From our analysis, it is clear that 2014 was the year that social customer service grew up. The increases in the number of customers using social media as their primary customer service channel was matched by company uptake, with many implementing more established and integrated social customer service strategies.

With 55 percent of respondents saying that the C-suite now values social customer service, it is clear that companies are waking up to its company wide impact. And with 43 percent of companies saying their customers now expect seamless issue resolution whatever the channel, room for error is minimal. All this means is that companies must now make social a core customer service offering that is efficient and scalable.

So with this in mind, here are my five top tips for what companies need to change to really adopt a Social First approach to customer service:

1. Integrate social customer service into your contact center

2015 should be the year that social media moves firmly into the contact center. We saw signs of this in 2014, with brands acknowledging the importance of having social savvy contact centers; this year we should see an even stronger movement in this direction. Therefore integrating with popular systems to exchange information in a multi-channel support environment is essential for any forward thinking business. Focus on case management, CRM, and contact center ‘stacks’ as a starting point.

2. Get social customer service buy-in from your CTO

The transition of communication from private to public channels makes social customer service fundamentally different from traditional customer service. Systems built for the old paradigm of one email chain, one customer, and one ticket do not work when a conversation can pass seamlessly between private and public. Therefore having your CTO involved in technology implementation is paramount.

3. Build a single view of your social customer

For years, all online identification mechanisms were not only completely separate from real identity, but were also unconnected to each other. Because of this, companies have been struggling to obtain a ‘single view’ of the customer for decades. Building a social identity has the potential to tie all of these details together. If you can tie the data together–not just between customer service channels, but at all points your business touches a customer–it gives the ability to deliver completely personalized service. Consumers expect a joined up seamless interaction, therefore this should be a key consideration for brands going into 2015.

4. Staff and train your social customer service team accordingly

The dangers of messing up a customer service conversation in a viral medium means that the training and processes for agents need to be very different from traditional customer service. The potential for negative impact from service being below consumer expectations is just too high. A clear focus on agent training will help eradicate this as a potential problem area.

5. Use social customer service data to deliver actionable business insight

Social customer service delivers a wealth of data that gives real insight into your business ecosystem. Make it easy for your customer service team to drill down on metrics and see the underlying data for informed decision making.

Social customer service comes into its own when meaningful, two-way dialogue takes place between brands and their customers. With brands clamoring for market share in saturated, consumer driven markets, delivering great customer service in public arenas like Facebook and Twitter offers a clear differentiator to build a competitive advantage.

Read more: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner: It’s Time for Social Customer Service to Shine