Industry Commentary

Is Social Media Losing its C-EX Luster?

By August 30, 2018July 25th, 2023No Comments

Some fads stay, while others linger for a time before dissipating into the ether.  When it comes to how consumers communicate with firms from which they buy goods and services, to date most channels have proven resilient.  However, it is questionable if any have taken on the controversial nature of social media, which is now facing the greenshoots of a backlash.  With growing concerns about excessive screen-time, the pushback against social media has the potential to gain momentum.  With that in mind, customer experience executives need to be pragmatic in how they manage this channel, in order to not only respond to changes in preferred networks, but also to mitigate the potential for shifts in interaction patterns.

Concerns about social media abound, ranging from the growth of trolling to cyberbullying through to worries about too much time spent in front of device screens (which can lead to obesity and ocular issues, not withstanding the impact on people skills).  In the case of screen-gazing, concerns have been growing for decades, whether it be the couch potatoes associated with the advent of cable TV in the 80s or arcade-style graphics in home video game systems.

That said, younger people eschewing social media, as reported in The Guardian recently, is part of a wider trend that needs to be taken seriously by those managing customer experience.  The fact that Wired (seen by many to the the voice of the technology world) would publish an article suggesting that readers need to delete social media from their mobile devices sent shockwaves, and identified some compelling reasons for doing so.  Whether there will be a tidal wave of people leaving social networks in the coming months is debatable. But, regardless, it points to something that customer experience professionals should consider.

From the customer experience management space, an interesting trend uncovered in the recently-published 2018 Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey relates to social media as a contact channel.  Specifically, 7 in 10 respondents in North America, the UK and Australia, stated that social media was being used as a contact medium for their customer base. Granted, this was roughly the same figure recorded in the previous year.  But it is compelling that social media was the only channel that did not grow proportionately among enterprise digital deployments.  That raises the question of whether or not social media has plateaued in the realm of contact center pertinence.  And, if so, how can both enterprises and front office BPOs manage this situation?

At this point, it is worth mentioning that a plateau for this channel is not only possible, but it is also logical. After all, most contact centers started supporting social media nearly a decade ago, at least on the interaction side, and it is safe to assume that the hockey-stick growth curve of this channel has long passed.  Equally, there are certain verticals in which social media is simply less relevant in contact centers than others.  That said, while social media usage may slow, it is unlikely to disappear. Too many consumers rely on social media as a medium for interaction in all aspects of their lives, including commercial ones.  But, to be clear, usage behavior will evolve and some networks will fall out of fashion. Contact center managers will need to adapt to these trends.