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Preferred: Customer Service Through Social Media

If it already wasn’t clear enough that social media is taking over, then the new study from NM Incite, social media consumer insight provider, will lay it out for you.

NM Incite, which is a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey, revealed data Thursday showing that nearly half (47 percent) of U.S. social media users today actively seek customer service through social media.

The study found that nearly one in three social media users would rather reach out to a brand for customer service through a social channel versus through the traditional telephone. According to an NM Incite release, these findings “mark a dramatic shift in how people expect customer service from the brands they engage with.”

Amongst the thousands of U.S. social media users polled by a Nielsen online panel, females dominated the sector with 60 percent, versus males with 57 percent, saying they actively seek customer service through social media channels.

“What we’re seeing is that customers are turning to social media channels for customer service regardless of whether and where a particular brand is actually equipped to handle customer service over social media,” said Gadi BenMark, Senior Vice President of NM Incite, Advisory division. “Today’s customers choose when and where they voice their questions, issues and complaints. They don’t care if a company is set up to answer customer’s questions on Facebook, or if it has an actual Twitter handle for customer service.”

BenMark notes that for companies who do not implement effective social care, or a means by which to manage such scenarios, the implications will be enormous.

For companies that are starting to use social media channels for customer service, BenMark states there is a “great upside for those that understand that the lines between marketing and customer service are blurring, and take action to organize, operate and manage performance in this new merged world.”

Additional findings from the study show that:

  • 51 percent say they engage in social media for customer care more than once a month.
  • Nearly one in 10 of those individuals who do use social media for customer service, do so on a daily basis.
  • 29 percent of consumers are most likely to comment or ask a question about a company’s product or service on their Facebook page.
  • 28 percent of consumers say they most likely to comment or ask a questions about a company’s product or service on their personal Facebook page, followed by the company’s blog at 15 percent and then by Twitter.

“The data is compelling and tells us that effective ‘social care’ can give brands a big advantage,” said BenMark. “When you consider the span of friend and family networks who can view the positive or negative social care interactions, the effective reach of a well-executed response can be much bigger than you think.”

It is also not a bad idea to ensure that your business’ social media pages and websites are inexorably linked and convey high-quality and trustworthiness. If you do not make the effort, it is likely others in your competitive set. Not sure of your next move? Reach out to Newtek, The Small Business Authority to game plan your web presence.

 

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