Rapid growth in use of social media for customer service by Chinese consumers

Rapid growth in use of social media for customer service by Chinese consumers

The use of social media for customer service by Chinese consumers has almost doubled in the last two years, as more and more turn to it as a viable alternative to the phone, research from Ovum has revealed.

According to a survey* by the independent telecoms analyst, 30 per cent of Chinese consumers get in touch with customer service via social media to find an answer to their queries, up from just 17 per cent two years ago.

In addition, the number of Chinese consumers seeking advice from customer service representatives via web chat and web self-service channels has increased significantly.

Two years ago less than 20 per cent of consumers used web chat or web self-service to find information, whereas today more than 60 per cent are using these channels. In fact, web chat and web self-service are the second most widely used channels today among Chinese consumers, with the most popular option being a direct call with a customer service representative.

Aphrodite Brinsmead, Ovum analyst and author of a new report** unveiling the research findings, commented: “We expect the use of social media for customer service will quickly catch up with web chat and web self-service channels. The number of Chinese consumers using social media for customer service today is already significantly higher than in the UK and US.

“In emerging contact center markets such as China, consumers are keen to experiment with new forms of media. Contact centers must evolve with their customers, providing information via the web and responding to social queries on forums to ensure that customers receive accurate product and service information.”

Ovum’s survey found that the most popular uses of social media by Chinese consumers for customer service are discussion boards and forums. Out of those respondents using social media for customer service, more than 50 per cent said they had started a discussion about a company in a forum while almost 50 per cent said they had responded to someone’s question. Meanwhile almost 50 per cent have used social media as a channel to complain about bad service or a faulty product.

However, despite the high number of Chinese consumers using social media and a rapidly evolving web culture, Ovum’s survey revealed that respondents still view a telephone call with a customer service representative as the best method when it comes to resolving an issue on the first attempt.

Brinsmead concluded: “Contact centers need to improve information across social media, blogs and forums so that customers are able to find answers to questions faster and with reduced effort.”

–ENDS—

NOTES TO EDITORS

*Ovum conducted a survey of Chinese consumers from November 2010 to January 2011 to gauge their attitudes on changes in customer service, frustrations with contact centers, channel preferences and social media usage.

**Consumer Preferences in Customer Service: China

The report is part of Ovum’s signature research portfolio for 2011, which represents the premium content produced by Ovum analysts.

To arrange an interview or for further details regarding this release please contact  Kelly Livesey in the Ovum press office on +44 (0)161 238 4081, or email kelly.livesey@ovum.com

ABOUT OVUM

Ovum provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Our research draws upon over 400,000 interviews a year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and our clients unparalleled insight not only into business requirements but also the technology that organisations must support. Ovum is part of the Informa Group.