The era of social customer service is here, and consumers no longer have patience with companies that can’t keep up. Already in 2019, we’ve seen the death of major brands that couldn’t keep pace with the continuing digital business revolution, which highlights the urgency to implement digital customer service.
One of the biggest areas of weakness for companies when it comes to digital is the lack of social media customer service. Many companies are ignoring complaints about their products and services on social media entirely. Customer expectations for social customer service are high and getting higher.
So, what do your customers expect from excellent social customer service?
Customer expectations for social customer service
1. Respond to complaints or lose business.
88% of consumers who have a complaint ignored on social media say they are less likely to buy from that company in the future – proving that social customer care is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have.Customers are tired of feeling like they’re shouting their complaints into the void.They use social media because they want to be heard; ignoring complaints on social media makes it seem like you don’t care about listening to their problems.
2. Respond in an hour or less.
72% of consumers who complain to, or about a company on social media expect a response within an hour. When interacting with large companies especially, the expectation is there are dedicated customer support staff monitoring social media channels, and the social media channel is being treated the same as phone, in terms of priority.
3. Serve customers on multiple channels.
The average consumer uses 3+ communication channels to conduct customer service interactions. The days of customers having patience with calling on the phone to wait on hold for you to be available to serve them are gone? (Not exactly sure what is being said here?). Asynchronous text-based communication is often more convenient and lets consumers contact you on their own schedule.
The additional benefits of social customer care
Often the conversation around social customer service is that it is hard to measure social ROI. However, there is a lot of data to support the fact that social customer service delivers real, measurable benefits. Some of the primary benefits to companies that provide social customer care include:
1. Social listening can be a tremendous source of customer feedback
Social media monitoring can uncover a wealth of customer information and feedback when used properly. Deloitte’s 2017 Global Contact Center Survey showed that social listening can account for up to 45% of customer feedback, which makes it a valuable addition to surveys and voice call monitoring.
2. Customers who are engaged over social media spend more
Research shows that customers spend between 20 to 40% more with companies that engage with them through social media. This is because today’s consumer wants to feel a sense of connection with the companies they do business with, as well as feeling that a company values their business.
3. Social customer care reduces customer churn.
According to research by Gartner, failure to respond to customer engagements on social media can increase customer churn by 15%. Customers expect quick, friendly service when reaching out about a customer service issue over social media and are prepared to stop doing business with you if they don’t receive it.
4. Reduced customer churn boosts profitability because retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones.
It’s long been common knowledge that it is cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. Engaging with customers on social to reduce customer churn will in turn boost profits, because:
- It costs as much to attract 1 new customer as it does to retain 5 existing customers.
- Something as small as a 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by up to 25%.
- 9 out of 10 customers would prefer to message your business digitally.
- The most important factor in increasing customer loyalty is reducing customer effort.
5. Social customer care is more efficient and cost-effective for simple or routine inquiries.
Phone is going to be an important part of the customer service landscape for a long time to come – especially for high-complexity issues or for issues that require human empathy and understanding. However, for high-frequency / low-complexity interactions, social customer care greatly boosts agent efficiency because of the ability to handle multiple concurrent interactions.
The average digital agent can handle 2-3 interactions at a time, and a highly-skilled agent might handle as many as 5 concurrent interactions. This means that digital is a highly efficient customer support channel. By some estimates, it costs as much as 6 times more to solve a customer service issue over phone than over social.
6. Social customer care increases customer satisfaction.
Customers prefer customer support over social channels, and companies that engage customers over digital channels have NPS scores 2.9 times as high as their competitors. And while anecdotes certainly can’t substitute for data, the results of implementing social customer service can be dramatic. Canadian telecom giant Rogers Communication Inc. achieved a 65% increase in customer satisfaction and a 65% decrease in customer complaints after implementing social customer care.
7. Responding to customer complaints on social creates brand advocacy.
People hate it when companies ignore their complaints on social media, but they love it when their complaints are responded to. 69% of surveyed consumers who have posted negative tweets about brands say they felt more favorably about the brand when their complaint was responded to. Customers who receive responses to complaints on Twitter are also willing to spend up to 20% more with that company, and are 30% more likely to recommend that company to others.
8. Customers find social media less frustrating than phone.
One of the biggest reasons to connect with customers on social media is the simple reason that a growing number of consumers prefer social customer service to other channels:
- 1 in 3 social media users say social media is their preferred customer service channel.
- 54% of consumers prefer social customer care to phone or email.
- 32% of US respondents surveyed said phone is the customer service channel they find most frustrating. Only 6% of respondents said the same of Twitter, and only 5% identified Facebook as the most frustrating.
The benefits of social customer care, summarized
Do you have questions about improving your digital customer service? Contact us to speak with one of our digital engagement experts. Or book a demo to see our digital customer service platform in action.