Customer Experience

The ROI of Social CX: Encouraging Signs Emerge

by Alan Joch

August 2015

Executives from large organizations, GM included, acknowledge that calculating the financial ROI of social business initiatives isn’t easy. With the help of Oracle Social Relationship Management Cloud Service, however, GM analyzed social’s role in generating sales leads and found direct links between social customer experience (CX) and financial returns.


General Motors

Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan

Industry: Automotive

Employees: 212,000

Revenue: US$155.9 billion in 2014

Oracle products: Oracle Social Relationship Management Cloud Service, Siebel Customer Relationship Management

Rebecca Harris

Global Head of the Social Center of Expertise

Length of tenure: 25 years

Education: BA, Saginaw Valley State University; MS in administration, Central Michigan University; PhD in organization communications, Wayne State University

Personal mantra: “It is important to stay curious and calm so you can hit the curveball when it is served up. If you continue to ask questions, listen, and be aware of what’s going on around you, your team can build an integrated foundation that gives them the opportunity to be creative and innovative to serve customers faster and more effectively. To do all this, you need the right team. You have to hire the right people, people who are willing to think differently, who can react to the curveball calmly, and who have can-do work ethics.”

General Motors

Launch the Slideshow

For example, when someone tweets an interest in buying a new vehicle or mentions that he or she has a lease coming to an end, GM’s social staff responds. So far in 2015, GM has responded to more than 15,000 such tweets, all of which the sales staff determined were viable leads via Twitter. The team followed up with offers to provide additional information. Five thousand people took GM up on the offers, which opened up direct conversations between the company and consumers.

From these engagements, about 35 percent of the potential customers considered GM’s invitation to test drive a vehicle at a local dealership. About 65 of those people actually got behind the wheel.

The bottom line: GM sold at least 22 vehicles to consumers who took one of those test drives.

“If we weren’t listening to customers, these sales may never have happened,” says Rebecca Harris, global head of the Social Center of Expertise at GM.

Action Items

Photography by Shutterstock