Truth be told, the entire team at Lithium saw this trend coming a long time ago. Because social is an effective conversational medium, it was only a matter of time until brands started catching on – or rather, had no choice but to catch on because their consumers were already reaching out to them via social platforms to ask questions, get help, and voice all sorts of concerns.
We’ve even found in our own research that roughly one-third of consumers will flock to social media – from major social networks to a brand’s community – as a first line of defense to do research or get additional information before they’ll even consider picking up the phone. They know that, more often than not, they can find answers a lot more quickly and easily by taking more of a self-service route. When that doesn’t work, however, they know that connecting with customer service representatives is as easy as a chat or direct message away on most platforms.
I found this Rise of Social Media Customer Care infographic (also pasted below) very interesting. The basic premise is that when it comes to social care, it’s clear that there’s no turning back. Already 90 percent of consumers have used social media to communicate with brands and 63 percent expect them to offer some sort of social customer service support. Today’s consumers are all about instant gratification – and it’s this sense of instant gratification that can make social customer care so appealing to them.
But here’s why this matters to brands. When consumers get an immediate response, they are much more inclined to feel as though brands care about them. This creates a good amount of brand loyalty and advocacy. In fact, when a complaint gets answered on social media, customer advocacy can get a boost by 25 percent. Same goes for overall customer satisfaction – great customer care on social can improve that by 26 percent. Not to mention, 71 percent of consumers who have had positive social customer care experiences are more than likely to recommend that brand to others. Just getting a response raises the chances of getting a positive recommendation by 30 percent!
What’s synonymous with this era of instant gratification is a heightened sense of customer expectations. This is why many brands are seeing an influx of social customer care inquiries flowing in more rapidly every day. Customer care interactions on Twitter alone have skyrocketed 250 percent since 2014. The only issue is that brands are having a hard time keeping up. 42 percent of consumers expect a response in one hour, 32 percent expect a response in 30 minutes, and a whopping 11 percent of consumers expect an immediate response. Sounds exhausting just thinking about it, right?
The unfortunate reality about this situation is that the average response time today is about five hours and, even worse, around one-third of customer complaints on social media are ignored entirely. And even though 80 percent of brands believe they’re delivering exceptional social media customer service, a meager eight percent of consumers actually agree. The ray of light: social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, for example, are 44 percent faster and 48 percent more accurate at delivering responses than via email. It’s just a matter of time until that same level of customer service starts to permeate other popular social media platforms.
Now, here’s the kicker – not keeping up can actually hurt brands in the long run. Poor response times – or no response at all – can lead to 15 percent churn and up to a 50 percent decrease in customer advocacy. Plus, it’s been shown that 30 percent of consumers will very quickly start courting a competitor if they don’t receive a response while 31 percent will post a negative review online if they’ve had a bad experience. All of this can impact a business’s bottom line in a massive way – from customer retention to revenue growth. And then don’t forget another big perk: social customer care is a lot more efficient (by about 167 percent) and way more cost-effective (63 percent cheaper, on average) than phone support. The upside of weaving social customer care into your overall digital customer experience strategy should be a no-brainer at this point.
Fortunately, this is where Lithium can come to the rescue. Whether you’re just dabbling in social customer care for the first time or are ready to scale your operations in a big way, we’re here to help. (Not to toot our own horn, but we do it pretty darn well, too – just take a look below!)
Long story short: the future isn’t social customer care. It’s already here – and consumers are already demanding it from brands. If you haven’t made it a priority yet, then it’s about time you did. By providing a customer care offering where the majority of today’s consumers spend a good chunk of their time (hint: online and mobile), you eliminate the barriers between your brand and your target customers – and, in doing so, create a better overall customer experience for them every step of the way. If you haven’t noticed by now, it’s definitely a win-win scenario.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What does great customer service in action look like?” Glad you asked. Check out what our amazing customers have done to transform customer service into the cornerstone of their digital customer experience strategy. After all, if you’re ready take your social customer care efforts to the next level, why not learn from the best?
While you’re at it, take a few moment to learn more about Lithium’s Social Customer Service solutions today. You (and your customers) will be glad you did!
Check out the infographic here.
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