Originally via analyticisms.
Social media has always felt like a natural place for customer service because it’s heavily based on interactions. I once heard a presentation by NetApp, a data storage technology company, where they credited social media with saving them $300,000 on customer service costs.
The NetApp example shows that social media can be directly tied to some nice, healthy, CFO-friendly ROI calculations. You could, for instance, measure the decrease on a call center and correlate that with more people reaching out to your company on social media or other customers helping answers question through a forum.
While marketing attribution for social media is still a ‘work in progress’, customer service through social media is a much simpler area to start making ROI calculations.
The net-net benefit of all this is that social media offers BOTH a channel to offer some really great (and public, wink wink) customer service as well as the benefits of being able to measure the impact on lowering costs.