Lithium Technologies Survey Shows Growing Importance of Social Customer Experience in Telecom

By Colleen Lynch February 22, 2013

Lithium Technologies published the results of its most recent global study on social maturity in customer experience and social technologies on Thursday, revealing interesting data on confidence in customer service.

“The telecommunications industry is beginning to realize the value of social, but needs to focus on the right metrics in order to be successful,” explained Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of Lithium Technologies.

Lithium’s results show that about two-thirds of communications service providers in the world are using social media to drive business impact. In addition to this number, approximately 27 percent of providers are planning on implementing social media in their future business plans.

“Telecommunications is arguably one of the most competitive consumer markets around,” added Teresa Cottam, chief strategist for Telesperience. “The market is moving so quickly though that excellent customer experiences will quickly commoditize to average experiences--making continual innovation essential.” 


Image via Phone Dog

Some of the steps involved in recent social customer experience innovations are organizing a holistic, company-wide approach and taking the bulk of the work outside of specific departments, mainly marketing and implementing the same focus all across the board.

“Companies need to move past the pointless hunt for buzz, likes, comments and high fives--and start thinking seriously about ROI. They need to hold social accountable to the same goals and standards that they apply to any other area of business, like reduced costs, greater satisfaction and increased revenue,” noted Tarkoff.

This study, conducted for Lithium by the UK-based telecom analyst Telesperience, cited multiple statistics that reinforce the necessity of social for telecoms today.

Just two years ago, the number of telecoms that considered their customer experience “excellent” was at 8 percent, an already low rate, but now the number has dropped to about 5 percent. This decline will only continue as social becomes more important, which is expected.

“A haphazard approach to social is no longer acceptable,” warns Tarkoff. “Social strategies need to deliver the right things--serious results that tie back to core business goals.”

The study took a look at 40 communication service providers across the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific, surveying the companies’ senior representatives to gain an inside-idea of where social is today. Overwhelmingly, the report found that “Using social channels enables service providers to open up a lucrative new source of ideas derived directly from customers themselves, creating vital new revenue streams, and allowing service providers to stay aligned with continually evolving customer expectations,” said Cottam.

Additional data collected in the survey suggests that 93 percent of telecoms now connect with customers via social networks, with 95 percent of telecoms planning to maintain or increase their budgets for social media in 2013. Also, the number of telecoms that currently bring customer ideas to market is at 59 percent, but is expected to hit 86 percent by 2015.

Even purchasing can leverage social, as the report found that 37 percent of telecoms enlist social customers to gain purchase advice, and this number is set to expand to 59 percent by 2015 as well.

While the Americas were found to have the most mature social strategies of the study, the report found that opportunities for expansion and growth abound in every region analyzed, and concluded that telecoms will look vastly different than they do today by 2015, when social will be a more dominant factor in business.

To download the full survey, visit here and click here for the related infographic.



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