Sector RoadMap: Social customer service in 2013

1Executive Summary

“Social customer service” refers to those services that provide customer support via social media channels. From an organization’s home website to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or other internet-based locations, social customer service meets customers where they spend time and where they increasingly want to be met and served.

Providing such services is no longer merely a niche or specialty sideline. Rather, it is becoming a major — often preferred — and transformative means for organizations to support and interact with their customers. Challengers, or disruptors who were early with the new technology, are working to expand and integrate their offerings into enterprise systems and processes. Meanwhile the leading enterprise application providers, or the disrupted, are moving to acquire, develop, and integrate social customer service into their core applications.

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Source: GigaOM Research, April 2013

Key highlights from this Sector RoadmapTM include:

  • Vendors and users in the market must consider factors driving the market for social customer service. With that in mind, we look at six disruption vectors whereby vendors will compete and differentiate themselves in the market: social media data, social media tools, cloud, mobility, big data analytics, and integration.
  • Because social customer service must be integrated at multiple levels through an organization, integration will be the single most important vector affecting the market over the next two to three years.
  • Leading customer relationship management (CRM) software vendors are responding to the market challenge. Oracle, Microsoft, and SAP are leading providers of enterprise CRM applications. Meanwhile Salesforce.com, Kana Software, and Lithium Technologies are examples of various types of challengers in the market.
  • The level of integration between social and traditional customer service is so great that we expect the two to be fully merged, with the exception of a few vendors with specialty niches, over the next few years. We expect the disruption vectors discussed here to maintain importance in the largely merged market.
  • Likewise, as will be seen, the interplay among leading vendors and market disruptors — whether via acquisition, alliance, or emulation — is also a major part of maturation in the sector.
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Laura Stuart

Analyst Independent Industry Research

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