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Birds on a wire

Today’s customers are many things, but “willing to suffer” is not one of them. Like birds on a wire, they flock together and seek out the areas of least resistance. Whichever brands offer the easiest, most delightful customer support experience will keep them coming back in droves.

People love brands that respect their time, and nothing makes the support process easier than social media. In study after study, social emerges as the clear preferred method for seamless customer service interactions.

The numbers around this don’t lie. Here are results from a recent Conversocial study:

67.8% of consumers agree that easy interactions keep them returning

Customers are willing to part with their money, but feel less good about parting with their time, which is what they spend on poor support interactions. For companies that have underinvested in their customer support technology, they’ll find that they haven’t saved costs at all. Instead, they’ve simply pushed these costs onto the consumer in terms of time spent navigating interactive voice recordings (IVR), self-help portals, and waiting on hold for phone agents, and in doing so, driven them away.

To return to our bird analogy, the longer any given consumer must flutter around the telephone pole looking for a perch and waiting for a response, the less likely they are to choose it the next time. Make your wait experience enjoyable, or you’ll find the flock migrating elsewhere.

42.1% felt that social was the most convenient channel

Multi-screen usage is up, especially among younger generations, and survey respondents agreed that social support makes it easy to multi-task. There’s a quiet, jiu-jitsu-like genius behind this: rather than melt their minds with elevator music, allow your customers to entertain themselves during the waiting periods.

For any executives worried that this will negatively impact support resolution times for fear that customers will get distracted and wander off mid-case, worry not. Brands like Vega found that social support decreased their average handling time by 18%. Perhaps this is because the number one place that customers usually gravitate to while waiting is, well, social media—the same place that they’re receiving the support.

50.3% find direct message to be the easiest method

Of all the social support options out there, customers prefer to direct message. And brands aren’t complaining, as both parties find mutual value in taking things offline to find quick and meaningful resolution. Speed to resolution is now more important to consumers than having their complaints registered publicly.

167% increase in agent effectiveness

Finally, what about the unsung heroes of social support, the support agents? They vastly prefer social as well. In fact, during studies, agents could handle as many as 15,000 customers over the period of the study as opposed to 5,610 handled by agents using legacy channels. When agents are happy, enabled, and effective, the effects radiate throughout the care organization, especially in terms of retention.

Customers have plenty of reasons to love social care and if brands want to be loved in return, so should they.

Want to learn more? Download our report on The State of Social Customer Service.