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Research conducted by Genesys, a provider of customer experience solutions, found that leading consumer-facing companies from across the globe shy away from listing social media as a means for customers to contact them.

More than half (55 per cent) of consumer-facing Fortune 500 businesses do not provide their Twitter handles on the “Contact Us” page of their websites, making it more difficult for customers to engage with them over social media networks. Additionally, despite the fact that Facebook has 900 million users across the world, only half of these businesses (51 per cent) provide a link to their Facebook page on the “Contact Us” section of the company web site.

These figures are supported by additional research recently conducted by Genesys in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit, involving 798 senior executives and board members of large multi-national and start-up companies in 69 countries.

Only 26 per cent believed that customer recommendations would have a positive effect and just 15 per cent believed that new communication channels could create brand ambassadors among their customers. The fear of customer criticism spreading quickly to others on social networking sites was a huge concern – some 40 per cent of respondents were primarily concerned about the potential effect of customer criticism. Main findings include

 

  • More than half of consumer-facing Fortune 500 Corporations suffer from social shyness with 55 per cent of consumer-facing corporations failing to list a Twitter handle on their “Contact Us” page, and 51 per cent failing to list a Facebook page.

  • 27 per cent of consumer-facing Fortune 500 corporations do not list social media channels on their website homepage.

  • 89 per cent of those same companies failed to list an e-mail address on their contact page. Instead, 83 per cent of companies include a contact form, often off-putting to consumers and seen as a “black-hole.”

  • 13 per cent of companies do not list a phone number on their “Contact Us” page.

The findings are based on Genesys analysis of consumer-facing Fortune 500 companies’ websites. Consumer-facing company websites were defined as those which a consumer would visit to obtain answers or assistance regarding a product or service.

“These findings are an indication that social media is still a very new phenomenon, but in fact, by overcoming this fear of customer criticism, you can inspire brand advocates,” explained Tom Eggemeier, head of Global Sales at Genesys.

 

“Many large consumer-facing companies are still struggling and not confident in their ability to deal with customer queries and complaints via social media. Consumer-facing companies need to resolve this disconnect by developing a customer service strategy that understands and integrates social media channels across every customer touch point, as part of a wider multichannel customer conversation.”

 

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