Telcos are not making the most of social media, says Ovum

Telecom operators are missing a trick by failing to link customers’ social media profiles to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, a move which could help pre-empt or even resolve issues before a customer lifts the phone.

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Telecom operators are missing a trick by failing to link customers’ social media profiles to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, a move which could help pre-empt or even resolve issues before a customer lifts the phone.

A study of 100 global service provider executives and 4,068 consumers by Ovum, for customer care solutions provider Amdocs, has found that 68 percent of service providers believe their customers take to social media like Twitter or Facebook because they cannot reach a care agent on the phone. But the study revealed that of the consumers surveyed, half chose social media out of preference over calling in.

Companies are failing to get social media communications right, the survey revealed, as half of customers said they had tried to talk to their service provider on social media, but three-quarters never received a response.

Further, CRM systems are not being utilised to their full potential by 93 percent of service providers, which said they could not identify customers from their social media profiles. More than half did not store social media interactions in their CRM.

“Subscribers are increasingly reaching out to their service provider across social media for customer care, but due to lack of customer insights service providers are only able to provide generic responses, leaving the customer feeling more frustrated.” said Shagun Bali, analyst at Ovum.

“However, if service providers link their customer’s social identity to the customer profile already stored in their CRM systems they can gain contextual knowledge of the customer, and as a result deliver a consistent response while improving customer satisfaction and cutting costs by increasing first call resolution (FCR).”

With it being a zeitgeist for comparisons to be made between ‘big data’ and ‘big brother’, the survey revealed surprising attitudes to storing customers’ social media information. Sixty-four percent of customers said they would be willing to share their social identity with their service provider in return for better service, and 48 percent would like to receive relevant, personalised offers from their service provider through social media.

“The research shows a huge opportunity to deflect customer care to lower-cost, social media channels and to increase Net Promoter Score (NPS) and positive word-of-mouth visibility,” said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president for product and solution marketing at Amdocs.  

“When people take to Twitter or Facebook to ask questions or, worse yet, complain about their service provider, that’s an opportunity the service provider can take to proactively resolve that customer’s issue – if they know that customer’s real identity.”

The global research combines an Ovum service provider executive survey, conducted in May 2014 and a consumer survey by Coleman Parkes Research in January 2014.

Previous research by Amdocs has show that despite telecoms operators' ambitions to simplify and streamline their IT operational environments, 75 percent of them have increased the number of their IT services vendors over the past five years.

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