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.
Here are 24 statistics that show social media's rise as a customer service channel and its bright future. (Tweet)
1. While social media usage continues to increase, it's already the top Internet activity, beating out email, messaging, and even games.
On the low end, some sources say Americans spend ~30 minutes daily on social media (Wall Street Journal). On the higher end, other sources (such as Twitter) say consumers are spending over 4 hours a day on the internet, over half of which (2.4 hours/day) is spent on social media. (Click to Tweet)
2. 70% of Facebook users log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day. 59% of Instagram users, 38% of Twitter users, 27% of Pinterest users and 22% of Linked users log on daily. (Pew Research). Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that Americans spend an average of 40 minutes per day on Facebook. (Click to Tweet)
4. 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. (Click to Tweet)
5. To help put this in perspective, in a 2014 survey of U.S. consumers, 91% say their mobile phone is just as important as their car (91%) and deodorant (91%), and significantly more important than television (76%) and coffee (60%). (Click to Tweet)
This naturally leads to a rise in consumer demand for social customer service.
8. 13% of companies surveyed by customer experience consultancy thinkJar claimed that as many as 25% of service requests start socially. (Click to 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.
11. And it's important to remember: your customers are not just Tweeting about you from their sofas. Pew Research found that 58% of consumers used their mobile phones while shopping in-store, rising to 78% for 18-29 year olds. (Click to Tweet)
12. Conversocial research has even found that 14% of Tweets sent to major retail brands are from customers experiencing problems in-store. (Click to Tweet)
Whether in-store or online, fast responses are an essential part of meeting customer expectations for social care.
13. Forrester has found that 77% of US online adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. (Click to Tweet)
Certainly, the worst thing your brand can do is not respond at all.
14. Gartner found that failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers. (Click to Tweet)
16. 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"). (Click to Tweet)
17. 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. (Click to Tweet)
As well as speed, quality and resolution are key to delivering a great customer experience.
18. Accenture has found that 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. (Click to Tweet)
Managed properly, the benefits of providing great customer service over social media are tremendous.
19. When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company, says research from Bain & Company. (Click to Tweet)
20. According to a recent McKinsey study, companies that improve their customer experience from average to 'wow' can see a 30-50% improvement in key measures such as likelihood to renew, likelihood to recommend and likelihood to buy another product. (Click to 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.
21. Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand. (Click to Tweet)
23. Because of all of this, adoption of social customer care programs increased fivefold from 12% in 2010 to 59% in 2013. (Click to Tweet)
24. 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, says research from Forrester. (Click to Tweet)