Social Media is changing the landscape of customer service, with more and more people turning to the likes of Facebook and Twitter to express their grievances and look for solutions.
Turning to the Internet and looking to social media as a means for users to solve their problems is no surprise when the alternative might be searching for a customer care number, navigating through a number of confusing automated messages before sitting on hold (all of which costs the user time and money).
Social Customer Service Stats
This trend isn’t just due to younger more web savvy users because 1 in 5 adults aged 45-54 said they used a Q&A site to answer a problem and 1 in 4 adults say they’ve watched video tutorials on a company’s website or on Youtube.
Users are not always looking for answers when they turn to social media. Research done by Our Social Times discovered that 20% of people questioned admitted to using social media to vent their frustrations and anger about a product or service. This number went up to 36% of people when the research group was limited to people under the age of 25. This information can be view on this infographic – Social Customer Service.
In 2011 we saw an increase in brands engaging with Social Customer Service.
A study done by Auros in April 2011 found that, of the UK’s top 25 retailers, only 25% of them responded to questions/complaints directed to them and only 20% responded to negative comments when their twitter handle was included in the tweet. The stats for their Facebook pages were slightly better with responses being posted within 78 minutes (compared to 94 minute through Twitter) but it still showed that there was a lot of improvement to be made in their Social Customer Service strategy.
Thankfully research done by Econsultancy found that the number of brands using Twitter to actively engage with customer service issues through social media had increased dramatically. 52% now said that they use their Facebook page for reacting to customer issues and enquiries and the number of brands doing the same through Twitter increased to 50%.
Although these figures show that more and more brands are actively using Social Customer Service, the number are still only around the 50% mark, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
Developing Social Customer Service in 2012
As we move further into 2012 we should hopefully see more brands creating specific customer service communities to help resolve disputes away from their main social profiles. Two great examples of this are the award winning Xbox Support Twitter account @XboxSupport, and the Best Buy @Twelpforce account (Twelpforce video).
Greater emphasis will also be placed on applications built to address specific customer issues, like the new “Answers” tab that Walgreens applied to their Facebook page to help answer their customers questions about their health by either searching through previously asked questions or by speaking with an online pharmacist.