Last December, many experts were calling 2010 the year of social media—and in many ways they were right. Facebook now has 500 million users, and Twitter signed on over 100 million users in 2010 alone. Nielsen has found that Americans spend a quarter of their time online at social media sites, a 43% increase since 2009. It’s no surprise, then, that marketers around the country are touting the importance of a social media presence in business, and praising customer engagement software for social media feedback management. Yet PeopleMetrics’ 2010 Most Engaged Customers (MEC) study reinforced the age-old idea that face-to-face interaction is best as far as customer service is concerned.
In the MEC study, PeopleMetrics compared engagement levels for customers interacting with a brand in-person, online, and over-the-phone. Customer satisfaction feedback from the study revealed that Fully Engaged customers are more likely to have had face-to-face interactions with a brand. More than half (52%) of Actively Disengaged customers had phone contact with a company, compared with just 18% of Fully Engaged Customers. On the other hand, 76% of fully engaged customers had in-person interactions, versus 48% of Actively Disengaged customers. In other words, customers are more likely to be engaged when they have had in-person interaction with a brand.
Authentic customer service is challenging to achieve over the phone because it is more difficult for service representatives to read the customer’s mood. During in-person interactions, eye contact and facial expressions allow for a better understanding of each customer’s mood and personality. Furthermore, many customer service call centers are so focused on metrics such as call volumes that they discourage the kind of small talk and humor that can endear customers and give service reps insight into each consumers’s state of mind.
However, it’s unrealistic in this day and age to expect companies to conduct all of their customer service in-person. Nearly every company today interacts with customers via multiple channels. The challenge is to ensure that your productivity metrics don’t trump the customer experience. A customer feedback management system can help your managers monitor customer engagement levels, and quickly respond to any service slip-ups.
Posted on 01-10-2011