Request Information

Request Information

or Call 1.877.459.4347

Omnichannel Part 6: The Role of Social Media in Omnichannel

The Role of Social Media in Omnichannel
September 26, 2018 / Evolve IP


The rise of social media as a customer service channel has often been de facto, in that customers have actively sought out the company’s Facebook page or Twitter account to communicate with it, even if the company originally had a social media presence only to disseminate information. For the foreseeable future, ContactBabel expects social media to remain a relatively minor channel in terms of overall number of interactions compared to telephony, but one with the potential to be strongly negative – to punch well above its weight – and many senior executives within most companies are treating the channel with a great deal of respect.

Despite the relatively low levels of customer interactions via social media, the high-profile nature of this channel and the possible magnifying effects of negative comments means that social media is viewed as being far more important than baseline interaction statistics would suggest. Some savvy customers, knowing that their public complaint or issue will be dealt with quickly, prefer to go straight to a social media channel rather than wait in a telephone queue. Others might choose the social channel after they’ve had a bad experience on another channel, such as waiting on hold for a phone agent.

Uniquely, social media has taken off as a customer service channel as a result of customer demand, rather than businesses’ enthusiasm for promoting a cheaper service channel. For some customers, social media can provide a very positive experience with a very low pain point, and at virtually no cost of time or money: the customer complains, loudly and in public, so the business reacts quickly and effectively.

For the customer, this is great: it is the business for whom the popular methods of social media handling are not optimal: not only do they have to carry out their business in public, reacting quickly and without being able to authenticate the customer’s identity, but they often cannot handle the query without resorting to another channel such as phone or email, which provide more privacy and functionality. In such cases, they are not even seen by the outside world to be reacting quickly and effectively or to have solved the problem. Both customers and companies are finding out what works with social media and what does not. Crucially, as with any channel, success will only come when a channel delivers a successful experience for both sides of the equation.


The role of social media, and how it is managed, is heavily influenced by who holds the budget. For the majority of respondents, it has been the marketing department that held the money for social media, with the customer contact department only responsible for this channel’s investment and finances in a small minority of cases. As social media continues its move away from being primarily a marketing channel towards being a key part of the customer contact mix, it makes sense for the contact center and customer support operation to take more responsibility for the strategy and budget of this channel, and there is some evidence of this now happening.

The evidence that the social media channel was originally set-up as a marketing route rather than as customer service support can be seen in this section. Despite the increasing numbers of customers choosing to use social media for customer support, 37% of respondents report that social media is handled by an in-house team based outside the contact center, usually marketing, PR or corporate communications, with 2% letting an outsourcer handle it.

46% of respondents reported that they have a dedicated social media team working within the contact center, and a minority have a dedicated multichannel team working within the contact center location, may or may not answer telephone calls as well (NB multiple choices were allowed, so totals may add up to more than 100%).

However, these figures show a movement away from the original marketing-led nature of social media, as this is the first year that more respondents have stated that the contact center ‘owns’ social media, rather than the marketing department.

The propensity for customers to complain on social media is actually seen by many businesses to be helpful: 69% of respondents that offer social media as a customer service channel consider it to be extremely useful for acting directly on negative comments and complaints picked up from customers.

Of concern for both businesses and customers, there seems to be very mixed opinions on whether social media is actually providing customers with a fully-supported customer service channel. While 29% feel strongly that they are doing so, 17% feel that they are not.

Social media is not felt to be supporting the business to learn more about its competitors: it may be that businesses are focusing their efforts upon learning what their customers are saying about their own products and services, rather than worrying too much about the competition.

There is some debate about the best way to handle social media inquiries. While it is possible for requests via social media to be analyzed (often by keyword spotting), prioritized and then routed to the agent team most capable of dealing with these specific inquiries, it is not just the same as a phone call or web chat. A quick response is expected, with the attendant pressure that such a service level places upon the organization, but social media does not exist within the same one-to-one paradigm as other customer service channels.

Target response times for handling a social media customer service request are somewhere between a phone call/web chat on the one hand and an email on the other.

44% of respondents try to answer within the hour, but 30% state that they will probably take longer than an hour and 14% don’t have any target at all. While there is room for improvement, these targets are certainly improving each year.

