Social CRM is doomed, warns expert

Brand owners’ obsession with switching customer engagement to social media channels could seriously backfire, according to one industry expert, who claims firms are simply piling on the burden for the already “uninformed, time-pressed agents”.
Michael Maoz, a senior analyst at Gartner, argues that the rush to adopt social CRM is threatening the very ethos of good customer service because most businesses have underinvested in systems and staff for years.
Whether the customer interacts with a brand over the phone, via email, chat, or social they are still interacting with the same agent – it is just another channel, he maintains.
In a blog post he writes: “Most of the consultancies, integrators, and software solution providers advocate an intense focus on social media channels. Forget those tired and trodden customer service agents and that primitive toolkit of telephone, chat and email, they suggest. Go social.”
Maoz claims much of what inspired the social revolution was the sorry state of customer service, driven by short-term profit in reduced costs over a long-term strategy of customer satisfaction.
He adds that instead of a more engaged and informed customer service agent, companies risk “leaving [agents] with the tools that they already have and adding engagement on social channels”.
“We did not want to listen to the customer’s voice, but we suddenly want to hear their complaints? The complaints that they have because you wouldn’t speak to them quickly, accurately, knowledgeably, politely? So many people say: I don’t ever want to speak with an agent. So why would they want to engage on Facebook or via a Tweet with the same uninformed, time-pressed person? Whether you call it a call centre or a contact centre or a customer engagement centre, still requires human beings.”
He concludes: “How sustainable is a house of cards? Clients face terrific new opportunities, yet we need to be careful in not abandoning the core customer service agent abilities that make for a winning customer experience.”
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