Social Customer Service: The ROI of Social Media

Respected marketer Paul Dunay writes in his Buzz Marketing for Technology newsletter that the true ROI of Social Media for B2B marketers is found in what he terms Social Customer Service. I agree and take it one step further — it’s not just the secret sauce for B2B but B2C as well.

Simply put, social customer service is keeping your customers happy. Makes sense, right? And just as applicable to both business and consumer targeted customers. So why do some companies feel that listening to their customers, especially when they are talking about their products or services, is not worthy of serious budgetary (dollars or time) commitment?

The trap is when in-house (or agency) marketers see social media as primarily another distribution point to market the company’s wares. Turning social media ROI into a statistical analysis of views, clicks and conversions misses out on the most valuable aspect of this social science: deepening engagement between your brand and its customers resulting in less customer churn, more customer satisfaction and creation of a viral army of brand evangelists who will praise you among their peers

This is why companies need a social media professional on hand to champion the customer within its walls and represent the company wherever its customers gather online.

Dunay has it right:

“The downside of poor customer service has been well documented on the web more and more people are taking to the web to warn other would be customers of their dissatisfaction so don’t let that be your company! I never read a Social Media case study that started with “we completely ignored this customers issue they were blogging or tweeting about and everything worked out great” in fact it is always the opposite.”


About Ron Casalotti
I am part of that lucky generation that started out when watching TV meant choosing from three networks, three independents and PBS. Now, I work in new (social) media for businesses and organizations - but these thoughts are my own.

6 Responses to Social Customer Service: The ROI of Social Media

  1. Robin says:

    Ron, I agree with you completely-every company must plan for and deliver friendly, fast, and quality customer service if it plans on participating in social media. How one does or does not react to customer (B2B or B2C) questions, comments and complaints has a huge impact on others who are checking to see how a brand reacts. Why would anyone want to do business with a company that doesn’t listen and support their customers? Social media can’t help but become social customer service.

    To take that a step further, when a company chooses people for the social media team, they’d better make sure everyone in the group values and delivers superior customer service.


  2. guy1067 says:

    I think it’s important not to overstate the role social has to play in the provision of customer care. There is no doubt that social is catalytic in shaking up the customer service industry; long overdue in my opinion.

    However, I think it’s important to rise above the ‘social/traditional’ channel dichotomy. Customer service is not a set of tools, it is a mindset. It is a fundamental part of a company’s culture and the way it views its customers. A company that is closed to its customers, will likely be closed in its use of social. Whilst a company that is open to social is more likely to be open to its customers. I am generalising hugely. We must all be careful not to fall into the trap of creating a social silo that simply provides a sticking plaster over a company’s underlying customer service issues.


    • You make an important point, Guy. The best solution is one where social media is integrated into the company to such an extent that when the question is asked, “Who owns social media in your organization?” the answer is not marketing or public relations or digital, but “everyone”:.


  3. Paul Dunay says:

    @Ron – thanks so much for the props – its mentions like this that really keep me going!


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