Editor’s note: Terry Vavra and Douglas Pruden are senior partners at the consultancy Customer Experience Partners. Vavra is based in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at vavra@customerexperiencepartners.com. Pruden is based in Wilmington, N.C. He can be reached at pruden@customerexperiencepartners.com. 

Social media is a major force in marketing, from promotion to brand building and customer care. Sometimes the application is compatible with those objectives, other times it’s a forced fit. Earlier this year Goran Dautovic wrote an article that compiles a wealth of findings relevant to the issue of customer service, technology and customer satisfaction. Today, we want to dig in and share several factoids from the story. With that, we offer this discussion for your insight. 

One of the emerging trends in business management seems to be the broadening adoption of social media for numerous purposes. One of the most visible is customer service. According to a survey from Microsoft, "65% of customers aged 18-34 years feel social media platforms are an effective channel for customer service." However, age plays a role. Consumers over age 55 report a completely different response to social media platforms. Either through wisdom, experience or skepticism, 75% of them feel social media isn’t viable for customer service. Quite a difference!

But is this more than a digital divide? 

Should we conclude that the older audience's expectations are too high for social media platforms? (Though, since we’ve suffered through a lifetime of poor telephone-based customer service, that's hard to believe!) 

Younger audiences have grown up online and are more comfortable interacting through that medium than speaking to another human. Or is it simpler, as some younger folks might suggest, that the older generation is simply technologically challenged?

Providing acceptable customer service is becoming mor...