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How Sophisticated is Your Social Customer Care? Reach the Next Level with the Social Maturity Index (SMI)

Jaclyn Fu
By Jaclyn Fu on May 5, 2016 4:18:25 PM


To deliver a #SocialFirst customer care strategy, there must be both investment and innovation. This first part of ‘Achieving Social Maturity’ Series introduces a model for measuring and evaluating social customer success, and a blueprint for achieving the next stage.

“We need to take our existing social customer service capability to the next level as customers and competitors evolve” - Martin Hill-Wilson

What is that next level?

Over the last seven years of helping hundreds of global companies make the necessary transformations to serve their social, mobile customers, we’ve concluded that there isn’t a consistent and structured industry standard to assess how brands are socially improving and maturing. Maturity should not be only reserved for massive brands that already have an established customer service machine. Smaller, up-and-coming brands can, and do have mature customer service on social as well.

Introducing the Conversocial Social Maturity Index (SMI): a tool to more effectively evaluate and benchmark social sophistication across companies of all sizes and industries. You can use this to map out your position on the maturity scale and develop an actionable blueprint to advance towards becoming a #SocialFirst™ brand. To get there, however, you must focus on achieving both investment and innovation. An imbalance between either of these axis leads to a customer experience on social that is lacking.

SMI2dot0-descriptions.pngHow does your company stack up and what steps can you take to move towards #SocialFirst? Take this free, interactive assessment.

The SMI recognizes that progress isn’t always linear. For example, at one point the social team might be ahead of the curve while the rest of the business catches up, and at another point in the journey there might be top-down pressure to do more on social. The ability to pull on the Investment or Innovation levers at different times takes into consideration that there isn’t one path to #SocialFirst.


Investment in social is indicated by a business-wide acceptance of social media as a powerful, growing, and valuable channel for customer engagement.

High Investment factors include:

  • Executive team visibility into social KPIs and contributions
  • A team of dedicated social agents resourced in relation to social volumes
  • A designated social engagement owner 
  • Best-in-class tools to deliver on each function 
  • Full adoption of #SocialFirst cultural practices, technology, and operations throughout the company

Challenges of winning Investment:

  • Inability to quantify and validate ROI
  • Not allocated as a company priority
  • Navigating internal politics and complex org structure
  • Lack of budget or no control of budget

Read Part 2 of 'Achieving Social Maturity': How to Get your Executives to Invest in Social Customer Service.


Innovation in social is measured by how deeply the business is embracing social media’s unique capabilities to provide extraordinary customer experiences.

High Innovation factors include:

  • A consistent tone-of-voice and ‘human’ approach delivered across all interactions
  • In-channel resolution on the customer’s channel of choice
  • Treating social as more than just a content distribution channel
  • Proactive engagement to ‘surprise & delight’
  • Adoption of the latest social networks to use as service channels (e.g Facebook Messenger, Instagram)

Challenges of delivering Innovation:

  • Resourcing
  • Lackluster technology integrations
  • Risk-averse culture
  • The ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality

Turning SMI insights into next steps

By establishing a clear point of reference, you can begin to develop an actionable plan to achieve your investment and innovation objectives. Working towards #SocialFirst customer care will enable you to:

  • Prove social ROI and quantify your team’s contributions
  • Engage stakeholders from different departments
  • Create more visibility at the executive level
  • Improve customer experience and brand affinity
  • Position the brand as a forward-thinking company

To begin your journey to social maturity, complete this free, interactive assessment to find out where you rank on the SMI.

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