You'd probably agree that nearly every product and service should have an excellent customer support infrastructure in place. That infrastructure should guarantee a positive post-sales experience, which is the goal of any support team out there. The repercussions of bad service have a greater effect on sales and revenue than most think - a company is more than 50 percent likely to lose a customer if they experience poor customer service (source), and attracting a new customer can cost up to five times as much as keeping an existing one (Social Annex - Customer Retention in 2017).
It's also apparent that in recent years many companies have begun to consider social media as a key channel in the customer experience. Here's some facts to back this up:
- Customer service interactions over Twitter have increased 250 percent in the last two years. (Source)
- Most customers (54.4 percent) prefer social messaging channels, such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and WhatsApp, as their primary method of communication with brands over legacy channels such as email, phone, and web chat. (Source)
- Between 2010 and 2014, contact centers' adoption of social media grew more than four-fold (2010: 12% and 2014: 58%) according to an Aberdeen study.
Unfortunately, it's sometimes hard for companies to pinpoint exactly why the channel is needed in their support channel mix. Measuring the Return of Investment (ROI) can be even more difficult, as there's no standard industry metric of calculating the value of a social media customer (yet). Luckily we've passed the era of "Should we offer social media support?" and are now asking "How can we offer social media support?" It's less about doing the expected, but rather taking advantage of the opportunities. To prove this, I've gathered some key stats about why social customer service is invaluable to your brand:
1. Customer Retention
The cost of a new customer can be up to five times as much as retaining a current one. (Source)
It's human nature to stick with what you know. You're more likely to find me drinking my Starbucks soy latte than risking my caffeine fix with a potentially weird-tasting unicorn frappuccino, and perhaps you can relate. That's why, for companies, customer retention should always take precedence over customer acquisition strategies. Those who have tried your products or services and know their quality are way more likely to stick around for your next release, than someone who's already invested in your competition. Don't get me wrong - you shouldn't forget about finding new customers! But don't put your loyal following on the back burner just because they're with you for the long run. In fact, 67 percent of consumers list bad customer experience as one of the primary reasons for churning (source), so your company should be heavily invested in making the customer experience as optimal as possible for your loyal followers.
A good chunk of your customers are on social media looking to engage with you (34 percent of Facebook users in the U.S. use it to follow brands, according to McKinsey & Company's "iConsumers: Life Online" report), so you need to make sure social media is part of your communication mix, whether it's for community engagement, customer support, or purely sales communication. The best way to retain customers is to be there for them when they want to talk to you. After all, 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay up to 25 percent more for a better customer experience (source) - who could say no to that?
2. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
The trust you have with your customers will never exceed the trust they have with their friends.
Have you ever Googled a product or service before purchasing to check out what the rest of the world is saying about it? You're not alone; 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase, and 58 percent of customers are leaving more and more reviews online in the past five years, so it's no question that you're likely to receive a few reviews in your company's lifetime that will catch your customers' attention. (Source)
What does this have to do with social customer service? If your customers are complaining publicly on your Facebook page or leaving a one-star Amazon review about your product, it will most definitely show up in Google results, perhaps even on the first page. You don't want to risk letting a complaint go unresolved, because that one little complaint can reach hundreds or thousands of potential customers.
If you're really good at communicating with customers online, the benefits outweigh the potential costs. Eighty-two percent of customers who have a good support experience on Twitter with a company are likely to recommend a brand based on their interaction. Additionally, 80 percent of Americans seek recommendations from their friends and family before purchasing, so it's clear that the value of providing a good customer experience online can significantly boost your marketing efforts as well.
3. Crisis Management
Don't become the next big #hashtag.
The worst place for an angry customer to vent is social media. We've all seen poor customer experiences turn into the day's top news story because it was a trending topic on Twitter the night before, so avoiding these situations is crucial for any company. You can do so by putting in place a great social media team to take care of your customers when they need it, and avoid a complaint turning into a cataclysm.
Sometimes you just can't prevent a social media crisis: 59 percent of company executives have experienced a crisis in their current or previous businesses, and 65 percent believe that social media makes crises more difficult to manage. However, 55 percent also believe that social media makes it easier for a brand to recover after a crisis happens, so don't stay away from social for fear of what you might have to deal with. (Source)
4. Opportunity Awaits
Never underestimate the value of a link shared on social media leading to your online store.
ROI for social media is hard to measure. The good thing is, there are many creative methods to tracking the value of your social customer service, an important one being the amount of traffic you're diverting to your website for sales. The biggest opportunity to bring in a new customer is responding to pre-sales questions where a potential customer is seriously considering investing in your brand. Leaving these questions unanswered could result in a lost potential customer, and anyone else who saw the question, too!
Other opportunities that can be found using social media as a support channel include:
- Receiving valuable insight and ideas about your products or services
- Identifying key customers that can also act as advocates for your brand to their own set of followers
- Engaging with other relevant brands where a partnership presents value
- Showcasing excellent customer service publicly, considering that customers consider reduction of customer effort the most important factor in customer loyalty (Harvard Business Review)
- Replying to your negative product reviews to turn their experience around, since 26 percent of consumers believe businesses should be replying to reviews (Source)
If this isn't enough to convince you that social media customer service can be invaluable to a brand, check out our infographic on Social Media Customer Service and Why it Matters.
Interested in learning more about how social media care can benefit your company? Get in touch below, and one of our experts will reach out to you in the next 24 hours.