Looking at how social media plays a part in the omnichannel customer experience, 41% of respondents offering service via social media will put the interaction into the customer’s file as if they’d made a phone call, with analysis of the interaction being undertaken by 27% of respondents to ascertain whether the insight can be fed into the wider business processes.

27% of respondents state that they can escalate this to a phone call if required (note as well the high level of email escalations, suggesting that phone calls are still the ‘go-to’ channel). Only 9% of respondents state that they take customers through security (probably via direct messages).

This low figure for security checking should be viewed in context with the higher figures for those who say they add social media interactions to customer records: it would be imagined that before the customer record is opened and amended, security and identification processes would have been completed, so these findings are a little contradictory as they stand.

Tips on providing customer service via social media

  • Despite the pressure that social media puts into a business, younger generations are the most likely to express a preference for communicating with businesses in this way. They are also more likely to complain about problems on social media, so supporting a social media customer care plan is vital to winning and keeping this section of your customer
  • Social media does not have to refer only to the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Customers are growing increasingly more sophisticated at seeking out help themselves, with many preferring to attempt to find their own solution via customer communities before contacting a business, although this can be a very hit-or-miss
  • Be aware that age has a particularly strong role in the choice of customer communication channels. Generally speaking, older generations are more likely to choose the phone as their primary channel, whereas younger customers will look at digital
  • 80% of customers trust recommendations from other The downside to this, of course, is that customers will also take a negative criticism of a product or company very seriously.
  • By keeping a Twitter feed or Facebook page up-to-date, an organization can reduce inbound call traffic at a time when a particular issue is causing a spike of calls, for example, if bad weather threatens to close
  • Blending social media with other forms of customer communication can mean that agents get a more well-rounded view of what customers are actually thinking. Knowledge sharing between agents, especially where new information is put in a timely fashion into the knowledge base, will assist both agents and self-service
  • Just because the customer has initiated a social media interaction does not mean that a business has to stay on that channel to resolve it successfully. Customers may like to receive an outbound call from the agent, as this may provide the opportunity to go into further detail, and to resolve the issue

The Inner Circle Guide to Omnichannel

This survey report of over 1,000+ contact center professionals includes some interesting findings & trends around the omnichannel contact center market.


With Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp both having well over 1bn active users and Instagram over 800m, organizations should at least have a watching brief over these tools where customer contact is concerned.

The applications have the benefit of familiarity with customers, and businesses may wish to investigate including these types of interaction within their agents’ web chat screen. As many users live their lives permanently logged into these applications, there is an ease-of-use and ubiquity associated with them.

The applications allow historic records of interactions to be kept (which is not the case with all users of web chat), and there is a great advantage over social media such as Twitter and Facebook: messages are private, which not only allows customer identity verification but also will reduce the damage to a business through public negative messages. Unlike most web chat, these applications allow the sharing of images.

The familiarity of these applications will work in favor of agents as well as customers, which will reduce training time and cost. Businesses will also need to consider what is an acceptable service level for these channels: as detailed elsewhere the report, web chat is perhaps closest to the telephony channel’s service level target, whereas social media is more akin to email. Although Messenger/WhatsApp/Instagram are types of social media, they will be used as a web chat from the customer’s perspective and should be resourced according to similar expectations.

WhatsApp, especially, is often used as a closed, group-based application, and there may be pushback from segments of the customer community that do not currently associate the use of these applications with business communication. The challenge to businesses will be to persuade customers that letting them into their social circle is worth the effort.

Regardless of the familiarity that customers and agents have with new communication tools, channel hopping and the need for these various channels to work together (not siloed) in a unified omnichannel experience will continue to remain a large concern. Organizations must be aware of the customer’s intent and journey as more channels continue to become available.

About Evolve IP’s Contact Center: Your contact center is the lifeblood of your enterprise, so anything that you can do to improve agent results and customer experience is a major win for your business. Evolve IP’s Gartner recognized omnichannel contact center provides all of the features you need to run a world-class omnichannel contact center.

For more information on Evolve Contact Suite, please email us at or call us at 877.459.4347

Categories: Call Center
Recommended For You
The Evolve IP Compliance CloudTM

Compliance is a way to do business … not an afterthought when clients need it.

