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93% of telecoms now connect with customers through public social networks – but only 68% engage with loyal customers

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

February 19, 2013 | 3 min read

Lithium Technologies has today unveiled results from a global study, which found that 95 per cent of telecoms plan to maintain or increase their social media budgets this year.

It was found that over 80 per cent of telecoms plan to use social to engage loyal customers and bring customer ideas to market by 2015: although this figure currently stands at 68 per cent.

Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO at Lithium, said: “The customer experience, built around engaging with your customers on their terms, is something the telecommunications industry has struggled to keep pace with, particularly given the entry of over-the-top players in recent years. However, a haphazard approach to social is no longer acceptable. Social strategies need to deliver the right things – serious results that tie back to core business goals.

“The telecommunications industry is beginning to realize the value of social, but needs to focus on the right metrics in order to be successful. 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.”

The study, conducted by UK-based telecom analyst firm Telesperience, found that at 76 per cent of telecoms the marketing department is one of the primary drivers of social strategy, while in only 41 per cent of the cases customer care was a primary driver.

Teresa Cottam, research director at Telesperience, added: “Telecommunications is arguably one of the most competitive consumer markets around. As the results of this research show, organisations across the globe are increasingly open to using social media to boost their competitiveness, with around two-thirds using it to drive business impact, and an additional 27 per cent are looking to do so in the future. The service providers that succeed tomorrow will be the ones that invest in innovation now. The market moves so quickly that today’s excellent customer experience will be little more than average tomorrow. Using social channels to increase interaction with end-users will help organisations to source new ideas and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to evolving customer expectations.”

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