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Technology-fueled customer-led disruption is at the door.
And brands aren’t ready. Too many brands have watched
Nowhere is this more apparent than on Twitter. With its
painfully as customer questions and issues coming across
exploding user-base, Twitter turned into one of the world’s
the Twitter feed multiply over night. Every night. Night after
largest brand-consumer communication channels over night.
night. Unless they have a way to respond efficiently and
Unlike earlier media revolutions like radio, TV—even the early
effectively, they know that in what Forrester Research calls
Web—this channel is 100% in the hands of the consumer.
“The Age of the Customer”, they’ll face one mother of a
customer experience crisis. Indeed, many brands already
are. Forty-eight percent of customers today report feeling
Active Twitter Users: 218 million
frustrated when they don’t receive a quick response to
Average followers: 208 each
expectations are high.
their inquiries through social media.1 It’s no wonder—their
Average minutes/month on Twitter: 170 each
Social media has indelibly changed the way we communicate
and therefore changed customer expectations. Because
communication through social media is now very different in
three important ways: It’s persistent, transparent and two-
of consumers expect
the same level of
service through social
way. Evidence of what consumers think of your brand is there
for all to see—ostensibly forever. Which puts your brand’s
responsiveness in the spotlight, warts and all.
Convince and Convert
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getting it wrong
Most brands don’t outright ignore the fact that their
customers are on Twitter—97% use branded Twitter handles.
But most use the channel as a broadcast medium tweeting
on average 221 times per week.2 What’s desperately missing
on Twitter from brands is active, timely response. Eightypercent of tweets about companies require an actionable
response,3 but 70% go ignored.4
Silence. It’s about the worst possible customer experience
a brand can deliver. While customer expectations for timely
response over social channels continues to grow, those could
be the most expensive 140 characters you’ll ever ignore.
of consumers have switched
brands at least once in the
past year because of a poor
Source: NewVoice Media
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getting it right
For more and more consumers, being online is now
The social customer experience—open, transparent, peer-
synonymous with being social—65% of Internet users today
to-peer brand and product discussions happening in online
use social networking sites and half of consumers now
communities and social networks—is fully in the hands of
claim they are fluent or expert in social media.6 And they’re
your customers and it’s always on 24/7. You can bury your
bringing their consumer behavior with them to the social
head in the sand and ignore your customers on Twitter, you
web. Seventy-two percent report they use social media to stay
can default to traditional broadcast tactics over social media,
connected with brands and 51% say they use social media to
or you can adapt by recognizing that:
share product experience and advice.7
1. increasingly, your customers think of Twitter as a
Social media is here to stay. Your customers have turned it
utility—a one-stop-shop for getting quick and relevant
into a channel for connecting with you whether you show up
or not. Your job, of course, is to do way more than just show
up. Your job is adapt your business functions such that they
are best suited for today’s social customer.
2. “support is the new marketing”—service experiences are
becoming more influential on overall brand perception.
3. your social responsiveness can seriously impact the
4. there’s upside when you get it right—huge upside.
The revenue benefits of a
better customer experience
range from $31 million for
retailers to $1.3 billion for
hotels and wireless providers.
Source: Forrester Research
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“Targeted and relevant real-time [customer
care] requires businesses to move faster than
they are used to, acquire technology that’s
just barely been invented, and use creative
capabilities they don’t yet have.”
time across the top 100 retailers on Twitter is a disheartening
-Jeffrey Dachis, The Dachis Group
precisely because that’s how human beings prefer it. Social
11 hours 15 minutes. A mere 20% of top retailers provide
social response within an acceptable time frame, while 19%
don’t respond at all.9
Social moves us increasingly toward real-time interactivity
customers are already learning that looking for help from
others like themselves online is the closest thing to real-
time support they can get, and it’s fast becoming their
One of the biggest hurdles to exceptional social media
responsiveness is the challenge of operating in real-time.
Businesses are used to getting actionable data every 30, 60 or
90 days, not seconds. But that’s precisely what social media
when customers need help:
has presented to business: an urgent need to exponentially
step up social media responsiveness.
And it’s going slowly. While 56% of customers begin their
customer service journey via a digital touch point, 41% of
those then switch to a traditional channel before achieving
63% search for a
solution online from
others like themselves
resolution8—begging the question, what happened? Why are
digital and social service experiences missing the mark?