At Evolve IP we have a dedicated compliance and security practice and work with two of the world’s top 3rd-party compliance auditors, Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young, to enable customers to extend their compliance to our fully audited cloud. This focus allows us to deliver the documentation and assurances that other’s simply cannot including HIPAA / HITRUST, PCI-DSS (all 12 sections), SOC 2/3 and more. The Compliance CloudTM includes true client isolation, encryption in transit and at rest, private VLANs, firewalls and dozens of other security measures.

What Our Clients Say
  • "Yesterday was, perhaps, my busiest day of client interaction either by phone or email since I have been a PM, and I don’t think any of my clients knew I was working from home unless I told them. I was also able to do trades behind the scene and interact with my team. So, for me, the technology has been working great. As an old guy, I am constantly dazzled by technology in general, but being able to do this stuff from home is amazing!"

    James C. Hunter, CFA, CFP, AIF, Senior Portfolio Manager, Principal

  • "Hey, IT people, As I’m working away in my home office, I just wanted to say thanks to you for all you’re doing, and have done in the past, to make it possible for us to run our company virtually. Not many of us JICers have jobs that everyone in the firm sees and could stop us from doing business. But you have this job, and do it well. Thank you for having the foresight and wisdom to get us in a position to succeed in a pandemic! You’re awesome."

    Michael D. Barnes, Esq., CTFA President, Principal

  • “That’s the type of proposition I like to bring to a Board of Directors. When I can say, ‘we can get everything new, be completely redundant, it can meet all of our needs and oh, by the way, we are going to save over $300,000 a year.’ It makes it easy for me to sell!”

    - Ken Schultz, CIO Ogletree Deakins

    Watch Testimonial

  • "The people that Evolve IP are more personable; you don't feel like there's necessarily a script when you're talking with them, they’re easy to understand, quick to get a hold of, and they follow through on what they say they're going to do."

    Watch Testimonial

  • "Evolve IP has been a vendor partner that has grown with us, that has helped us, and that you know stands by us and stands by their word."

    Watch Testimonial

What the Experts Think

Our analyst-acclaimed solutions are built on a world-class, compliant architecture that leverages the blue-chip technologies organizations already know and trust.


We deploy best-of-breed solutions including: Disaster Recovery, Contact Center, Unified Communications, DaaS, IaaS. Our services are analyst-acclaimed, vendor-validated, client recommended and award-winning.


Evolve IP is proud to have achieved the honor of being HITRUST CSF certified! Certification to the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) affirms that all of Evolve IP’s cloud computing and cloud communications services adhere to the strictest security standards for electronic protected health information (PHI). The HITRUST security standard was developed by and for the healthcare industry as a means of going above and beyond the compliance requirements of HIPAA.

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed to address the multitude of security, privacy and regulatory challenges facing healthcare organizations. The HITRUST CSF was developed by healthcare and IT professionals to provide an efficient and prescriptive framework for managing the security requirements inherent in HIPAA. HITRUST CSF rationalizes healthcare-relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. An important part of the “What is HITRUST” answer is understanding that the CSF is risk-based and compliance-based so that organizations can tailor the security control baselines and vendor management programs that they follow based on their specific organization type, size, systems, and regulatory requirements.


The Privacy regulations of the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require health care providers, organizations, and their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI — paper, oral, and electronic, etc. Those who fail to adhere to HIPAA can suffer from huge fines climbing into the millions of dollars for major violations.

The Compliance Cloud™ fully enables covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA regulations to leverage a secure environment to process, maintain, and store protected health Information (PHI) featuring among other controls.

SSAW 16 Service Organization Control II (SOC 2)

Evolve IP has received an SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II report on our internal controls relating to how we assess and address the potential risks associated with the security, availability, and confidentiality of not only the cloud-based services that we provide, but also our physical and logical infrastructure. Evolve IP utilizes the Certified Public Accounting firm of Grant Thornton to perform its annual audit and attestation in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 and the associated Trust Services Principles, as published by the AICPA, to evaluate the effectiveness of Evolve IP’s service organizations controls.


While Forbes regularly features coverage and recognition about Evolve IP, they've most recently recognized Evolve IP as being the "Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2017".  They've ranked Evolve IP in the Top 3 just behind Google and Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure classification.  (Feb 2017). Forbes  also recently recognizes Evolve IP for bringing Singer Equipment Corporation, a mainstream business based in PA, into the cloud by means of unified communication. (Sept  2017). Last year, Forbes recognized Evolve IP's survey of 1,080 executives citing that the number one reason to go to the cloud is the same reason that it is avoided. (Mar 2016).

