Millions of people are taking service issues to social media channels as their preferred communication route. These questions and complaints are public, and the only real question for businesses is how - not if - they will respond. Listening is no longer an end, but rather a means to evaluating where you need to engage.
To celebrate the release of the Third Edition of the Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service, here are 17 statistics that show social media's rise as a customer service channel and its bright future. People spend more time on social than any other online activity.
1. While social media usage continues to increase, it's already the top Internet activity: Americans spend an average of 37 minutes daily on social media, more time spent than any other Internet activity, including email. (Wall Street Journal) Tweet
2. At the same time, Comscore found that smartphones and tablets combined now account for 60 percent of all online traffic, up from 50 percent a year ago. Tweet
3. Accordingly, 78% of active Twitter users are mobile; 81% for Facebook. Tweet
This naturally leads to a rise in consumer demand for social customer service.
4. 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site for servicing, compared with 33% for social marketing. (J.D. Power and Associates) Tweet
5. 33% of users even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. (Nielsen) Tweet
As a result, although phones continue to be the most popular device for customer service, your customers might be using them to Tweet instead of call.
6. And it's important to remember: your customers are not just Tweeting about you from their sofas. 58% of consumers used their mobile phones while shopping in-store, rising to 78% for 18-29 year olds. (Pew Research) Tweet
7. 14% of Tweets sent to major retail brands are from customers experiencing problems in-store. (Conversocial) Tweet
Whether in-store or online, fast responses are an essential part of meeting customer expectations for social care.
8. 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. (Forrester) Tweet
9. That's why when customers reaches out over social, you should do everything possible to resolve their issues over social. Only 2% of customers who were given an email address or telephone number on social asked for it in the first place. (Conversocial) Tweet
Certainly, the worst thing your brand can do is not respond at all.
Gartner found that failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers. Tweet
11. And your customers might be be discussing your brand, just not directly @ mentioning you; fewer than 3% of customers directly @ mention brands on Twitter (i.e. referring to the brand "company" instead of "@company"). (Conversocial) Tweet
As well as speed, quality and resolution are key to delivering a great customer experience.
12. 66% of global consumers stopped doing business with a provider and switched to another in the past year due to poor customer service experiences, up 4% from 2012 and up 17% since 2005. (Accenture) Tweet
Managed properly, the benefits of providing great customer service over social media are tremendous.
13. When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company. (Bain & Company) Tweet
And remember: on social media, you're not just showing a single customer a great experience, but also their friends and everyone else watching.
14. Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand. (Harvard Business Review) Tweet
15. Additionally, 42% of people will tell their friends about a good customer experience on social, while 53% will talk about a bad one. (American Express Global Customer Service Barometer) Tweet
Because of all of this, social customer service has evolved greatly in the past couple of years and will only continue to grow.
16. Adoption of social customer care programs increased fivefold from 12% in 2010 to 59% in 2013. (Aberdeen Group) Tweet
17. And major brands aren't just adopting social customer service: they're making it a major priority: 67% of companies believe that social customer service is the most pressing short-term priority for the contact center. (Forrester) Tweet
How do these statistics apply to your business? Any favorites that you'd like to add?