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The rise of social media customer care

Author's avatar By Carolanne Mangles 05 Dec, 2017
Essential Essential topic

Why social media customer care is important in retaining loyal customers and positive brand awareness

With all the noise and saturation of businesses and brands online vying for more clients and customers, there is one guaranteed thing that any smart digital marketer can do to stand above the noise to build and keep their network of buyers: social media customer care, or SMCC.

Although most business owners today are familiar with the concepts of digital marketing and customer relations management (CRM), the concept and successful application of SMCC isn’t quite as widespread. In light of ever-increasing volumes of competing brands getting online, the wiser business owners should be shifting their attention to reaching out to their customers when it matters the most, addressing their questions, problems, and concerns.

Social Media Customer Care (SMCC) vs. Customer Relations Management (CRM)

According to the information from this data sheet by UK Website Builder, brands send an average of 23 promotional messages for every 1 response they give to a customer or audience member. Meanwhile, 95% of customers who have a complaint will never be heard by the companies or brands they’re trying to reach out to. For every 100 people who demand more information about a product, service or brand, only about 13 of them will get a response.

For every 3 people who post a complaint on social media, 1 will be totally ignored. However, 80% of companies online are under the impression that they deliver exceptional social media customer service, while only 8% of their customers say that they agree.

What this tells us is that the techniques that businesses are using to handle their CRM aren’t exactly the techniques required to meet the demands of SMCC. While brand owners may believe that they provide exceptional customer service due to their CRM strategies, they may have it confused with the concept of SMCC, and that’s why they’re getting it wrong. CRM and SMCC are actually two different things, no matter how closely tied together they may be.

Social media customer care is the service of responding to the unique demands, queries, and problems of your customers via social media, instead of using traditional call centers and emails.

Customer service relations, on the other hand, tend to focus on a more general approach to maintaining customer loyalty via follow-up emails, customer discounts, and promotional messages. Most CRM strategies are not designed to meet enough of the unique information demands or customer complaints that a brand receives, even with a “ticketing” system for filing complaints.

Social Media is the new marketplace for all business

The truth is, even if a company has a website or call center to go to for customer concerns, social media is the place that everyone goes to when they want to connect. While a website is still important for your brand’s online presence, customers are on social media, and they expect you to be there, too.

In fact, 63% of customers actually expect companies to offer customer service via their social media channels, and 90% of social media users have already used social media as a way to communicate with a brand or business. In comparison to the channels that already exist to handle customer concerns, 34.5% of customers prefer social media; 24.7% prefer live chat, 19.4% prefer email, and 16.1% prefer toll-free phone service.

But the demand for social media customer care doesn’t end there. 1 in 3 social media users prefers using social media when reaching out to a brand or business for customer service. 31% of customers use social media to make pre-sale inquiries before a purchase or commitment. Of the customers who use social media to reach out to a brand or business, 42% expect a response within an hour of their post or message, while 32% expect a response within 30 minutes, and 11% expect a response immediately.

However, most businesses and brands are falling far behind customer expectations with an average response time of 5 whole hours. This is a problem because unhappy customers also turn to social media to let others know whether or not a brand is worth trusting. 47% of consumers in the 18-34 age group have used social media to complain about a company’s customer support. 12% of consumers in the 55+ age have done the same thing. Women are twice as likely than men to share details about a bad customer service experience online. In total, an average of 29% of all consumers gets on social media to warn others about a business’ or brand’s bad service.

SMCC can endear you to your customers

Aside from the fact that your customers are expecting you to be active on social media, there are a lot of strong arguments as to why you should be turning your attention to SMCC to boost your business. First of all, by hearing customers out on social media, brands build trust and rapport with their consumers and supporters. A person is 30% more likely to recommend a brand that has responded to them on social media. If the customer care experience is positive, 71% of consumers will tell their friends about the brand and recommend it.

In fact, simply answering a social media complaint can increase customer advocacy by 25%, and brand loyalty by a whopping 65%. Finally, just by resolving a negative tweet, brands can experience a 3X increase in revenue.

Another great benefit of using social media to deliver customer care is the opportunity your brand gets to tailor services and products, or at least find out how you can improve them, through interacting with your buyers. 39% of consumers will actively provide your organization with feedback via social media. For example, you can use your brand’s Facebook fan page to ask questions and run surveys, and whenever a customer reaches out and interacts with your brand online, be sure to ask them for their feedback and thoughts.

SMCC can boost your revenue

Improving your SMCC doesn’t just boost your customer relations and keep your buyers loyal, it can also boost your brand’s bank, too. Best-in-class customer care can bring your brand an 81% greater annual increase in revenue from customer referrals, and it also increases annual ROI by 30.7%. For every 1% of shoppers that return for a subsequent visit after receiving SMCC, overall revenue increased by approximately 10%. Perhaps that’s because a good SMCC can push customers to spend 20% - 40% more. Ultimately, if you’re serving up some of the best customer services via social media, your company could experience 92% customer retention, which is a lot in today’s competitive market.

One of the best things about SMCC is the fact that it actually costs you less to employ than it does to use the more traditional methods of customer care service, which also adds to your revenue and bottom line. It only costs about $1 to solve a customer issue on SM, versus $6 with a call center interaction. It’s actually 63% cheaper than phone support and 167% more effective than a voice interaction.

The Best Way to Start Improving Your SMCC

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you want your business to thrive, you need to go where the customers are. In today’s market, that place is social media. When it comes to customer queries and complaints, 80% happen on Twitter, which is actually known as the social media go-to for information. Yet, almost 80% of all purchasing adults are on Facebook.

If you’re looking for a good way to start, making your brand available for customer concerns on Twitter and Facebook is the best way to go, being 48% more accurate and 44% faster than using email. To make the most of them, consider using a social media management platform like Lithium or HootSuite, where you can overview your customer interactions from a single app. It doesn’t take a whole lot of planning or marketing strategy to respond to your customers' concerns on social media, but just a bit of care, time and the desire to keep your buyers happy and coming back.

Social media customer service - websitebuilder

Author's avatar

By Carolanne Mangles

Carolanne Mangles Dig DipM is the Digital Marketing Executive for Click Travel, an award-winning corporate travel booking platform. She is a specialist in B2B SaaS and enjoys planning and optimizing the full customer journey across all digital channels to create brand awareness, great user experience and copy that really sells the benefits of the product. She was previously Digital Marketing Executive for Smart Insights where she was involved with multiple digital channels to manage fully integrated membership campaigns to boost new customer acquisition and current membership retention. She has spoken and given masterclasses at B2B Expo on Search and Content Marketing, holds an IDM award in GDPR and loves a glass of red wine. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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