Unified Communications Product of the Year

TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine have named Evolve IP’s unified communications platform as a 2017 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award winner. This marks the 6th time Evolve IP has been honored with this prestigious award and follows a series of product innovations that have allowed the company to rapidly expand its international coverage.

Evolve IP’s business collaboration tools and IP phone system dramatically improve employee productivity in the office and on the road with a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform that fully integrates voice, video, instant messaging & presence (IM&P), desktop sharing, audio/web conferencing and more. The company also provides a sophisticated Web-based management portal, OSSmosis®, that allows administrators to easily configure system functions and quickly modify users without the need to reach out to a third party for changes.


Inc. magazine has recognized Evolve IP in the 34th annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive listing of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list will be unveiled in the September issue of Inc.

The story of this year's Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top," says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. "You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don't achieve that kind of success by accident.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Evolve IP has achieved Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance covering all 12 sections of the PCI DSS. The PCI data security standard is a comprehensive set of standards that require merchants and service providers that store, process, or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to strict information security controls and processes. It was created by the founding brands of the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes American Express, Discover Financial, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc.


Evolve IP is also a registered and participating member of the CSA Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR). The CSA was formed to encourage transparency of security practices within cloud providers. It is a free, publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings, thereby helping users assess the security of cloud providers they currently use or are considering contracting with. CSA STAR is open to all cloud providers, and allows them to submit assessment reports that document compliance to CSA published best practices. The searchable registry will allow potential cloud customers to review the security practices of providers, accelerating their due diligence and leading to higher quality procurement experiences. CSA STAR represents a major leap forward in industry transparency, encouraging providers to make security capabilities a market differentiator.

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM

Evolve IP has been ranked for the second consecutive year on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America – both public and private. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. The list is a veritable Who’s Who of technology that has included tech companies like Google, VMware and Facebook.

Technology Fast 500 provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, life sciences, and energy the companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth during the period from 2012 – 2016.

Red Herring

Red Herring has named Evolve IP as one of the Top 100 Companies in North America.  Red Herring’s Top 100 recognizes the leading and most promising private companies from around the world. Among the over 20 criteria used to analyze companies for the award, Evolve IP was noted for its financial performance, technological innovation, customer footprint, the DNA of its founders and addressable market.

Red Herring selects the award winners for North America from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these organizations and its editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.


Evolve IP has been recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” in Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index, a study involving a comprehensive analysis of private companies in America. Based on this study forged by Entrepreneur, Evolve IP is recognized as a company that exemplifies growth, not just in top and bottom line, but in sustainability and the ability to achieve lasting success.

According to Entrepreneur, after evaluating approximately 10,000 U.S. based firms, the team of editors and researchers behind the E360 Performance Index collected more than 250 pieces of data from the finalists, focusing on growth drivers and challenges, goal setting, resource allocations, and reward systems. The analysis uncovered a class of leading companies, including Evolve IP, whose continued success is largely based on superior value creation for their customers, building an adaptive learning culture, and aggressive geographic expansion—placing them amongst the most dynamic firms in America today.

Latest Press Releases

Evolve IP Named To The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service
November 16, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP today announced that Gartner has named it to the Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service*. Evolve IP’s omnichannel offering, which runs 30-40% less than comparable...
Evolve IP Appoints Pete Stevenson as CEO and Randal Thompson as CRO to Drive Next Phase of Growth
October 16, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP, a leading global provider of Work Anywhere™ solutions, today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has unanimously appointed board member Pete Stevenson as Chief Executive Officer....
Evolve IP Enhances Its Microsoft Teams and Cisco Voice Direct Routing Platform
September 22, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP announced that it has integrated SMS business messaging and voice recording with AI speech analytics into its Microsoft Teams direct routing platform.
Evolve IP Integrates Business Messaging Into Microsoft Teams; Enhances Microsoft’s Direct Routing Solution
September 17, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP® announced that it has launched a fully-integrated SMS / business messaging platform for its Microsoft Teams Direct Routing solution.
View More

Contact Us

or Call 1.877.459.4347