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1 Social Media March 2015 Thought Leadership Whitepaper Deepening the Customer Relationship with Social Media: A Sutherland Perspective

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3 Sutherland Global Services Social Media Table of Contents PREFACE EVOLUTION IN SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT B2B companies driving awareness & sales using various social platforms Existing social media engagement Technology investment for social media PROCESS OF BUILDING AN INTEGRATED CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT CENTER SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERICES OUTSOURCING AN OFFERING STILL IN THE EARLY STARGES OF FORMULATION Market potential for social media BPO services by region KEY TO FUTRE SUCCESS LIES IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENTS 3

4 Whitepaper Deepening the Customer Relationship with Social Media PREFACE Social media has revolutionized the way businesses manage customer relationships. Given its reach and impact, social media has become critical for engaging customers across industries. Retail industry has not remained immune to it. In order to enhance customer engagement, retail companies have embraced the social media phenomenon in a big way. Like customers, they too have high expectations from social media; with two-thirds companies surveyed by Sutherland Research believing the phenomenon will transform business in the future. Now, the question arises: How prepared are retail companies to make this shift? Not quite, as many still struggle with their social media initiatives. Despite a widespread adoption of social media, for many, the social customer contact center concept is still in its nascent stage, execution is patchy, and concerns about ROI remain high. To close the gap between strategic intent and operational execution, retailers are looking to service providers for handling changing customer preferences, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar integration, and the nuances of digital marketing. Service providers in response are aggressively trying to differentiate their Customer Experience Management (CEM) offerings by integrating different tools/ platforms to enable a single holistic view of the customer. to leverage social networks as a tool for promotion, customer research and acquisition, and query handling. More than anything else, social media is bringing retailers closer to their customers, helping them know their customers better and deliver what they exactly want. B2B companies driving awareness and sales using various social platforms In the early adoption period, B2B players were less inclined to use social media as a customer service tool than B2C companies. As per a social media survey, only around threefourths of B2B players have an account on social media sites compared to 95% for B2C. However, B2B activity is slightly higher than B2C on a few social media sites like LinkedIn, where the main agenda is to promote subject matter expertise and related information. Blogging is an area where both B2B and B2C marketers are planning to increase the usage, making it the top priority for investment. EVOLUTION Being a customer-centric industry, retail s underlying strategy has been to know and understand customers better. In their quest to know what the customers want, retail companies have formulated and adopted many strategies, of which social media is the most recent. They have now started focusing on assessing and segmenting customer data available in social media to gauge the everchanging buying behavior of the customers. As a result, the industry is witnessing a shift from product-centric programs to initiatives aimed at customer experience and engagement. For retailers, social media provides a huge opportunity from sales and marketing to customer service and product development. With the adoption of social media, many retailers have already expanded their operational processes 4

5 Sutherland Global Services Social Media Existing Social Media Engagement Social customer service agents conduct customer service interactions on social networks, ensuring that companies do not miss out on opportunities to improve customer satisfaction by solving issues that may or may not have reached the traditional call center. Traditional customer service agents use social media to engage customers in social conversations, which can be aligned with customer profiles and conversation histories, helping companies form a single view of the customer. Brand marketing managers leverage social media engagement for customer service as a vehicle for maintaining and protecting brand reputation. Technology Investment for Social Media Industries, like retail, CPG and telecom, which depend primarily on consumer insights & trends for marketing and product strategy, get a unique platform to create intelligence by engaging customers on social media and monitoring their social media interactions. Some of the top brands and companies are already using the power of social media to provide customized solutions and drive engagement. For example: Wal-Mart uses social data to engage with potential customers and to predict their purchase patterns based on their social media interactions. A European telecom service provider used big data and information shared by consumers across social networking sites to understand what prompted them to choose one brand over another. The company used these insights to design customized service offerings for its customers. PROCESS Social Media Outcome Customer service and support Sales, customer acquisition Social media customer service is not a new concept, yet employing it across different channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can present real challenges as well as opportunities for B2B and B2C companies. To achieve higher customer engagement levels on different social media platforms, companies need to first establish an active social media presence. Businesses must have a Marketing, promotions and branding Product development comprehensive cross-channel customer engagement plan, under which they will be able to aggregate social feeds and enable marketers, service agents or sellers to engage with their customers in a timely manner. Alongside they need to establish a response plan, which involves identifying the types of posts that require a response (e.g., questions, problems, product/service related issues); categorizing various posts, criteria and processes for escalation; and deciding the appropriate response time for each type of post. Many companies have already deployed social media as a customer communication channel in their contact centers. Moreover, they are enthusiastic about including social media as a customer service and engagement tool. However, to harness the power of social media to the fullest, the companies need to be actively present on multiple channels, and managing a multi-channel approach is one of the top challenges faced by contact centers. A more focused approach is required to achieve a successful multi-channel customer engagement strategy. Customer experience management through social media includes more than just listening to and engaging with customers. CEM services also map a customer s journey from start to end, understanding his/her expectations and delivering accordingly. This and other social media tools and strategies, if integrated with the company s overall customer engagement strategy, will create a single view of the customer, turning it into a win-win game. 5

