Almost 3 in 5 businesses say that they are either unaware of how their primary supply chain vendors are using social media (35%) or that their partners are not using this channel to interact with customers like them (23%), finds IDG Research Services and Kemp Goldberg Partners (KGP) in an April 2012 report [pdf]. In fact, only 7% of the 150 business decision-makers surveyed said that they were very familiar with their vendor’s use of social media to interact with customers, with the remaining 35% saying they had a general understanding. Overall, only 4 in 10 respondents said they were using social media to interact with or follow their supply chain partners.
March 2012 findings from Nucleus Research suggest that vendors who are not using social media to interact with their customers may be missing out on a key opportunity: according to those survey results, social CRM makes sales people 11.8% more productive. 21% of social CRM users reported sales productivity improving by more than 20%, and a further 37% citing productivity gains of 10-20%.
Many Don’t See Benefits
The leading reason the IDG survey respondents are not leveraging social media for supply chain relationships is because they see no need to or no benefits from doing so (26%), while 13% say they have their own system of communications. 1 in 10 cited classification, confidentiality, or security issues as a reason for not using social media to interact with or follow their vendors.
And even if social media channels became available for use, 43% of those currently not leveraging social media to follow or interact with their partners say they would never do so. Just 7% said they would immediately take advantage of this opportunity.
Most Use Social Media to Stay Informed
Data from “Social CRM in the Supply Chain” indicates that the main reason that respondents are currently using social media sites and services to interact with or follow their supply chain partners is to stay on top of industry trends (62%), while 42% said they do so to keep informed about vendors’ offerings or to obtain information that will help them make decisions.
Engagement also scored well, with 45% of respondents currently using social media saying they do so for dialogue with experts or industry peers, and 43% to interact with other users in a community setting.
Social Media Use Drives Overall Vendor Satisfaction
Although many respondents not using social media to interact with their vendors say they perceive no real benefits from doing so, those who have adopted the channel feel differently. 60% said that social media interaction with their vendors has either greatly (20%) or somewhat (40%) fueled improvement in their relationships. These interactions have also at least somewhat improved customer service experience for 65%, feelings of brand loyalty for 63%, likelihood of purchase from 53%, and willingness to recommend for 68%.
About the Data: The IDG/KGP survey was conducted online between September 9, 2011 and October 10, 2011, and was completed by 150 business decision-makers with involvement in or responsibility for supply chain operations.