More and more brands are offering customer service via social media channels, according to separate findings from Simply Measured and Nielsen.
Nearly half of social media users engage in what Nielsen calls “social care,” with Facebook company pages the venue of choice for consumers. Meanwhile, Simply Measured finds that nearly 1 in 4 of the world’s top brands have Twitter handles dedicated to customer service.
Twitter for top brands
According to Simply Measured, 95 percent of the world’s top brands use Twitter, and 23 percent of top brands have Twitter handles just for helping their customers. Fifteen percent of these top brands say customer service handles 10 or more tweets per day, 7 percent say customer service handles 50 or more tweets per day and 3 percent say customer service handles 100 or more tweets per day.
“The added presence of a dedicated customer service handle allows brands the flexibility of responding to complaints, questions, and issues without compromising their brand voice,” Simply Measured notes in its report.
Simply Measured cites a study conducted by The Social Habit, which found that 32 percent of consumers that use social media for customer service expect a response within 30 minutes, while 42 percent expect a response within an hour, 67 percent expect a response within 24 hours and 100 percent expect an answer within a few days.
The study found that brands aren’t meeting expectations: None of the brands included in the study responded within 30 minutes, while 9 percent responded within an hour, 91 percent within 24 hours and 100 percent within a few days.
According to Simply Measured, the 23 brands examined saw an average of more than 4,000 inbound tweets between 12-1 a.m. PST. Brands seem quickest to respond to customer service tweets between 5-8 p.m. PST.
Nielsen calls customer service via social media “social care,” a trend that has become “an immediate imperative for global brands.”
According to Nielsen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report 2012,” on average, 47 percent of social media users engage in social care. Seventy percent of these users engage in social care monthly, 21 percent weekly and 9 percent daily.
A third of social media users say they prefer social care to contacting a company by way of a phone call. It’s no surprise that this sentiment was strongest in social media users between ages 18-34.
Nielsen also finds that 29 percent of consumers say they’re most likely to comment on or ask a question about a company’s product or service on its Facebook company page, while 28 percent say they’re most likely to do this on their personal Facebook page. Fifteen percent say they’re most likely to do this on the company’s official blog, 14 percent on their personal Twitter handle with no mention of the company and 13 percent on Twitter with a mention of the company in a tweet.
As much as companies might be focused on using social media to generate leads and acquire new long-term customers, these studies serve as reminders that social media should also be used to keep current customers happy. Besides the adage that getting new customers is far more costly than keeping current customers, businesses should remember that happy customers are megaphones through which good word-of-mouth is spread.
By Jason Hahn