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IBM Study: Social Media Will Become the #2 Customer Interaction Method in the Next 3 to 5 Years

A new IBM study of approximately 1,700 chief executive officers representing 64 countries and 18 industries shows that in the coming years, CEOs plan to shift from using email and phone as primary consumer communication vehicles to using social media to achieve better and closer connections with customers. Today, only 16% of CEOs are using social platforms to connect with their customers, but that percentage is predicted to grow to almost 60% within three to five years.

The 2012 Global CEO Study lists the current customer interaction method hierarchy as (1) face-to-face, (2) website, (3) channel partners, (4) call centers, (5) traditional media, (6) advisory groups and (7) social media. Within five years, however, the study predicts that social media will rise to the #2 spot, just behind face-to-face interactions, with traditional media moving to the bottom of the list.

Technology to Have Bigger Organizational Impact Than Economic Conditions
The IBM study found that a majority (71 percent) of global CEOs regard technology as the number one factor to impact an organization’s future over the next three years – considered to be a bigger change agent than shifting economic and market conditions.

Capturing data across multiple channels is another key concern identified by the study. An IBM press release notes, “Given the data explosion most organizations are facing, CEOs recognize the need for more sophisticated business analytics to mine the data being tracked online, on mobile phones and social media sites.

“The traditional approach to understanding customers better has been to consolidate and analyze transactions and activities from across the entire organization. However, to remain relevant, CEOs must piece together a more holistic view of the customer based on how he or she engages the rest of the world, not just their organization.”

To read more about the study and its key findings, click here.

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