One answer is that customers simply expect them to be much
faster. We’ve long known that customer expectations are
different for call center vs. email inquiries. Now that social
media is becoming one of the Big Three service channels,
we’re discovering that customer expectations here are even
more demanding—and less fulfilling. While customers expect
social customer care in near real-time, the average response
Sources: CMO Council, McKinsey
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50% of consumers expect to find service and
support on Facebook—10% of brands provide it
Just 30% of brands use social media to
improve service and responsiveness
Just 19% of customer service teams are using
Contrast these response times with the 11+ hours top
retailers now take to respond over social channels and
imagine how different the experiences are—and which, of
course, is better. And remember that when customers get
Sources: CMO Council, Our Social Times
the service they want and expect, they can indeed be very
good to brands.
The problem is that brands have been much slower to get to
the social media trough than have their customers. Why? Sixty-
consumers will recommend the product or service to a friend
seven percent claim they don’t have the time or resources, 50%
After a good customer experience 86% of
can’t measure success and 42% lack the competency.10
After a great customer experience, 79%
And that social media makes it very easy to spread their
of consumers will always or frequently become repeat buyers
Because a full 81% of brands still haven’t figured out social
customer care, there’s still room for you to differentiate
on social responsiveness. Because of markedly changing
customer expectations, moving from batch to real-time
processing—particularly in the area of customer support—
is delivering huge value gains for those getting there early.
Time Warner Cable resolves 78% customer
care issues on Twitter—and does it 30% faster
Sky responds to tweets in an average of 8 minutes
likely to post
Globe repsonds to over 40,000 social
conversations in five minutes or less
40% of consumers
sometimes share good
customer experiences via
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keepin’ it real
Before social media and the Internet, options were limited for
Dialing a customer community into your social customer care
getting the word out about your brand and products—television
solution builds four big benefits:
commercials, magazine ads, and billboards. With only a few
seconds at most to grab people’s attention and drive the
message home, broad strokes were the way to go. But the
same catchy one-liners and visual clichés that have been
advertising staples for decades simply don’t work through
social media—especially when it comes to customer care.
Scripted responses, templates and canned quips will miss the
mark when it comes to social. Yet, that’s what most brands
do—use social media as a broadcast channel.
Consumers want authenticity from brands today, not
cleverness. They want relevance, not noise. There is nothing
more authentic than hearing about how another customer
like yourself solved your problem, nothing more relevant
than finding the precise answer you were looking for right
away. And there’s no better place to get both those things—
authenticity and relevance—than a customer community.
trusted content—Just 14% of consumers trust brands while a
whopping 92% trust their peers. Your customers will engage
more with content they trust.
SEO value—when you host the conversation, you get the traffic.
analytical insight—now you own the information, not
Facebook or Twitter. Now you can derive actionable insight
and develop predictive customer analytics.
cost savings—the only way to truly scale your social customer
care solution is with the help of your customers. Every
customer that helps just one other saves your business a full
26% of A1 community users find the solutions
they need from the A1 community in under 3 minutes.
25% consider the A1 support community their primary
service channel, saving A1 an estimated 168,000
service interactions per year.
###50% of brands tweet 30x week
######################US brands tweet on average 221x week
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Serious social responsiveness has countless benefits both
more satisfied customers
hard and soft. From significant cost reduction to a more
differentiated brand, savvy, adaptive organizations garner
big benefits from their investments in more relevant and
responsive social customer care.
With serious social response:
100% of giffgaff support is handled by
customers, and the brand enjoys an NPS of
73%—one of the highest in the world.
After BskyB introduced social customer care
across multiple platforms:
Calls are an average of 1:48 shorter
29% of customers say they no longer
need to call for help
Customer satisfaction rose to 87%
Time Warner Cable increased social agent
productivity by 57%
Cisco reduced resolution time by 32% and
saved $7 million
Customer satisfactions investments are often considered a
“nice to have,” rather than an essential. Not so. Investments
in customer satisfaction are essential. Satisfied customers
Time is money. The more time you save with each service
stick around longer and their loyalty is worth serious coin.
interaction, the more money you save. Better yet—if you
fully deflect a service interaction to a social channel, and if
the service issue is fully resolved in that channel, you can
practically cross the cost of that interaction right off your
It’s 50% easier to sell to existing customers
than find new ones
balance sheet. Depending on the industry, using agents to
serve customers can cost hundreds of dollars per interaction,
whereas a social customer care interaction can cost as little
Attracting a new customer costs 5x more
than keeping an existing one
A 5% increase in customer retention
increases profitability by 75%
80% of your company’s future revenue will
come from just 20% of your existing customers
Sources: Forbes, Bain & Co., Gartner, Lee Resources, Inc.
