Although it is constantly changing and evolving the one thing social media is not is doing is losing any of its widespread popularity. There are, in 2018, over 2 billion Facebook users, +700 million Instagram users, and +300 million Twitter users. And while most retailers do now understand that maintaining a social media presence on at least a few channels is a must many are failing to respond to an increasing demand being made by consumers – especially Millennials – to provide adequate customer service via social media.
The idea of providing social media customer service is not new, it has been around for a number of years now. However, in 2018 consumers are beginning to expect it and those retailers not providing it are likely to get left further and further behind.
According to technology research company Gartner, 90% of brands will be making use of social media to provide customer service on a daily basis by 2020. In that same report, Gartner also states that retail companies that do so successfully can expect to enjoy a 92% customer retention rate boost over their competitors who do not.
The reluctance of many smaller retailers to provide social media customer service is often related to time more than money. Social media marketing can be time-consuming enough as it is, without adding customer care into the mix as well.
However, if you are still not convinced this is an area you should at least be looking into here are some recent facts and figures that may change your mind:
- In a survey conducted by Sprout Social, 90% of the respondents said that they have used social media in some way to communicate a customer concern to a brand. Of those people, 34% said they preferred to do things that way over communicating with customer care agents via phone or email.
- In the same Sprout Social survey it was found that 36% of the respondents had used social media channels to ‘shame’ brands after a poor experience. However, of those people, 70% said that if their concerns were addressed after doing so they would not choose to go to a company’s competitor and would give the ‘offending’ brand another chance.
- Timing matters too when it comes to social media customer service. A Microsoft study reported that of those who did try to communicate a question or concern to a brand via social media respected a response within 24 hours at most, with a whopping 42% feeling that a response within an hour was the ideal.
Ready to give customer service via social media a try in order to give your retail business a boost?
Here’s a basic checklist that can be followed to help you ensure that you do so the right way:
- Choose just one or two social media channels to offer customer service on. Spreading yourself too thin will only make things more difficult.
- Assign customer service to a dedicated team or specific staff member.
- Make use of a social monitoring platform like Awario to ensure that you do not miss mentions about your brand. Not everyone will post their concerns directly to your page.
- Remember that speed counts, so create a system that will allow you to respond to customer concerns in a timely manner.
- Ensure that your customer service ‘voice’ remains as professional and polite on social media as it would on the phone or via email.
- Create a basic knowledge base to make responses easier and more accurate.
- Make use of automated responses to save time and provide faster service but do so sparingly.