The days when the majority of compliments and complaints came from phone calls and web forms are ones for the history books. Social media is quickly becoming a breakout candidate for real-time customer service as mobile engagement continues to skyrocket. Here are 5 habits of your social, mobile customers you simply need to know

Studies show that nearly 80% of all social media customers’ activity happens via mobile devices. In addition, nearly 1 out of every 5 minutes spent in the digital world is on social media. With such immense mobile engagement, it’s more important than ever to understand your customers’ purpose in the socialscape, and how you can tap into their social practices and preferences to strengthen your own.

Habit #1: They expect to be heard.

Social Mobile Customers have always taken a “social first” stance to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about their experiences, like this fan’s testament to Physician’s Formula on Facebook:

Take for instance this disgruntled customer with a strong dislike toward their television service provider:

These customers are no longer waiting until they’re seated at their desk before dishing out the details. Thanks to ever-increasingly mobile flexibility, customers can spew forth rants and praises as well as receive the service and help they need in real time.

Take for instance this tweet from a Virgin Atlantic customer who needed help and received it from the company’s support team that was quick to reply.

Using the immediacy of social media to their advantage allows businesses to create real loyal connection with their consumers. In fact, Virgin Atlantic’s quick response saying they’d take care of the request gained nearly 200 likes, 43 retweets and 29 forwards, and even this response:

A study from Convince and Convert shows that nearly 83% of people who complain on social media appreciate a company’s response. Taking ownership and a proactive search for resolution, even when it’s not your fault, can score major brownie points, maybe even enough to retain some business.

Habit #2: They’re impatient

With a world of information right at our fingertips at any given moment, we’ve extended our expectations of immediacy to encapsulate nearly every interaction in our busy lives. As a result, mobile customers exhibit a much shorter threshold for bad service, and they aren’t hesitant to take to the social airwaves to vent their frustrations (sometimes with photographic evidence).

In fact, customers may decide to interact with a brand in a more mature way by privately writing them a message. However, that still leaves a risk of them screenshotting a conversation and addressing the issue on public channels if they don’t get the attention or service they require. There is always a chance for escalation and public venting if your company fails to resolve in time.

The ways we use social media continue to evolve, and the quickly growing need to field customer service issues through social media proves it. A study from Convince and Convert illustrates that 32% of customers who take to social channels for their issues and inquiries expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expected an answer within 60 minutes.

It affects your brand a lot more than you may think, like this exchange between a frustrated client and Delta that was trying to take control of the situation.

Conversocial’s the State of Social Customer Service Report indicates that 27.5% of customers who reached out for customer service on social never got a response, while 30% received a response after waiting 30 minutes or longer. Interestingly, 100% of survey respondents indicated they liked the idea of using social for customer service simply because it’s easy. The easier you can make it for your mobile customers to reach out, the more opportunity you’ll have to take care of them.

Habit #3: They demand something in return

How did you get social media followers in the first place? One Nielsen study of Twitter users shows that coupons, prizes, freebies, how-to videos, downloads, and relevant content make great ways to garner fans, and continuously offering these items can ensure they keep coming back.

If you have offered any of the above, it mostly likely worked since customers only interact with you if you have something of value to offer them first. In fact, Sephora has just announced that the brand will offer loyal customers or those who have had issues with customer service Sephora gift cards directly through social media applications.

Your customers want to know what you can do for them, in the moment and in the future, so make sure you’re committed to deliver over and over.

Habit #4: They turn to social when they need help

Your mobile customers want to go social first: these are the channels they own and they are comfortable with. These are the channels they spend the most time on. Unfortunately, brands either have very slow response times on social, don’t resolve in channel on social, don’t know how to have the right tone with social, mobile customers or their customers aren’t even aware that social is an option.

It may seem next to impossible, especially if you don’t have a dedicated team responsible for resolving social media-based responses, but the rewards are insurmountable. Shutterfly, for example, has taken well to the social-media-slash-customer-service fusion, and is leveraging it to perfection, as exemplified here: “I just placed an order BEFORE I had the chance to put my promo code in. My finger was quicker than my brain!! Can you help me?”

Within the hour, Shutterfly responded:“Hi! Please send us a private message with your order details for help.”

Like it or not, your brand is the epicenter of social media buzz, for better and for worse. But at least when you join the conversation and take accountability for what’s being said, you gain the opportunity to end each experience on a high note.

Habit #5: They look for reasons NOT to do business with you

The internet is inundated with fake five-star reviews, which is why some customers tend to seek out the negative before reaching for their wallet. Jeff Hancock took to CNN to unveil that British author RJ Elroy was caught reviewing his own work with fake online identities. Journalists were found to have plagiarized others’ work. Fake reviews continue to scatter the internet in hopes of luring more conversions. Standing in a digitized world surrounded by smoke and mirrors, we see the light at the end of the honesty tunnel that opens up in the social media environment.

Customers will be wary when they can’t find a speck of negativity on your company. Bad reviews aren’t necessarily a deal breaker, but they can be if you don’t respond correctly. When it comes to telling it like it is, your customers take no prisoners, so be prepared with a peace treaty. Since the frustration, questions and comments customers share are illuminating opportunities for a business to change the experience, and hopefully the review, Conversocial has partnered with Google’s Play Store to help brands answer reviews and resolve issues.

HOW to Please Your Social, Mobile Customers

Before you embark on a social media branding frenzy, you must anticipate the consequences of your social presence: Will you gain brand recognition? Will your recognition remain positive? How will you handle negative comments and issues? How will you respond to compliments? What value will you continue to offer followers?

When you grasp your social mobile customers’ habits, these questions tend to answer themselves.

Want to learn more about how you can better serve your social, mobile customers?

Download our Definitive Guide to Social, Mobile Customer Service and start learning how to meet your customers’ expectations on the channels they own.