An increasing number of consumers are using social media platforms to complain about companies that provide inferior service or substandard products.
Research by Echo Managed Services involving 1,000 people above the age of 21 shows that 18 percent would rather air their grievance on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram over more traditional methods like phone, face-to-face or email. The study reveals people’s increasing reliance on social media for communicating with businesses and provides a wake-up call to those with offerings that fall short of expectations. Another 18 percent stated they would use social media first when faced with any complicated situation, such as a rescheduled flight or cancelled hotel booking.
As more and more consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain, business owners must realize that having a social media presence is no longer enough; you need to be a social media superstar. Here are more eye-opening numbers on the importance of customer service through social media:
- Online shopping sales reached £52.25 billion in 2015 in the UK
- In-store sales dropped by 1.4% compared to an 18.4% rise in online sales in 2015
- 38% preferred to make a complaint via email, 33% on social media, and only 25% over the phone
- Over 50% would only wait 24 hours for their complaint to be answered before contacting the business again, 27% would wait 3 hours, and 14% would only wait for an hour
With an ever-growing number of people now accessing the internet via smartphones, the need for quick responses is even more important, as people can just reach into their pockets and have access to your business wherever they are.
However, answering customer queries and complaints is a time-consuming job. Despite being online, the responses still require the same level of attention that customers would expect to receive face-to-face. Instead of handling customer service processes in-house (a costly proposition), many companies are outsourcing this responsibility.
The main problem with this approach is that no matter how much training you give your outsourced customer service staff, they will never know your business as well as a full-time employee. And when it comes to technical or complex problems, your virtual employee will need to escalate to someone who can resolve the issue internally. This will add to the length of time it takes for a support inquiry to be resolved, which will certainly upset customers.
Luckily, the Deployed outsourcing model gives business owners the option of setting up and personally managing their own low-cost social media operations offshore. Deployed will help you find and hire the best social media professionals available, then provide them with above industry standard offices as well as end-to-end business support (HR, IT, payroll, administrative tasks, etc.), so that all you have to do is manage your offshore team to the best advantage of your company.
Customer service must be consistent across all communication channels. Due to the variety of queries coming through social media, it should be developed to be as broad as possible and not just rely on stock answers to popular questions—as is unfortunately sometimes the case with social media management. Ultimately, not prioritising social media as much as other communication channels is risky business for companies and can potentially lead to reputational damage, and lost customers.
Looking for more information about using social media for customer service? Arrange a confidential call or meeting today and I’d be delighted to discuss the matter with you further.