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higher brand advocacy
For most brands, the customer experience is top of mind.
Still think brand advocates are a myth? Like unicorns and
Tinkerbelle? Before you dismiss the idea entirely, consider
that the most frequently used word in Twitter profiles: “love”.
90% of brands declare CX is a top strategic goal
75% of brands aim to make the CX a point of
Social customers are passionate customers. Social media
taps into an age old human behavior—perhaps our most
defining characteristic—the drive to share.
74% of social customers use social media to
Source: Forrester Research
encourage friends to try new products
But the outpouring of user-generated content across the web
has been a huge disrupter for business and many are still
grappling with how to handle it. The plethora of channels,
platforms, apps and solutions available today often result
in disjointed, inconsistent customer experiences—the very
opposite of what brands are trying to achieve. The result is
that few do it well.
source: CMO Council
Consumption has always been a social act—something we
share about ourselves, something we relate to in others.
From, “these rocks make the best arrows” to “my new iPad
rocks!” humans have always had a deep drive to share the
experiences they have with the objects they use every day.
Your job is to make sure those experiences are top notch—by
64% of companies ranked “OK”, “Poor” or
being exceptionally responsive via social channels.
“Very Poor” on the experience they delivered.
100% of giffgaff support is provided through
source: Forrester Research
social channels—and 75% of new giffgaff
What this means for your business is that customer
subscriptions are driven by word of mouth
experience leadership is still up for grabs. Differentiating your
brand from the competition by becoming one of the most
socially responsive around is entirely within your grasp.
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best in class
Best in class social resonsiveness requires a social response
3. specialized roles
tool for high-volume customer service interactions—one that
Speaking of right message, right agent…the most productive
scales as your team (and social volume) grows. And that’s
service agents have specialized roles— Agents, Supervisors
just your ante—table stakes for getting in the game. To win,
and Managers are typical of large customer service
you need to go beyond just meeting customer expectations—
organizations. Use roles with access levels that match skill
you have to exceed them. Here are the five pillars of a best in
sets to get social customer care teams up and running
class social response solution:
efficiently and effectively.
1. authentic conversation
4. meaningful measurement
Canned responses over social media are a big no-no and
Mentions, fans, followers, trending topics, word clouds—all
social customers will call you out to all their fans and
great data, but your social response solutions is all about
followers if you make the mistake of “talking at” them instead
response. You need to know how well you’re meeting
of “speaking with them”. The millions of tweets and posts out
customer need, and for that, you need actionable intelligence.
there aren’t just announcements, they are conversations and
Measure social response success with metrics like time to
should be treated as such.
agent response, queue backlog, customer satisfaction and
2. priority routing
The concepts introduced and perfected by high-volume
5. community content
contact centers such as IVR menus, call routing and
“Keep it real and keep it coming”. There’s no more authentic
message queues can now be applied to social customer
content than community content. And there’s no way to scale
support applications. Before an agent even sees a post,
your social responsiveness without it. Customer communities
workflow, automation and prioritization engines running
are authentic content engines that continually produce
behind the scenes should deliver the right message to the
reliable support content and deliver it quickly.
right agent at the right time.
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Is Your Social Media Response Satisfactory? Inbound Marketing Agents
How Social Media is Changing Customer Service, Mashable
Internet Adoption Over Time, Pew Internet
The Digital Divide, CMO Council
McKinsey, Digitizing Customer Care
Half of Top Retailers Resolve Service Issues Through Social Media, BizReport
9 Quirky Facts About Twitter Users, The Huffington Post
About Lithium Technologies: Lithium social software helps companies unlock the passion of their customers. Lithium powers amazing social customer experiences
for more than 300 iconic brands including AT&T, BT, BestBuy, Indosat, Sephora, Skype and Telstra. The 100% SaaS-based Lithium Social Customer Experience™
platform enables brands to build and engage vibrant customer communities to drive sales, reduce service costs, accelerate innovation and grow brand advocacy.
For more information, visit lithium.com,or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our own community–the Lithosphere. Lithium is privately held with corporate
headquarters in San Francisco and offices across Europe, Asia and Australia.
The Lithium® logo is a registered Service Mark of Lithium Technologies. All trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.