Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together: Customer Service + Social Marketing

Reeces Peanut Butter Cups

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are famously marketed as “two great tastes that taste great together”.  According to a new study by the customer satisfaction experts at J.D. Power & Associates, so are customer service via social media and social marketing.

Tricia Morris at Business 2 Community provided an excellent overview of the inaugural J.D. Power and Associates Social Media Benchmark Study.  Tricia notes:

“…brands that can both walk the walk and talk the talk (deliver effective service and produce effective marketing) on social media are moving ahead of the pack in terms of satisfaction scores, driving purchasing decisions and attracting a new generation of customers.”

The study is based on responses from more than 23,000 U.S. online consumers who have interacted with a company via social media and measures the overall consumer experience (marketing and customer service) of more than 100 U.S. brands across six major industries: airlines, auto, banking, credit card, telecom and utilities.

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How significant is the correlation between great social media service experiences, strong social marketing and likelihood to purchase something from a brand?  Pretty significant.

Of the consumers identified as highly satisfied with both a brand’s marketing and service delivery, 87% say their online social interaction with the company “positively impacted” the likelihood that they’ll purchase from that brand.

What else can we learn from the J.D. Power report?

For Younger Visitors, Service Interactions Are a Brand’s Front Door on Social

  • Consumers 18 to 29-years-old are more likely to use a brand’s social media site for servicing interactions (43%) than for marketing (23%)
  • If your brand is aimed at that demographic or heavily relies upon it, your customer service teams and training on properties likes Twitter and Facebook need to be strong
  • If they’re not, invest in them.  Now.  Because…
  • 67% of the more than 23,000 consumers surveyed had used a company’s social media site for servicing

Your Best Social Marketing Customer May Be Over 50

  • 38% of those 50 and older interact with a brand’s social media site for marketing
  • Only 18% 50 and older use social media for customer service
  • Most social marketers aim content and engagement toward an audience they presume is young, but this study demonstrates that considering a more mature voice in social marketing could pay off

Generation X Expects Both Customer Service & Marketing Via Social

  • For consumers ages 30 to 49, use of social media for marketing and servicing is divided straight up the middle (39% for each)

Where can I find some examples of brands doing both customer service AND marketing well via social?

Keeping in mind that the study only examined brands in six industries (airlines, auto, banking, credit card, telecom and utilities), here are the ones that were identified as having a strong balance of both social marketing and social customer service:

  • Airline Industry: Southwest Airlines and Virgin America
  • Auto Industry: Ford and Toyota
  • Banking: Capital One/Chevy Chase, Chase
  • Credit Card: none listed for both service and marketing
  • Telecom: none listed for both service and marketing
  • Utilities: Florida Power & Light

Who do you like?

Virgin America.

Virgin Atlantic Facebook Page


Because they make it worth your time to visit their properties.  Because you walk away feeling a little cooler for having done so.  And because they’re leading the pack in terms of technologically sophisticated, real time social customer service.

In terms of marketing, their content is fresh and valuable.  It includes deals that can save you or your friends some money and travel and brand updates that make flying with Virgin easier and better.

And talk about real-time customer service via social, back in October Virgin announced a revolutionary new system where customers could interact with the airline – and each other – via their in-flight entertainment systems to address “…real-time problems that need real-time answers”, according to the airline’s CEO David Cush.

Raymond Kollau with has an awesome overview of this equally awesome looking, tech-forward social servicing system here.

Virgin Atlantic YouTube In-Flight Experience

Discuss This Article

Comments: 2

  • Thanks so much for the mention, Chad – appreciate it!

  • Cheyserr says:

    Awesome! Businesses may never reach perfection when it comes to their products or services but what’s important is that they let their customers feel that they won’t stop trying. We can always try and exhaust all the possible ways to satisfy customers.

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