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Social Customer Service Isn’t Going Anywhere

There has been quite a bit of talk lately that social customer service isn’t going anywhere, and that some brands are beginning to phase out or give up on social monitoring and response, especially around customer care. In a new 2014 Social Media Marketing University study, when asked about the amount of time it takes to reply to customer complaints on social media, 21% of the marketing professionals surveyed responded that they rarely or never respond to social customer complaints.

Another Socialbakers social media survey across 82 countries and 20 industries asked marketers what social media goals were “very important to them” in 2014; 62% of the marketing professionals surveyed said customer acquisitions via social media was “very important,” while only 29% said the same about social customer care.

Build It and They Will Come

While marketing teams that typically own social media are just being honest in the surveys above that they would love to be able to use social media to promote to consumers without having them actually talk back or ask questions, this just isn’t going to happen in 2014. You can’t shut down the oncoming lanes of a superhighway that millions now use every day.

Forrester has deemed this the Age of the Customer. This is also the year Gartner predicted that refusing to communicate with customers via social media would be as harmful as ignoring emails or phone calls. They were right, as ignoring a single customer’s post or tweet can quickly draw a crowd or create a PR nightmare that many brands have learned the hard way.

Ignoring customers on a major communication channel also goes against the biggest trends and best practices that separate today’s business leaders from the laggards, including supporting customers on the channel of their convenience, digital transformation, and focusing on customer-centricity across every department. And hey, it is called social media.

Ignore Them, But They Won’t Go Away

Social customers and consumers are not going away, and if fact, they’re becoming more and more involved with using social media as a customer service, feedback, brand conversation and advocacy tool. Before considering shutting down a lane that consumers see as a two-way street, consider these statistics:

  • The number of questions asked on brand pages on Facebook has increased by 85% over the last year, and that percentage is even higher for Twitter. (Socialbakers)
  • Consumers 18 to 29-years-old are more likely to use a brand’s social media site for customer service interactions (43%) than for marketing (23%). (J.D. Power and Associates Social Media Benchmark Study)
  • Customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with companies who engage and respond to social media customer service requests. (Bain & Company)
  • 71% of those who experience positive social care experience are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19 percent of customers that do not receive a response (NM Incite)
  • 57% of consumers think brands’ response times on social media should be the same during weekends/weeknights as they are during business hours. (Social Habit)
  • 72% of consumers say that if they post a customer service question/complaint (specifically) on Twitter, they expect a response within 1 hour. (Lithium)

It’s true, social customer service isn’t going anywhere. In the Age of the Customer, it’s here to stay. Let’s make it work.

New E-book Offers Social Customer Service Best Practices

 A recently-released e-book by Microsoft Dynamics CRM discusses the growing need for customer service on social media and provides best practices from thought leaders representing some of the world’s best-known brands including LinkedIn, the Altimeter Group and HootSuite and more.

From getting started with social listening for customer service to pulling all-important social customer feedback, this is a valuable read and resource.