Harvard Business Review recently reported that companies who embrace social customer service capabilities (sometimes called social customer care) improved year-on-year revenue per contact by 6.7%. In the same report they found that at the opposite end of the scale, those that didn’t embrace social media for customer service saw a 12.1% decline – a compelling argument for investing in your social media channels and social customer service.
First movers and conquerors in the social media space are securing value, and in some sectors securing spend, over their lagard competitors. Those who focus heavily on ‘call and hold’ or who are overly reliant on web contact forms are missing out on the digital generation. You can download our guide to Delivering Returns From Social Customer Service to find out more.
Six ways social customer service delivers results
1. Power to the people
Social media differs from any other form of communication in that it places the power in the hands of the customer. It is one of the purest customer-centric communication activities that exists today. Research conducted by Oracle found that 65% of people believed that social media was a better way to communicate than a call centre. Not only on the basis of the practical benefits, with accessibility on their own terms when and where it was convenient for them, but also in terms of impact, with 68% feeling that it gave them a ‘better voice’.
People are on the move and mobile. This has led to a new kind of ‘front of mind’ customer service experience being developed. Social media channels offer a very convenient channel for customers to speak to our brand whilst they are ‘in the moment’, having just remembered an issue or whilst they are actually experiencing the issue.
The buzz on the social media street these days is focused on ‘peer-to-peer’ customer service support. Radical in its day, Ebay’s introduction of customer ratings paved the way for an array of peer-to-peer approaches – some organic and independent of the brand and some beautifully orchestrated. The joy of peer-to-peer is the credibility it brings (when it is at scale) to the information a customer receives.
Social media is delivering a level of spontaneous online customer engagement that is unprecedented in any other communication channel. People wake up to their smart phones and instantly engage in likes, shares and posts. The difference today is that customer service teams are not in an ‘exclusive’ conversation, leading to one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many exchanges of information. In most areas this has been incredibly helpful for successfully performing brands. However, this has also created a minefield in highly regulated industries.
Social media is also a hugely helpful activity to signpost customers towards information to help in their relationship with brands, influence their purchase and reduce the need for expensive one-on-one customer support. From Twitter links to YouTube films to Facebook pages, social networks are buzzing with ‘value add’ information bringing sales messaging to life and reinforcing post-purchase, wrapped in customer service support. Creating a complex web of engagement.
Listening to social media chatter is replacing the need for expensive customer focus groups, and the ability to ‘listen in’ on social conversations allows brands to learn about themselves and also about their competitors, in addition to gaining an insight about the needs of their customers. It is also acting as an early warning system, highlighting when customers are becoming unhappy with a product or service.
To learn more about the benefits of social media customer service you can download our free guide below: