Once upon a time, price and quality were the essence of brand loyalty, but today the customer experience is playing a much larger role more in the brands people choose. As the Millennial generation has become the largest worldwide, the standards are higher than ever to provide a customer experience that will meet the expectations of this generation, and the failure to do so is leading many customers to look for brands that will.
Today, social media has changed the customer experience game. As Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have 1.5 billion, 400 million and 300 million users respectively, where customers spend so much of their time online, countless people are also using these social media networks to raise their issues, complaints, and compliments. This transformation in customer behavior has forced companies to not only listen but also respond. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020 90% of businesses will use social media for customer service. Let’s look at some of the ways social media is already significantly influencing customer service:
The Customer Service Challenge
The main challenge posed by social media is that customer experience is no longer a private interaction between a company, the customer, and his/her own social circles. In the days before social media, consumers might share their negative buying experiences with a few family members, and maybe some close friends or coworkers, a number which companies could tolerate. However, times have changed, and social media has opened up customer support for all to see and has given your customers the ability share their own personal customer experience to millions of people around the globe, and many do. A recent study, in fact, found that 45% of consumers share bad customer service experiences via social media.
At the same time, today’s consumers expect a brand’s response on social media to their comments or concerns almost immediately. According to one survey, 60% of customers expect a response within an hour, and to ignore them is not an option. In fact, 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from a brand that has unanswered customer complaints on social media. The bottom line is every company today needs to have their finger constantly on the pulse by monitoring social media accounts in order to see comments and questions as soon as they come in. One bad customer experience and companies find themselves in damage control which can hurt their reputation, but especially so if there is no public attempt to resolve the issue.
On the other hand, by engaging with customers through various social media networks, it provides tremendous opportunities for any brand to improve and scale their customer service. These include:
- Improve the Customer Experience – Social media saves customers the hassle of needing to find the company phone number or email address by providing them with quick access on a service they already use, so it significantly helps companies to broaden the reach of their customer service. The easier it is for your customers to get a hold of a company, the quicker customer service issues can be resolved, and the more the positive customer experience will be.
- Increase Revenue – Solving a problem on social media costs nearly 1/6th the cost of a call center interaction. At the same time, customers will spend 20-40% more when companies engage and respond to the customer over social media. The two factors combined mean a more cost effective way of providing superior customer service.
- Pro Active CX – With a proactive social media strategy, companies can transform customer service into an effective way to resolve a large volume of routine customer service issues before they grow into damage control, while transforming the role of the call center agents to focus their attention on the more complex cases, so they can provide better service to their customers.
- Cultivate Brand Advocacy – Social media enables companies to take advantage of positive customer service better to turn those customers into powerful brand advocates. Instead of your customers telling a couple of their friends about a great experience with your company, they can now tell thousands via a social media post, and they will. In fact, 71% of consumers who experience positive “social care” are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared with 19% who did not get a response.
In today’s internet-driven world, social media has given the power to the customers, and the time has arrived for every brand to recognize how this affects the customer experience, both positively and negatively. Therefore, it’s in every company’s best interest to keep them happy by engaging with them on social media as quickly and often as possible. By taking advantage of these networks, companies can transform one of its biggest challenges into one of its biggest assets.