Customers turn to social media and omni-channel supply.

Customers are turning to social media to seek answers and there is a drive towards omni-channel supply models according to new research.

Although most US customers are still accessing customer service by phone, recent research from Forrester has found that Twitter is the fastest growing channel for seeking advice or answers to queries.

With more than 4.5 billion people using social networks, understanding customers’ communication channel preferences is now vital, particularly given the speed of change and the increasingly number of channels available. Meeting these demands then requires agility and flexibility.

This is echoed in a recent report in Australia by Fifth Quadrant which has highlighted two mismatches between organisations and their customers:

  1. The choice of social media used by organisations and businesses and those used by their customers - Twitter is the least popular with customers but is used by more than three quarters of Australian organisations and businesses.
  2. Businesses are using social media for customer service while customers are slow to use it for their own benefit.

Meanwhile, a new report from supply-chain consultants LCP, indicates that non-food retailers are set to invest around £5bn in the UK alone in developing omni-channel suppy chains.  More importantly, the US and UK-based research stated that a move to omni provided - and required - the opportunity for a significant re-engineering of entire business operating models.

A deeper understanding of the customer was emphasised here too.  While many businesses continue to pursue speed of fulfilment, some of those questioned stated customers actually put convenience and consistency of service ahead of delivery speed.