Business owners should be using social media as a way to address customer service issues. In many ways, this isn’t just a suggestion, but a necessity. The reason that businesses respond to customer issues by phone, letter, email or website inquiries is not that it’s easier for them, but that it’s easier for the customer. Without even considering the data on the issue, it’s clear that if people are asking questions on social media, business owners and marketers should be answering questions on social media. But intuition aside, there is also plenty of data that shows why business owners should use their social media channel to address customer service issues. This post will explore some of this data and how business owners can use it to improve their social media customer service tactics.
The first thing that needs to be settled is the fact that people want to converse with companies about customer service issues on social media. Here are a few facts to consider:
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study, consumers 18 to 29 years old are more likely to use a brand’s social media site for customer service interactions (43 percent) than for marketing (23 percent).
Nielsen reported that 1 in 3 users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
American Express noted that consumers “tell significantly more people about their service experiences, and say they’d spend 21 percent more with companies who deliver great service – compared to 13 percent on average”.
The largest brands on social media also use their channel to handle customer service issues. When SocialBakers did a study of the top social media brands in mid 2012, they found that the brands with the highest number of followers also did the best in answering questions. For example, KLM had 1.5 million fans at the time. Though more than 2,800 questions were posted to their wall over a period of time, they answered 94 percent of them. Nike, Redbox, T-Mobile and other large international companies all had rates around 85 percent. Answering all these questions clearly cost the company resources (someone was paid to spend time reading and responding), but it’s worth it to grow their brands.
Using social media for customer service is relatively easy. There are three simple steps:
Set the Facebook settings so the business’s wall is open to questions and feedback from your fans. Use the content filter to block bad language, links, or images if necessary.
Respond to at least 65% of questions. Remember, some comments will be redundant on the same thread and there will be some cases where you may choose not to respond to a comment/question. For example, some people will ask questions about pricing that a business can’t answer for various reasons.
Respond in time. According to data from NM Incite, 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of customers who do not receive a response.
In the end, the important thing to remember is that people are using social media as one of their primary ways to communicate with just about everyone on the planet. People would write their parents on Facebook before they would put a letter in the mail, so there’s no reason why business owners should expect to be treated any differently.
The data shows that people want to communicate with businesses through social media, so business owners and marketers need to be up to the challenge. Being able to engage with people on their platform of choice in a timely fashion is always the way to go. Remember, not responding to customer service issues on social media doesn’t make them go away. The consumer is just getting angrier as they prepare to try another method of contacting the business or they’re heading to a review site to leave a bad mark against the company. Be ready to use social media in this fashion helps businesses improve their rapport with their customers and prevents the negative effects of poor customer service.