Why Social Customer Service Can't be Ignored

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By Casey Danton

The rate of brands using customer service on social media is expected to reach 80 percent by the end of this year. This is not a surprise as organizations using social media for customer service rose 400 percent between 2010 and 2014.

For users, social customer service is no longer a pleasant bonus but a requirement. Phone and email service remain typical, but they are quickly becoming too little for the average millennial consumer who is accustomed to quick, time-saving interactions.  

Looking at the numbers, 42 percent of users expect a brand response within 60 minutes. The same study from Convince & Convert found that 32 percent of users expect a social response within 30 minutes. Those times are hard to hit, but the reward is more than just creating happy customers. According to a study by Bain & Company, users who have service requests answered on social media will spend 20-40 percent more money with that company.

Social channels are beginning to expect this type of use through their platforms. Facebook rolled out multiple features this past year to help administrators better manage their pages.

The new responsiveness badges indicate to consumers how long it takes for a brand to respond to messages, while the ability to set "away" messages informs customers when to not expect immediate responses. Messaging with a customer now allows brands to see past interactions that specific profile has had with its page. Not only do these features empower administrators to perform more timely customer service; they clue consumers into a brand's typical CS patterns.

So what are best practices when implementing customer service on your brand's social channels?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Research shows that only 3 percent of branded mentions actually use the brand's Twitter handle. Be sure to scour keywords that have to do with your brand, which will keep you in the conversation and identify users who may not make a beeline to your brand's pages.
  • Customers expect a quick response. Make sure your community management team knows how to respond to customers, assisting them as much as possible without forwarding them and making them feel passed around. Many customers cite this as a major CS grievance.
  • Develop a crisis plan: a multi-tiered procedure for when, not if, something big happens. Your team should know who to alert and what steps to take when something comes up. Doing this is imperative.
  • Responses to common questions should be streamlined. This will allow your team to respond quickly and readily and leave customers the least frustrated.

At the root of it, good customer service is what will keep people loyal and discussing your brand with others. Make sure you have the support and processes you need to provide a positive customer service experience.