Did you know that according to a study performed by Maritz and Evolve 24 that more than 70 percent of customer-service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered?
That’s right, ignored. Either blatantly or by mere ignorance and neglect of the company, customers are ignored and when that happens it has a snowball effect that many businesses may not consider. Fact is, 82 percent of consumers in the US have stopped doing business at some point due to a poor customer experience and according to my calculation, being ignored (on purpose or not) constitutes as one way to be a statistic in the growing battle of customer retention.
Before Social Media and the explosion of User Generated content via traditional social channels like Facebook and business focused social channels like Yelp, there weren’t a lot of great ways to get immediate feedback on another business; especially smaller businesses or B2B’s. Other than word of mouth or a call to the Better Business Bureau, there was great parity in information and it wasn’t in the favor of the consumer.
Today, pretty much every business on the planet has a digital footprint and this footprint means that people who are interested can and will find information about your business. This parity means that customers are more armed than ever before when they are shopping and potentially they are forming opinions about your business without you ever knowing they are there.
So part of the requirement for businesses that want to win the battle of information parity is the need to take social customer experience seriously.
With well over a billion people using social media everyday, and a growing trend toward people engaging with their favorite (and not so favorite) brands online, why wouldn’t you want to be available for customers to connect with you? And perhaps more poignantly, if you are “there” to connect, actually be present to respond when someone reaches out?
So how does the average business take on social media as an active customer experience channel? Sure for some large companies it is easy to stick people at the helm full time, but for many companies that just isn’t the case. Nevertheless, social is a great way to drive customer experience and here are some key ways every business, even with limited resources can incorporate it.
1. Customer Updates: There are many ways to send updates to your clients, but as we all know we are bombarded everyday with information. By using social media it is easy for customers on demand to go and see your updates, or by connecting with your brand they can check in on you when they visit you online. With spam and distractions in great abundance what better way to keep customers posted on the good and the bad. For instance a cloud provider that experiences an outage can have customers follow them to get updates on the outage. That way, company resources can put their focus on fixing the problem rather than giving updates to endless callers.
2. Real time Engagement: Sure the phone is a great way to connect in real time, but anyone that has dealt with customer service knows how awful waits and queues can be. Further, people like to text and chat online rather than pick up the phone. Social media is a great way to engage in real time and give customers feedback quickly. Based on the fact that more than 32% of people are looking for a response to an online post within 30 minutes, the use of social for real time seems like a great way to make customers happy.
3. Trust Building: Perhaps less obvious than the first two, being available and visible online is a great way to build trust with current and prospective customers. By knowing that you are there and seeing the way you react, inform and respond online, a prospective customer can get a better gauge of what it may be like to do business with you. For current customers, the visibility and immediacy that social channels can provide can serve as a vote of confidence in their current investment with your company and perhaps win you some points that you may need in the future.
And in case you forgot, it costs about 6x more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain those you have. So if nothing else, a great reason to be on top of your social channels is that keeping those customers is just far too important to the bottom line.
But there are many more reasons too, with adoption of Social not even near its peak, the continued evolution of customers and brands connecting on line will only get bigger and companies simply cannot risk ignoring anyone for losing business is only part of the problem as negative word of mouth can be equally as dangerous.
Disclaimer: This blog was written as part of the Connect With Ricoh Innovative Ideas program, While I was compensated for this post, the ideas and views are my own.
social customer service / shutterstock