A recent Lithium survey has found social media is helping to drive improved customer experiences in telecoms, but there is lots of room to grow in developing markets and on the social support front.

Lithium worked with analyst firm Telesperience to survey over 40 telecom senior managers from around the world, and the results paint the picture of a divergent frontier in which the largest companies with the biggest social investments are indeed performing better.

Better CX Alters Business Models

Social media is proving over and over again the importance of focusing on customers. In the telecommunications business, this also applies. However, it's not just mobile broadband carriers being affected. It's obvious those companies have the most to lose on the consumer side, but those companies only represented about a third of the companies surveyed by Lithium.

The biggest industry segment in this survey was actually the multi service operators (cable companies), and it accounted for 44 percent of respondents. Mobile providers were 32 percent of they survey, and 20 percent were fixed/wireline/fiber providers. Overall, companies were more confident in their ability to provide better customer experiences, but only five percent of respondents said they rated their service as excellent.

That number actually went down from eight percent two years ago, but even the least confident companies still rated themselves average overall. Nearly every company surveyed is using social media to connect with customers (93%), and 61 percent were using it to drive business impacts. This shows a maturation in thinking and in goals.


How companies are measuring the impact of social media from The Evolving Role of Social Media in Telecoms Customer Experience

Marketers Leading the Way

Among the top goals for customer service providers in the survey were increasing customer loyalty, right first-time customer service and cost effective self-service. Despite this, marketers were leading the way in social media adoption and usage. Seventy six percent of respondents identified marketing as the primary driver in their social strategy. Customer care came in second at 41 percent with sales and R&D both coming in at five percent or less.

Those segments that were not primary drivers were regarded as influencers at a higher rate. For example, 66 percent of respondents said sales were an influencer of social media adoption and usage. It just wasn't regarded as the primary driver.

Regardless of who is driving the adoption, the social media landscape among telecoms is close to full maturation. In two more years, it will be mainstream around the world, and nearly every company will have a very detailed strategy for social. As the image above shows, customer satisfaction is the way most companies are measuring social success. As long as that continues, telecos should be one of the leading industries in social media.

Given how competitive the telecom industry is, that will be a key differentiator for companies, and an important way to keep customers happy and keep them from jumping around from company to company.