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2014 Social Media Survey Report

Publication date: 4/2014

Executive Summary

I think we're further ahead than we sometimes think! I look forward to a time when I can actually PROVE that social media is providing a scalable and cost effective option and that, over time, we will realize reductions in interactive support and cost.

If you try to boil the ocean, you will fail.

Executive buy in is still a challenge in getting a line item on the budget for our social efforts.

If you don't use it (social media for tech support), you'll fall behind. It's that simple.
These respondent comments summarize both what we see in this survey and in the technology sector at large. Many companies with whom we ve engaged in this survey, our consulting engagements, and our seminars are further ahead than they think. Building user communities. (Autodesk has had communities going on 15 years.) Providing global multi-lingual, culturally specific support, such as EMC does. Building ever more flexibility sometimes on the fly into their support to engage with users in a variety of ways that would be unthinkable a few years ago. (Some of us remember when providing support via email was a major discussion! How on earth could the user ever describe the problem? How would we respond? How would we track? And, yet, today email, while still essential to the support mix, is considered pretty humdrum.)

Meaningful metrics are still a challenge. The metrics used by marketing for social media have little relevance to technical support. Followers on Twitter may not ever be customers, much less real people. Counting likes on Facebook, while interesting to marketing, does nothing for planning effective technical support.

It s impossible to do everything well, which seems blindingly obvious. Yet, we ve seen even very sophisticated companies falter as they try to cover all the bases with everyone, all the time. This is why we recommend our members take a long hard look at what they re doing would anyone notice if they stopped? There is no one size fits all for social media; not every company needs (or should be) on Facebook, for example. Noise isn t the same as communications. And, activity shouldn t be confused with results.

Senior executives continue to have difficulty seeing value in social media, since it, as typically used and measured, doesn t drop directly to the bottom line in hard numbers. This is why we recommend, in our ASP workshops, that a financial executive be engaged from the very beginning of any social media planning. He or she can provide valuable real-world data that can in turn be used to build a business model for social support. Further, if you have finance on your side in budget negotiations, it ll be far easier to get the resources you need to deliver the results that are expected.

Simply put, if you don t use social media for support, you ll fall behind. People now expect to find you online ideally within the first two or three results on a Google search, a quick Facebook search or via a dedicated twitter handle. If they re really irked, they ll fire off a tweet right then simply using #yourcompany, as in, #Acme had an #epicservicefail! and woe to you if you don t at least acknowledge! Even the smallest customer can have incredible reach. What started as a small problem can turn into a nightmare within hours.

Copies of the survey are free to ASP members in the members-only area.

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Copies of the survey are free to ASP members in the members-only area.

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