Social media channels are more than just a place to connect with friends and family. Social media channels also provide a platform for potential and existing customers to reach out to brands to get help when they have questions or concerns. Whether we like it or not, social media is a customer service channel.
Here are eight reasons why social media customer service is important:
1. Consumers Expect a Quick Response
Social media is the new 1-800 helpline. A whopping 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service. And when they do, they expect a fast response. In fact, 42% of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes. Millennials have even higher expectations for response times, 25% expect companies to respond in as little as 10 minutes. So, how’s your social media customer service?
2. Consumers Want to Connect With You
Billions of people are spending their time on social media each month. As of right now, there are over 2.32 billion monthly active users on Facebook. Instagram has grown to over 1 billion. Twitter has more than 326 million monthly active users. And Snapchat has more than 300 million. That’s a lot of potential for creating an elevated customer experience.
3. Win New Fans
Customers want to know that you are listening. By listening, it makes them feel like their patronage is a top priority, and listening to your audience can convert followers into brand advocates. 75% of consumers say they are more likely to post something positive about a brand that makes a meaningful connection with them on social media. 71% of consumers who experience positive social media customer service are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared with just 19% of those who do not.
4. Increase Customer Loyalty
Your social media management duties don’t end once you’ve published a post or tweet, now it’s time to engage with the people who show interest in your content. ‘Like’ their comments. Reply to them. Interacting with your audience is a two-way street, so be sure to monitor what people are saying about you on their personal accounts, too. It doesn’t matter if the “Like” button is shaped like a thumbs up or a heart, customers feel good when brands validate them, and it leaves them wanting more. When someone likes something you post on social media, your brain’s pleasure chemical, dopamine, is released. The surge of dopamine can be so strong, studies show that tweeting is harder for people to resist than cigarettes and alcohol.
5. Engage, Engage, Engage
When businesses respond to consumers, it makes a big impact, especially now that social media has evolved to word-of-mouth advertising. A satisfied (or unsatisfied) customer might tell two or three people about their experience, reaching hundreds of others online. Not sure when or how often to engage? According to a consumer study, 64% of customers believe companies should respond if they’re being directly addressed. 58% believe companies should only respond to complaints. 48% believe companies should listen to improve services and products. 42% expect brands to respond to positive comments (these folks want companies to join their conversation if they are saying nice things about them).
6 …Especially With Millenials
Brands that invest in creating a culture for customer service on social media will have an easier way of reaching millennials on the platforms that they already dominate. By engaging with millennials on their platforms, on their terms, brands can prepare younger customers to become long-term customers. In fact, Millennials bring a huge opportunity for businesses to grow. They have $200 billion in spending power and over $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers. Ignoring Millennials would be a big mistake … BIG … HUGE!
7. Your Customers Are Already Engaging
In today’s digital world, if your business is not a part of the social conversation, you will be left behind. Customers have the power to steer the conversation about your brand in the wrong direction if you’re not at the table to moderate. Whether you’re ready for it or not, many of your customers are already engaging with you over social media. And this trend will only continue; Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90% of companies will be using social media for customer service. If you don’t already have one person, or a team, specifically dedicated to managing your social media, it may be time to rethink your digital strategy.
8. Reduce Churn
It’s cheaper and easier to retain customers than it is to attract new ones, which is why it’s more important than ever to engage with your current customers on social media. Brands who develop a strategic approach to social media customer service retain 92% of customers. This is because when brands have an active social media presence and customer support system, they can help resolve issues and affirm the needs of customers in a very timely manner.
Your customers are valuable. Don’t let their thoughts go into a black hole.
The negative effects of poor response time or a lack of engagement for social media customer service are real. Don’t believe me? These numbers from Sprout Social speak for themselves – 36% of customers will shame you publicly, and 1 in 3 will switch to a competitor.
This blog was part two in a customer service series. To read part one, click here.