Instead of calling a hotline or shooting off a quick email, today's customers are likely to contact companies on social media with their questions and complaints. Social media customer service is a trend experts believe will continue, which means that companies need to learn how to handle complaints and questions on a public platform.
According to statistics shared by Sprout Social, 90 percent of people have used social media to communicate with a brand. Social media is also preferred by more people than phone or email; more than one-third of people now use social media as their communication method of choice, compared to one-quarter who prefer live chat, under 20 percent who choose email and just 16 percent who prefer to call a toll-free number.
Unfortunately, not all companies offer effective customer service via social media. The average time a brand takes to respond to a message on social media is 10 hours, which is far too long for many customers, who say they are only willing to wait four hours. Worse are the companies who don't respond to social media messages at all. Customers are likely to turn to competitors if they don't get the attention they feel they deserve, so it's vital for businesses to carefully monitor and manage their social media accounts to ensure a fast response.
Rather than shying away from publicly engaging with customers on social media, businesses must embrace this new trend in customer communications. Every time a customer posts a complaint, comment or question on social media, the business has an opportunity to show how well it treats its customers. Going the extra mile to make a customer happy - by offering a free gift as a goodwill gesture for unsatisfactory service, for example - can dramatically raise customer perceptions of a brand.
Although many companies offer social media as a primary channel for communications, some choose to move the conversation to another channel when a customer raises an issue with his account. Despite the convenience of social media, it's often easier to work out a complicated issue on the phone than through a long series of tweets. The social media manager can let the customer know the correct number to call to speak directly to a representative in the relevant department.
Social media is a key trend in customer management that may plausibly stick around for many years to come. Customers enjoy having the option to communicate with their favorite brands on the platforms they use to manage their social lives. Businesses who don't currently monitor their social media accounts need to pay attention to these important channels so they don't risk irritating their customers by ignoring their attempts to get in touch.
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