The social media eruption has had a profound effect on the customer service and support market, which is reflected in our ninth annual CRM Service Awards. At the very least, it emphasizes the importance of connecting with customers on their preferred interaction channels. However, while doing so is beneficial to companies and their customers, it presents other challenges.
Another interaction channel introduces more data for customer service and support departments to process and manage. "The more things we do, the more data we generate. That data can't just sit; it has to be used to have any value. The social explosion has made that need more obvious and urgent," said Laurie McCabe, founder and analyst at the SMB Group, in the story "2012: The Past Is Prologue" (CRM, December 2011).
To get the most out of social media data, as with all customer support data, it must be shared across all customer support channels. In fact, one analyst in the Outsourcing category says, "The companies that will be leaders in the years ahead are those that understand the major shift in communication patterns for customers today and deliver consistent cross-channel support."