How To Evaluate The ROI Of Social Customer Service

Last Updated: 13.11.2017 11:56

A traditional understanding of ROI analysis is related to profit. However, when it comes to social media, not every brand is making financial transactions there. Companies can use social media primarily for providing customer service. The latter is the case you’re focusing on ROI of customer service and ROI of influencer marketing, which means you’re focusing on saving instead of earning.

In order to draw a clear picture, let’s split an assessment of the ROI analysis process into three steps.

Setting Clear Objectives

Considering that customer service process is quite broad, you need to break it down into objectives. This way your staff or colleagues will know the priorities and, as a result, will focus on the right tasks. Otherwise, the absence of clear objectives can cause a lot of misunderstanding among your customer service staff as well as influencer marketing issues. You need to take care of your influencers and treat them like members of your team.

The objectives can be of the following:

  • Setting a customer satisfaction rate that has to be reached each month;
  • First response time should be minimized to a certain time limit;
  • Standards for customer handling time should be set and improved;
  • Minimizing a number of inbound tasks which a customer agent is handling;
  • Receiving and handling the incoming requests from other channels of communication;
  • Setting a number of customers that can be served simultaneously by one person.

Certainly, a success of every objective needs to be measured. Therefore, it would be worthwhile using metrics.

Although customer satisfaction is the final result of the entire business, handling customer requests in social media in such a way, that they will not be forwarded to other more costly channels, such as phone and email, would be the biggest objective. This is where the calculation of ROI of customer service becomes very useful.

Gathering Key Data Points

In order to have a clear understanding of how much social customer service is saving, you will need to collect key data points.

  • The number of successfully resolved inquiries on social media must be tracked and recorded. You can use services that can track every inbound and outbound message.
  • The average cost of resolving an inquiry via live chat, email, or phone. In order to understand how much money social customer service can save your business, you need to know the average cost of handing a customer from this and other channels too. This way you will have a clear picture and will be able to compare.
  • How much your social customer service costs? You also need to know how much the tools, software, staff, metrics and everything you use to provide customer service in the social media costs your business. This number should also include an advertising and content marketing budgets.
  • Do your influencers help you answer the questions of your customers too? If they consider them your team members, they would help a lot. In fact, using influencers in customer service is a very wise idea.

Calculating ROI

Whenever you measure a performance, you need to be consistent in terms of a time period analyzed. Calculating ROI is not an exception. You can analyze it monthly or annually for example.

For instance, if you try to compare two-month period versus 6 weeks, the results will be inadequate. They will lead to wrong judgments about your staff and colleagues. The consequences of the incorrect judgments can lead to influencer marketing issues too.

In order to complete this task correctly, you will need the following:

• The number of resolved inquiries on social media (A);
• The cost of a successfully resolved inquiry over an alternative channel, such as phone, email, or live chat (B);
• The cost of a request resolved via social media channels (C).

By multiplying the number of requests resolved on social media by the cost of a request resolved over an alternative channel, you will get the number of expenses to compare to. Let’s call it D.


Afterwards, you need to multiply the number of requests by the average cost of a request resolved on social media. Let’s call this number E.


And now, finally, you can compare a numbers D and E in order to understand whether your social customer service is really saving you money.

This is, certainly, just an example of how you can find out the value of ‘social team’ efforts. Also, if you are using influencers in marketing to handle users’ requests, this formula will help you too.

A Framework For Evaluating The ROI

Answers to the following questions will help you evaluate the ROI of customer service.

  1. Why are you investing in social media?
  2. Are your objectives correlated to the larger business results?
  3. What milestones are set for your business?
  4. How would you know that you achieved your goals? When are you planning to reach your goals?
  5. What metrics show in regards to achieving your goals and objectives?
  6. What actionable insights does your analysis present?


It’s understandable that customer satisfaction leads to repeated sales. However, every business should choose the tools wisely and in case one tool makes a greater loss over a certain period, it’s the time to find an alternative tool. This is why calculating ROI for social media channels is important in influencer marketing today.




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Kate Nut
++ Editor