While there’s been hype around how social media plays a role in engaging customers, a study has revealed only 16 per cent of consumers have ever used social media for a customer service enquiry.
The study by Fifth Quadrant shows less than one in 10 Australians have used social media for customer service in the last three months.
The reasons participants in the study stated for not using a social media channel included: 32 per cent saying that it is not personal, 30 per cent stating that they did not know that they could; 30 per cent noted that they were concerned with security issues; 22 per cent stated that they thought it would take longer than a phone call and 20 per cent said they did not think it would be a good experience.
The report also shows only 15 per cent of Australian consumers have ever used a smartphone application for a customer enquiry and only 8 per cent of consumers have used this channel in the last three months.
The reasons participants in the study stated for not using a smartphone app channel included: 41 per cent stating that they did not know that they could; 21 per cent stated that they thought it would take longer than a phone call; and 16 per cent thought that it would make the process slower to talk to a customer service representative.
Catriona Wallace, managing director of Fifth Quadrant, said businesses struggle to engage customers through emerging channels of social media and smartphone apps.
“Despite all we hear about the strong traction social media and mobile applications are having with Australian businesses we are yet to see the Australian consumer base really embrace these channels for customer service. Consumers are still concerned about security, privacy and query resolution levels in these new channels,” she said.
The research also reports that compared to the levels of first contact resolution by phone call, which is typically about 78 per cent of queries being handled in one contact, social media and smartphone apps have significantly lower levels of first contact resolution: 59 per cent for social media and 51 per cent for smartphone apps.
This means that about half of all customers who use these new channels will have to make a phone call or contact the organisation using another channel to have their query resolved, thereby significantly increasing the cost of the interaction and reducing the customer’s satisfaction.
“There is no question that social media and mobile channels will be important in the next few years as the percentage of consumers who use these channels for customer service doubles year on year. Rather, it is a question of how effectively organisations address the supporting business processes and skill levels of social media customer service representatives,” Wallace said.