Five: Client Servicing

CHAPTER 28. How Can Social Media Be Used to Save Time and Money in Servicing Clients?

It's risky not to do client servicing on social media. For most companies, it's going to happen regardless.

– Lindsay Tiles, managing director, corporate public relations, Charles Schwab

Despite the obvious business necessity of satisfying customers, we in the financial industry are still struggling to do so in the social media world. A broad range of industries are satisfying wealthy consumers and setting their expectations for service – expectations where, in comparison, the financial sector frequently falls short, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reports in its white paper The Connected Advisor: The Rise of Digital and Social Advice in Wealth Management.[1]

“Indeed, attitudes, behaviors, and preferences of the affluent are increasingly being shaped by experiences in other sectors where content, interactions, and features are richer and deliver a more engaging and rewarding experience,” the report says. See Figure 28.1.

Why the discrepancy? “Firms have been slow to bring new technologies to meet the challenge for regulatory, privacy and, more importantly, cultural reasons,” PwC says.

Identifying the Delivery Gap

FIGURE 28.1 Identifying the Delivery Gap

Source: James Allen, Frederick F. Reichheld, Barney Hamilton and Rob Markey, “Closing the Delivery Gap,” Bain & Company, 2005,

Social care matters because consumers are increasingly counting on it. It matters even more so today because as consumers get more comfortable in using social media, when they do have a bad experience – offline or online – they're more likely to be more vocal.

Given that reality, they are less likely to be tolerant of businesses that fail to measure up when it comes to responding on social platforms to their concerns. The reverse holds true as well – companies that get it right are rewarded.

Evolve24, a Martiz research company specializing in social analytics, conducted a study that found that some 70 percent of customer service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered.[2] Nearly half expected their company to read their tweets. Of the one-third who received a response from the company, 83 percent said they liked or loved hearing from the company.

American Express found similar results in its 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer[3]:

■ Only 31 percent of social media users for customer service say they always get an answer or have their complaints resolved. See Figure 28.2.

■ Twenty-three percent say they rarely or never get an answer or have their complaint resolved.

Social Problem-Solving

FIGURE 28.2 Social Problem-Solving

Source: American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer

■ Still, 60 percent feel companies have generally improved their response times over social media channels. One-third say they have not changed. See Figure 28.3.

What's been surprising is that, even though our use of the Web has evolved, there are still companies that fail to be present in their online

Improving Response Rates

FIGURE 28.3 Improving Response Rates

Source: American Express 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer

customer service even though they promote it, whether it's real-time chat, e-mail, or care through Twitter.

  • [1] “The Connected Advisor: The Rise of Digital and Social Advice in Wealth Management,” PricewaterhouseCoopers, August2013,
  • [2] “Maritz Research and evolve24 Twitter Study,” Maritz Research, September 2011, TwitterPoll.ashx. Accessed June 8, 2014.
  • [3] “2012 Global Customer Service Barometer,” American Express, May 2, 2012, xp_2012gcsb_us.pdf.
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