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How leading CSPs are integrating social media within customer care

The potential for the social media channel is immense: it can allow CSPs to serve multiple customer care functions from a single channel.

Social media is entering the mainstream of CSP customer care operations

Social networks have become a major force in our lives and customers are increasingly using it to communicate with their communication service providers (CSPs). Customers who post service problems on Facebook and Twitter expect their CSP to respond within 30 minutes.

In response to customer demands, CSPs that have primarily used these channels for marketing purposes have started installing tools for social media monitoring and customer support. They are now using these tools to perform multiple functions, including the following.

  • Sentiment and trend analysis: CSPs are monitoring social media, which involves tracking data from a large group of sources (including, social networks, forums, blogs and online communities), to analyse and understand sentiment towards their brand and marketing offers, as well as those of competitors. They are also using these tools to identify emerging market trends and customer issues at an early stage.
  • Customer support: CSPs are interacting with customers who report issues on social networks by lodging trouble tickets and helping them to resolve their issues.

Many of the vendors that offer social media tools focus on providing the above functionality to CSPs. This includes many specialist vendors that only offer social media tools. Larger vendors that serve the telecoms market have also started offering social media tools, either through in-house development, or by forming partnerships with or acquiring the specialist vendors.

Social media has much more to offer as a customer care channel, but no single vendor does it all

The potential for the social media channel is immense: it can allow CSPs to serve multiple customer care functions from a single channel. It could become a primary channel for customer care, thanks to the growing number of tools and capabilities available from vendors.

CSPs that have been proactive in deploying social media tools for monitoring and customer support purposes are looking to benefit further from the channel's capabilities. This includes using the channel to offer self-service, personalised marketing and sales.

Telecoms-focused vendors that recognise this potential have built tools that enable CSPs to use social networks, such as Facebook, to offer self-service capabilities. As well as launching personalised and segmented marketing campaigns on social media, CSPs can also use offer customers rewards and incentives for participating in extended marketing.

Currently, CSPs need to install additional social media tools in order to use the channel to its full potential. Very few vendors offer systems that CSPs can deploy to exploit the full capability of the social media channel – either as a pre-integrated solution or as a single complete system.

Analysys Mason's report – Social media platforms in customer care: integrating tools from multiple vendors – assesses many of the social media tools currently on offer and has recommendations for CSPs and vendors on how they can use the social media channel to its full benefit – particularly in the short term. Find out more about the report at