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Social media is the service channel of the future

Social media is the service channel of the future

Social media offer the greatest development opportunities and at the same time the greatest untapped potential in the communication between companies and their customers. This is the result of a joint survey by Munich Business School and ICT management consultancy Detecon, in which customer relationship experts from all over Germany were interviewed. They assume that as early as 2015, German companies across industries will map an average of 25 percent of their contact volume in customer communication via social media and web-based self-services.

The starting point of the study “Customer Service of the Future” was the fact that the new interactive and mobile communication technologies increasingly arouse the need to use services independently and independently of time. “Customers want to decide autonomously when and how to interact with companies,” explains Professor Dr. Carsten Rennhak from Munich Business School. At the same time, the price sensitivity of customers is increasing, which in the face of ever tougher competition also increases efficiency and cost pressure.

Detecon consultant Jutta Funk, one of the authors of the study, sees two developments that should be driven forward in order to overcome these challenges: greater automation through the expansion of self-services and the integration of social media as a communication channel. “We therefore recommend offers such as videos provided for services that require explanation or intelligent search functions that make it easier for customers to search the website for answers to service-specific questions.” , a company should also show its presence there. Customer forums on Facebook or Linkedin promote consumer exchange and offer companies the opportunity to moderate it.

According to the almost 80 participants in the study, the way to social media is worthwhile: almost three quarters of them believe that companies could relieve their resources by providing suitable service content such as product information and application aids via interactive platforms. 81 percent say that customer feedback would be generated more extensively and incorporated more into product and service optimization than it is today. “Web 2.0 tools make it possible to collaborate with the customer and design the service process together with the customer,” explains Rennhak. However, through social media, communication is shifting from a one-to-one relationship to a many-to-many network. The recommendation of the study authors: “In order to be able to use customer service with social media as a differentiating factor in saturated market environments, rules of the game for communication should be set up and online activities should be ‘monitored’.”