is the preferred means for customers to reach out to brands for help or with questions because it’s extremely convenient. According to Aberdeen, in 2015, 62% of organizations have taken on a social customer service program. Unfortunately, there are still businesses out there that are either completely missing the boat or still doubting whether to take on social customer service.

1. They lack management buy-in. It’s a tough challenge to take on if senior management doesn’t support the idea of taking your social media presence to the next level and building out a social customer service program. You may be challenged to convince these key leaders that social customer service is valuable. However, they are the ones that control the budget, and ultimately decide if a social customer service program will be funded. Oftentimes, it takes a crisis to finally win them over–when it’s already too late.

VDAB, the public employment service of Flanders, Belgium, started using social as a means to engage in conversation with citizens really early. The reason behind this early kick-off was Fons Leroy, VDAB’s CEO, who wanted the company to jump the social customer service bandwagon really soon because he strongly believed in the power of social. They’re still bearing the fruits of an early start, and are involving the entire company in their social media efforts.

2. They miss a social customer service evangelist. Freeing up the budget and making sure you have a team in place that’s going to handle the incoming volume of social media messages is a great start. However, this doesn’t mean you’re automatically on the road to success. A winning social customer service team has strong leadership to motivate and coach team members, optimize performance, and share your efforts company-wide. All your hard work can easily go to waste if your team misses a strong team leader who’s often recognized or known internally as a “social customer service evangelist.” Unfortunately, the power of an evangelist is commonly underestimated in the customer experience field.

We typically notice that the lack of an evangelist within a team often leads to a downfall; there’s no one to hold the team together and take on the mission to spread the word internally to get the entire company on board. If you don’t have one already, look for someone that has the potential to take on an evangelist role. The lack of strong leadership jeopardizes your social customer service success.

2. They don’t consider social customer service as a “necessity”, but just an “option”. When it comes to social customer service, playing it safe is not the right mindset. However, organizations still think that social customer service is an option because it’s “not right for our industry” or “we’re not ready for it”. It’s not a matter of waiting until the right opportunity comes along (or when things get worse, and a major crisis hits) to put your social customer service program at the top of your agenda. If you want to keep your customers and gain new ones, social customer service is a necessity–whether organizations like it or not.

There’s a huge risk if your company continues to neglect social customer service and, at the same time, ignores your customers. It’s key to have a strong social customer service team in place lead by an evangelist who can show superior management how much your efforts are paying off. Embrace failure, learn from your mistakes, and don’t wait when things go wrong to start your social customer service program–take action now.