12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI

Posted on December 12, 2011 by Rob Petersen



Digital and social media are held to highly accountable standards when it comes to return on investment (ROI). For the last two years, Social Media Examiner reports the #1 question marketers ask about social media is “How do I measure social media return on investment?”

On this blog, we’ve highlighted over 100 case studies (see related posts at the bottom) and believe digital and social media demonstrate the proven principles of relationship marketing better than any other communication channel, particularly when it comes to customer service.

If there are people in your company who still need convincing, here are 12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI.

1. ACCOR: has over 4000 hotels in 90 countries and has to manage over 5000 comments each month on sites such as and The company wants to listen, learn and engage with what customers are saying about the Accor brand and approximately 12,000 competitors’ hotels so it can then establish dashboards to act on the data. Accor has found this type of customer service not only improves the company’s online reputation, it results in double-digit sales increases for key brands like Novotel.

2. ALASKA AIR: Is the first carrier in the world to let customers check-in from the internet and at self-service kiosks. Traditionally, weather delays and cancellation cause airlines to pull agents off inbound sales calls and handle affected customers. The result is many customers are not handled effectively or in time plus new bookings are lost. The internet provided a more time sensitive way to personally handle affected passengers without tying up sales staff. The result: Revenue and ROI increased because each customer costs 54 cents to re-ticket over the internet versus $1.60 on a live call; live agents can handle only 500 calls/hour while their web site can handle 20,000 calls/hour; just as important, not one negative comment occurred when the company made this switch.

3. AT&T: Has over 1.6 million fans on their Facebook page and a staff of 20 to engage, manage conversations and, when appropriate, encourage sales. The company trains and educates this team. Surveys show AT&T’s Facebook staff gets some of their best customer service ratings while also delivering some of the company’s highest sales per employees.

4. BEST BUY (Twelp Force): Gives employees the opportunity to help consumers on Twitter. Participation is voluntary and the community grows to 2,200 employees within 3 months. They respond to over 13,000 customers on Twitter answering questions, concerns, and opinions. The Twitter feed @twelpforce now counts over 40,000 followers and the number of questions averages 100-125 per day. It is considered a key value-add by customers and the company.

5. CARE ONE DEBT RELIEF SERVICES: Opens an online community on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in 2009 to help consumers with questions about debt relief, consolidation and budgeting. By going directly to social networks, there is no registration process and the company’s staff is able to give them a faster response. Lead generation is 179% higher, forms are completed 6X faster, customers make their first payment at a rate that was 7X better than non-social media customers.

6. COMCAST: Much has been written about @ComcastCares and the way Frank Eliason helped the company better handle the 3 million customer service calls (most unhappy) the company gets each year through blogs and Twitter with 3 simple words: Can I help? The company reviews 6000 blog posts and about 2000 Tweets each day to service more customers in a better and faster way than traditional inbound service. Here’s Frank explaining just what Comcast did.

7. DIRECTV: Has problems with churn among its 18.5 U.S. customers as more cable service develop a presence in satellite-based television. The best way to reduce churn is to increase customer satisfaction and one way to do it is optimize field technician routes for the 600,000 service calls received each day. DIRECTV implements Oracle GoldenGate to consolidate disparate data marts into a central warehouse. This improves the timeliness, granularity, and accuracy of customer and service data. It enables managers and more than 15,000 call center agents to conduct real-time data queries and analysis throughout the day—using dashboards, e-mail delivery, and end-user reporting tools—eliminating the reliance on outdated weekly or monthly reports.

8. FORD: The way we buy cars is changing. A 2011 survey of 2,485 consumers found that 28% visit websites five times or more during their car-buying process but only 11% visit dealerships that many times. Ford, in the UK, designs a multi-channel contact and lead management system based on its intelligentContact (iContact) platform. It manages every customer contact and increases agent efficiency by 25%. Where some calls used to take a minute to answer, now they are answered within 20 seconds.

9. H&R BLOCK: Tax preparation is a highly seasonal business.  H&R uses Facebook and Twitter to provide immediate access to a tax professional for Q&A in the “Get It Right” social media campaign.  The effort secures 1,500,000 unique visitors and answers 1,000,000 questions for a 15% lift in business versus the prior year when there was no social media “Get It Right” program. Here’s how Amy Worley explains how the company got it right.

10. LENOVA: Sees customers are talking about its products in third-party forums and is worried about being left out of these important conversations. Using a peer-to-peer support community in social media, Lenovo listens to customer experiences and establishes ownership of any problem. The results: 20% reduction in laptop support call rates, an increase in agent productivity, a shortened problem resolution cycle, and an increase in Net Promoter Scores…plus ideas from the community result in new product innovations.

11. MACY’S: Handles 130 orders every minute online from over 1,000,000 unique visitors every day. and link production to online orders and give access to 100 employees to optimize customer flow. For the first time, Macy’s experiences no downtime during holiday peak period and increases online sales +40% for December and 29% for the year.

12. SETON HALL UNIVERSITY: relies on tuition for revenue. They discover incoming freshmen are forming lasting impressions about colleges by reading a university’s Facebook page before they go to university’s website. Seton Hall gets actively involved in Facebook conversations to answers questions, participate in discussions and guide potential incoming freshmen. They tag the web traffic coming from Facebook to the website. Tuitions coming from Facebook are +18% and deposits are +25% than those who do not consult Facebook.

We’ve produced results like these for our client and have case studies of our own to share on the website. We’re proud of the results and ROI achieved and the demonstration these business principles work. We’d be glad to share what we see working so effectively in the marketplace for your brand.

Do these digital and social media case studies prove Customer Service ROI to you?

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2 to “12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI”

  1. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for putting together this post. Great content. I like how you included Seton Hall into the content. It’s rare to see how educational institutions are using SM.

  2. Rob Petersen says:

    Thanks Michel. Glad it was helpful. I too was glad to see educational institutions like Seton Hall using social media for better customer service. It shows how any category, even universities, that are willing to listen and learn are likely to see results. Thanks again for your input Michel.

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