In today's social and mobile media landscape, confusion reigns regarding who in the organization controls the customer conversation: 58% of C-level executives say the CEO is responsible for customer communications via social and mobile channels, but only 28% of middle managers agree with that assessment, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Genesys.

Moreover, the marketing department (not customer service or the C-suite) is responsible for driving customer interaction: a plurality of execs (44%) say the marketing department dominates the dialogue between company and customer.

Customer service via social channels hasn't been a priority: Only 13% of execs view customer service as the main purpose of new communication channels; 42% say their companies use call centers to communicate with customers.

Below, additional findings from the report titled "Getting Closer to the Customer Report," by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Genesys.

Social media is still new for companies. Among all execs surveyed, 43% say their companies have begun using social media to communicate with customers in the previous year, whereas only 11% have been using social media 3+ years.

Moreover, companies recognize that in the social arena, the most skilled and knowledgeable employees tend to be Millennials, not long out of college: 60% of companies that have developed new communication strategies put Millennials in charge of new media channels.

Overall, 48% of all execs surveyed say their companies use social media channels to communicate with customers, and only 20% use mobile applications; most rely on company websites (90%) and email (88%).

Companies rate the benefits of social media positively; however, C-level execs are slightly more optimistic (73%) than middle managers (60%).

Among all surveyed execs who use social media for communicating with customers, 26% cite positive outcomes such as improving customer service and spreading customer recommendations.

Interestingly, companies that appoint a single person (vs. a team) to manage all communications are more successful with social marketing: 33% of execs in companies that have appointed a team to manage social and mobile channels say there is a disconnect between teams that touch those channels.

By contrast, among organizations that have appointed a single individual to manage new channels, only 9% perceive the same disconnect.

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 798 senior executives worldwide, conducted in the first quarter of 2012 by Economist Intelligence Unit and Genesys.

Sign up for free to read the full article. Enter your email address to keep reading ...