Social Media Customer Care: Whose Job Is It Anyway?

In my last post, I described some of the most common reasons that brands often fail to respond to customer questions and complaints on social media. One of the main reasons is confusion over whose responsibility it is to respond.

Historically, responsibility for social media has fallen to marketing, PR or corporate communications. That made good sense because social was used primarily as way to build brand awareness and encourage word-of-mouth marketing.

However, brands have realized that social media is not just a promotional tool, but also a channel for customer care. It has become crucial to ensure that the right department (or person) can respond accurately and effectively. In many cases, that’s not a marketer, but rather someone in sales, billing, tech support or customer service.

In a February 2014 survey by the International Customer Management Institute (IMCI), 73 percent of organizations reported having an active social presence. When asked who “owns” social media customer service, 52 percent reported that the contact center now owns or co-owns responsibility, which shows a growing recognition that social care can often best be handled by those skilled in answering sales, service and support questions.

Brands do face some challenges when attempting to broaden the scope of social response. Two top challenges include: 1) sorting out organizational roles and responsibilities and 2) developing an effective process for how to respond.

The following are recommendations for how to address these issues.

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Richard Dumas

I have led marketing and product management initiatives for leading technology, media and software companies including Nuance Communications, Sun Micro, Apple Computer and DNN Corp. I received an M.B.A. from M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management and a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Wesleyan University. I am currently the Director of Product and Solution Marketing at Five9, the leading provider of cloud contact center software .