The world is a strange place at the moment.  And, just to confuse things even more, recently there was the launch of a new social network designed to outshine Twitter.  The era of Threads has arrived. It adds even more uncertainty to the convoluted realm of social media, and outsourced customer experience management is not immune from this upheaval.

Threads was launched less than a month ago. In a matter of hours, it counted 30 million registrations.  Many of these sign-ups were likely driven by a combination of  ongoing frustrations with Twitter (with which Threads shares a similar interaction format) and simple user curiosity. Even so, it highlights the importance that consumers place on social media in their lives. This infiltrates into CX and should not be ignored by the outsourcing community.

The trend is quantified in the Ryan Strategic Advisory 2023 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey of over 700 enterprise CX decision-makers across APAC, North America and Western Europe.  Social media is now the second-most deployed interaction channel across industries, trailing only voice. And it is projected to be the fastest growing communications medium in customer management over the next year.

The Omnibus Survey also shows that within enterprise contact centers the ability to invest in operations is severely constrained. In fact, this year and next the majority of captive CX decision-makers believe their budgets will either contract or remain flat.  Broadly speaking, this means less capacity to deploy the technology and agents needed to support new social media support platforms (let alone the existing ones).  For brands that pride themselves on a great social presence online, this could have a massive impact on consumer perceptions.

Proactive outsourcers have the chance to leverage this as an opportunity.  With so many of their existing and prospective clients facing a cash crunch in their own captive operations,  approaching social media with a trusted partner is a strategy that can yield dividends.  This takes on many facets, the first of which relates to front-line management.  Addressing the questions, concerns and complaints of end-users in a warm, empathetic manner has never been more important. This is where a quality-driven outsourcer can really stand out, regardless of the social media platform.  Furthermore, according to the 2023 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey, a strong front-line social media delivery capability was identified by enterprise CX buyers as the most important attribute that an outsourcer can bring to the table when attempting to win their business.

Such a strategy does not stop with front-end social network support. No one should doubt the need that enterprises have for help in other aspects of social media delivery.  There is a significant demand for BPO partners to assist in content moderation, an ongoing challenge because of the tremendous responsibility around trust & safety provisions.  There is also the need for the CX analytics platforms required for social media, which many enterprises find both unaffordable and confounding.  With a well-rounded, contemporary offering that responds to today’s CX social media pressure, a BPO can find itself in a veritable pole position with prospects from across the industry spectrum.

None of this is to say that social media is a smooth pathway to rising revenue. In fact, Threads has already been hit with several left hooks since its launch. These include a reported sharp drop off in active users in a short amount of time, as well as worries about data privacy. From a broader perspective, there is growing societal pushback against the impact that social media usage has on mental health. Yet, social media is not going away. Be it one platform or another, this medium will remain an important aspect of daily life for billions of people. Outsourcers need to fashion their offerings accordingly.

Image sourced from Jacqui Brown under Creative Commons license