Nearly half of consumers turn to social media for customer service. Companies are struggling mightily to keep pace.
Here’s the latest on how Americans think about social customer care and the huge shift companies must make to meet their expectations (Hint: responding to the 58% of consumer tweets about product issues that currently go unanswered is a start.).
Consumers Expect Fast Response in All Channels
Americans of all ages, incomes, and genders want to access company representatives via social media. Already 59% of 18-24 year old social media users have done so, as have 47% of those 45-54, and a surprising 31% of people over 65.
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If a company has a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or blog, shoppers expect it to be a customer service channel. Consumers have no time for being told, “This isn’t set up for customer service inquiries.”
One third of shoppers would prefer service via social channels rather than the phone. Again, this desire is stronger in younger demographics, but a full 24% of those 55-64 say social media is their first choice.
Americans want their posts answered in less than two hours. They absolutely expect a response within twenty-four hours, including nights and weekends. Those expectations might sound unreasonable, but best in class companies already beat them. The average Twitter response time for Zappos is roughly one hour, and they reply to 100% of consumer contacts in less than a day.
Great Social Care Earns Raves and Repurchases
Consumers react strongly—both positively and negatively—to their social customer service experiences. As many as 88% say they are less likely to do business with a company that has unanswered customer contacts visible in social media.
On the other hand, over 80% say they will spend more with a company that delivers excellent social service (If you don’t believe that, try to stop after making only one purchase from Zappos.).
The average adult tells fifty-three people about a bad social customer service experience and forty-two about a good one.
Companies Get It, but Many Don’t Do It
Most companies are lagging badly in social care. Only 71% offer any level of customer service via social media. Less than half of all consumer complaint tweets are answered. The percentage is lower for Facebook posts.
Firms say they believe social will become the second most important customer service channel after the phone, and two-thirds plan to expand their efforts in the coming year. However, the vast majority reports spending less than $50,000 per year on their social customer service initiatives.
What do you think prevents companies from delivering the social customer service consumers expect?