Why multichannel customer service matters

15th Oct 2015

Social media and online service portals are shaping a new kind of customer experience and organisations need to react, a report by the Institute of Customer Service demonstrates.

With two-thirds of adults in the UK now signed up to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, the Institute’s Service goes social report indicates that social media should form a key part of organisations’ revised strategies. 

In the three months prior to the Institute’s survey, one in five respondents used a social channel to communicate with or comment on an organisation. Liking or following a company was the most common form of interaction, but a similar percentage – 39% – used these channels to provide feedback. 

“One of the most exciting aspects of social media is the opportunity it presents to listen and gain insight from customers and to demonstrate the learning and improvements that can be achieved as a result,” the Institute’s chief executive, Jo Causon, highlights in the report’s foreword. To tap into these benefits, social media needs to be a central part of a coherent focus on customer service strategy, she adds, not an independent function.

Our report also suggests that companies should use social media as the impetus for fostering a culture of trust. Customers clearly value the transparency of public online platforms, and organisations should ensure this openness filters through to all service channels. 

These findings reflect data from Microsoft’s recent annual Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, which compiles the views of 4,000 customers from Brazil, Japan, the UK and the US. Much like Service goes social, the report shows that a growing number of service interactions are now beginning online, and companies must adopt an “omnichannel” approach to service if they are to deliver the seamless experience that customers expect.

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