Newsflash: Social Media support is nothing new. More than 58 percent of businesses use social media as part of their customer care programs, so it's no longer considered an emerging channel as it was in the past.
My guess is that this isn't the first time you've found yourself looking into how to know if social media support should be your next move. It's a big task with a lot of risk that most people avoid having to manage entirely. But not offering customer support on social media can be way more painful than putting in the effort, so give yourself a pat on the back for stepping up to the plate to take a swing at it.
It's important to note that social media customer service is not the right move for all companies. Thirty-eight percent of internet users aged 65 and older aren't active on Facebook, which is the most popular social media site out there. Additionally, there's still 3.7 billion people that aren't online yet. Consider your customer demographics and whether they are even using social media, before starting to offer support on it. Check out our infographic about 2017 social media demographics if you need a head start!
Once you decide that your consumers are, in fact, actively using social media, it's important to consider that you might also need to prove to management that social media customer service is the right move. This can be a difficult task if you don't come armed with numbers and statistics, but luckily I've got you covered. Here's four reasons why social media support is a great decision:
1. Customers expect customer service on their preferred social media channels.
Over the last two years, Twitter has reported that customer service interactions have increased 250 percent on its platform (source). Think about it: if your company is sending out messages about your products and services on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, doesn't it make sense that the same customers receiving those messages would prefer to ask questions on that same channel? As these sites become larger and more popular, so will the amount of advertising by companies, so the natural reaction is increased customer support on the same sites. Actually, over half of respondents (54.4 percent) in Conversocial's State of Social Customer Service prefer social messaging channels, like Facebook Messenger and Twitter, compared to legacy channels (email, phone and web chat) to communicate with brands (source). Isn't that reason enough?
2. Social Customer Service is easy for customers.
Millennials and Post-Millennials are very rarely going to pick up their phone to dial an 800 customer service number. They might not even know what you're talking about. It doesn't stop there - nearly a third of internet users polled said that phone was the most frustrating customer service channel, according to Aspect research (source). Many choose social media because it's easier to use - in that study by Conversocial, everyone considered "Ease of Use" a key aspect of social customer service, 45 percent of whom said it was the most important aspect.
So why not just offer email support? Twitter and Facebook are 48 and 44 percent more accurate and faster at delivering customer service responses than email, as discovered in an Eptica 2016 study.
3. When customers are left unanswered or redirected to other channels.
Perhaps you've seen someone else get a reply to their question on a company's Facebook page and assume the same will happen for you, but it doesn't. This can be an especially frustrating disappointment. If you're going to be selective about who to reply to on social media, you'll probably run into a few upset customers.
In any case, you're better off replying. Answering a complaint on social media increases customer advocacy by up to 25 percent, according to Convince and Convert. Not only that, a single complaint about a customer experience posted in public can wipe out the effect of up to five positive customer comments. Talk about a buzzkill!
4. Offering support on social can result in natural growth of your social media sites.
Are you having some trouble picking up new customers through social media? Experiencing a lag in the performance of your social media content? One of the best ways to reach new customers is by communicating with your current ones - we know that newsfeeds are complex and not something we can spell out here in a single blog post, but we do know that you're likely to see what your best friends are doing on the site. By giving support and having a conversation with one of your customers on your public Facebook, you're likely to reach at least one other person. This could give the boost your brand needs to convince someone to purchase your goods and services. After all, two-thirds of consumers are willing to spend more for companies that provide excellent after-sales service. Thinking about using Twitter for customer support? If you're great at it, it could really pay off: 76 percent of customers who experience good customer service on Twitter are likely to recommend the brand based on their interaction.
In the end, the list of benefits that come from offering social media support outweigh the costs. With good planning and a great team in place, social media customer service can give your brand the boost in customer loyalty that it's looking for. So the question is, are you going to be part of the 90 percent of companies to use social media for customer service by 2020?