NEW YORK — Capgemini, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, today announced the results of its third annual Executive Outsourcing Survey, which explores the perceptions and use of social media within customer care operations defined as all aspects of customer interaction management within the enterprise.
The survey revealed that social media has become a critical tool for customer care across industries, as over half of senior executives (52 percent) indicated that social media is currently a part of their company’s customer care operations, and 57 percent indicated they are aware that their company is currently monitoring online conversations. Thirty-six percent of executives say their company currently measures the value of its social media program for customer care, which is surprising given how relatively new social media is as a method to enhance customer care operations.
The survey, commissioned by Capgemini and conducted online in February by Harris Interactive among 302 senior executives at Fortune 1000 companies, reinforces that social media as a tool for customer care is here to stay. Over half of executives (57 percent) view social media as a means for inviting customer input on product and services, lead generation, responding to complaints, internal reporting, and measuring customer satisfaction. Interestingly, more than one in ten executives (13 percent) still view social media monitoring as a fad that will not significantly affect their company’s success. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority view social media as a critical part of a comprehensive customer care strategy.
Despite social media’s growing role in customer care, there is still uncertainty amongst executives in how best to leverage the increasing influence of social media to benefit their company. For example, the survey points to confusion within the organization around whose role it is to manage social media for customer care, and when and how they should be interacting with customers.
Most executives (73 percent) are unfamiliar with how many employees at their company are currently dedicated to “listening” to customer conversations on the internet, and most executives whose company is using social media activities with respect to customer care (64 percent) rely solely on their marketing department for social media monitoring. Furthermore, less than half of executives (41 percent) in companies monitoring online conversations about its brand, product and/or services only respond to an online conversation when a customer poses a direct question, representing a significant missed opportunity for companies to proactively solicit feedback and enhance the customer experience.
Given the lack of recognized best practices amongst companies today, many organizations look to partner with a skilled third party who can respond in real-time to social media interactions and can tie customer sentiment and trends to an effective business strategy. However, the survey indicated that many companies are not yet taking advantage of third party experts—almost half, or 48 percent of companies using social media as a component of their company’s customer care operations or strategy do not currently outsource their customer care operations to third-party providers.
“The use of social media as part of a strategic customer operations strategy is still emerging, but it presents companies with a clear opportunity to engage with current customers, find new ones and build brand awareness in an increasingly competitive landscape,” said David Poole, Vice President and Head of Americas Business Process Outsourcing, Capgemini. “We’re dedicated to helping companies understand these opportunities through research and the delivery of service offerings that help our customers effectively operate in this new medium.”
About the Survey
Harris Interactive conducted the survey online within the United States between February 8 and 21, 2011 among a total of 302 Fortune 1000 Executives. Company revenue and number of employees were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the larger universe of Fortune 1000 companies.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.