At work or play, social media is how we stay connected to our larger personal and professional communities throughout the day. We use social media for PR and marketing, for news and sports updates, for recruitment, for team-building and much more.

Now companies, too, are using social media. From campaign launches to senior executive videos, from positive product news to greater transparency about industry issues, social media is changing how companies approach all facets of business. More and more, it's all in the name of better, more transparent customer service.

Social media tools offer far greater customer insight than we could've imagined even five years ago. Instead of just handling inbound calls, customer service reps are actively scouring industry hashtags for possible issues, responding to Facebook posts about products, and thanking customers with immediate replies and occasional discounts and promotions.

In short, social media is quickly changing what's expected in today's customer service world.

Generally, small-to-midsize businesses are open to using social media for customer service engagement processes. After all, they tend to have in-house customer service staffs on board and are agile enough to adopt social media as a way to work with customers' issues and needs.

Socially Shy Companies

On the other hand, large corporations are less social and tend to avoid frequent engagement with customers. More than half of B2C Fortune 500 companies don't provide their links to Twitter and Facebook sites on their contact pages, the study found. And 27 percent don't provide links to Twitter or Facebook profiles anywhere on their websites at all.
"The largest consumer-facing companies are still struggling to adapt to the ways that the Internet is providing them to reach out and engage with their customers. Although many companies have readily embraced social media for marketing, the customer service piece is coming much more slowly," writes Alex Knapp in Forbes.

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Andrew Bart has had a diverse career that began over a decade ago at iCrossing, a global digital agency that sold for over $325 million in June 2010 to Hearst Corporation. Andrew has a deep-rooted understanding of innovative Internet marketing solutions.

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