6 Whitepaper Deepening the Customer Relationship with Social Media SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE OUTSOURCING Currently, retail companies on an average have a presence on three to five social media platforms for customer service and support, but they lag in multi-channel integration. Outsourcing service providers can help the companies fill up this lacuna. The providers now offer social media monitoring and management services as part of their customer service package. This move underlines the importance of responding to customer concerns posted on social media channels in order to take the customer service experience to the next level. Market Potential for Social Media BPO Services by Region Sutherland Research estimates that the Social Media BPO market was $362 million in 2014, and is expected to increase at a Compound Annual Average Growth Rate (CAAGR) of 46 per cent to reach $1,637 million by 2018 a clear indication that the Social Media BPO is here to stay. The APAC BPO market is set to grow rapidly due to increasing population and improving internet penetration, highlighting the importance of organizations enhancing their social media presence within the region. Still, North America and Europe will remain the dominant geographies over the following five years. Africa and Latin America will continue to grow due to the need for social media services across segments. To cater to all these regions, vendors ability to offer multilingual social media delivery will play a vital role in clients selecting their outsourcing partner. The huge opportunity seems to lie in the customer experience management segment, a market that involves searching social channels for customer service-related feedback and proactively addressing queries, resolving complaints, and highlighting endorsements. Below are the broad services that fall under the purview of CEM: Monitoring and responding to social media conversations about the client s products or services Tracking online customer communities/forums Campaign management, social media contacts, knowledge management, reporting and analytics Customer data management including history and buying behavior THE FUTURE Many companies are finding social media s potential to reinvent customer relationship so compelling that they are launching various initiatives amid concerns about ROI & negative brand exposure and lack of new strategies & support frameworks. The coming years will see a complete overhaul of the customer service domain, with channelspecific strategies taking a backseat and real-time engagement & integrated communication coming in the front and center. Outsourcing industry is witnessing a paradigm shift, with service providers replacing customer relationship management (CRM) with customer experience management (CEM). Service providers have expanded their definitions of services beyond voice and non-voice, to managing entire customer journeys across traditional and digital channels. This presents a huge opportunity for the CEM segment, which involves services like customer-service related feedback, proactively addressing queries and resolving complaints. Many businesses have already started outsourcing social media customer service to service providers as they want to focus on their core business. In future, we expect CRM outsourcing to become mainstream and more and more companies to move towards the customer engagement center to handle multi-channel support. 6

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8 Copyright Sutherland Global Services Sutherland Global Services 1160 Pittsford-Victor Road Pittsford, NY Produced in the United States of America March 2015 This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by SGS at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which SGS operates About Sutherland Global Services For more information contact: Established in 1986, Sutherland Global Services is a global provider of business process and technology management services. Sutherland offers an integrated portfolio of analytics-driven backoffice and customer facing solutions that support the entire customer lifecycle. One of the largest, independent BPO companies in the world, it serves global leaders in major industry verticals. Headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., Sutherland employs over 30,000 professionals and has locations across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Jamaica, Slovakia, Estonia, Sweden, Bulgaria, UK, Morocco, UAE, Egypt, Malaysia, Philippines, India and China. For more information, visit Please recycle. 8

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