What is Social Customer Service?

Providing customer service over social media is a "must-do"

The need for social customer service is everywhere


It's all in the name, really: Social Customer Service is customer service carried out through social media channels. While customer service used to rely mostly on private, one-to-one channels (call centres and emails, notably), over the last decade, social media has profoundly changed the way customers interact with brands. Back in 2016, according to a Startek report, 80% of customers were already reaching out to brands for customer service through social media. In March 2019, Statista found that 59% of consumers worldwide have a "more favourable view of brands that respond to customer service questions or complaints on social media." In other terms, social media has rapidly become a key component of customer service.

Brands still have to catch up

This, in turn, pushes brands to adopt social customer service strategies: Whether or not they have a plan for social media that does not include just marketing but also customer service, clients will come to ask questions and demand help. Customers also have the power to generate massive bad buzz campaigns, by publicly calling out brands they're dissatisfied with. Yet, surprisingly enough, while doing research for his book Hug Your Haters, business strategist Jay Baer found that

"Customers get a response on social platforms about 50 percent of the time only."

Which means there's room for improvement, to say the least.

Social Customer Service is good for companies, too


So the first rule would probably be to answer customer requests and complaints on social media. But companies would also be well-advised to do more than react, and adopt proactive social customer service strategies. At stake are brand image and customer satisfaction, of course, but companies have even more to gain from social media as a service. According to Gartner, social agents can handle four to eight times as many issues as a phone agent every hour. And it's cheaper, too. Contact centre software provider Aspect Software estimates that a service phone call costs an average of $35 to $50, versus $8 to $10 per interaction for text chat. In short, adopting a Social Customer Service strategy can really be a win-win for companies and customers alike.

 

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